These three NHL Head Coaches may be starting to feel the heat at the halfway point.
What an interesting 2020-21 NHL season it has been so far. While the season wasn’t able to start until January, it has been well worth the wait. The new division alignments have created many rivalries between teams, and that won’t change anytime soon as they still have roughly half a season to go.
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Given the times we are dealing with due to the Pandemic, many thought Head Coaches may have higher job security this season than years past due to the quarantine protocol rules the league has been given. However, Montreal Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin proved that coaches can indeed be fired this season, as he elected to relieve Claude Julien of his duties nearly a month ago. A few weeks later, Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving did the same thing with Geoff Ward.
Now, the third coaching casualty, and the first of American teams, has taken place, as Buffalo Sabres GM Kevyn Adams announced Ralph Krueger was being fired early Wednesday morning. With these firings taking place, it has become clear that General Managers aren’t afraid to pull the trigger on firing a coach, which has to have a few current ones throughout the league feeling pretty restless…
Three NHL Head Coaches on the hot seat at halfway point of the 2020-21 season
3. David Quinn – New York Rangers
When the New York Rangers hired David Quinn heading into the 2018-19 season, most thought that the team was at the start of a rebuild. However, that all changed in a major way when they were able to sign Artemi Panarin during the 2019 offseason, and even more so when they were able to win the First overall pick at the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery, going on to select generational talent Alexis Lafreniere in the Draft.
As a result, the rebuild that was expected to take place for the Rangers turned into more of a re-tooling. Their roster boasts a ton of talent, and gave them pretty high expectations heading into the 2020-21 season. Unfortunately however, things have not gone as hoped.
Through 27 games this season, the Rangers have a 11-12-4 record which gives them 26 points. This is good enough for just sixth place in the Eastern Division, and has them trailing the Boston Bruins by eight points for the final Playoff position.
While that is disappointing, it is worth noting that in Quinn’s defence he was without Artemi Panarin for a significant amount of time this season. Had the Russian superstar been in the lineup, they likely would be at least a few points closer to a postseason spot than they are currently.
The one thing Quinn has going for him is that while fans expected this team to contend this season, that may not have been the case for management. Remember, this is a team who was expected to be heading into a rebuild just two seasons ago. Perhaps they let Quinn finish out the season and even give him another chance behind the bench heading into the 2021-22 campaign. If that does happen however, you can bet his leash will be very short.