1. John Tortorella – Columbus Blue Jackets
No coach in the league has been talked about more this season than John Tortorella. Heading into the 2020-21 campaign, most expected the Columbus Blue Jackets to be a borderline Playoff team. While they don’t have the same talent as others, in the past Tortorella has been able to instill his ‘us against the world’ mentality on them, but it appears that message may be falling on deaf ears this season.
The Blue Jackets currently have a 11-12-7 record, good enough for fifth in the Central Division. They currently sit four points back of the Chicago Blackhawks for the final Playoff position, which certainly doesn’t sound insurmountable, however it feels it given the drama surrounding them this season. First was the Pierre-Luc Dubois debacle, which started out as a trade request made by the young forward which then got brought up to the media multiple times by Tortorella.
Once GM Jarmo Kekalainen traded Dubois for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic, many hoped the team could avoid distractions and just focus on playing hockey. That hasn’t been the case, however. Instead, Tortorella has already benched Laine on two separate occasions, the second of which clearly confused the young Finnish forward, who told reporters after the game he thought he was playing well.
Many are confused with the decisions Tortorella is making behind the bench this season. In fact, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun recently stated he himself is questioning whether or not the two-time Jack Adams Award winner is trying to get himself fired. Though Kekalainen did say in recent weeks he isn’t considering a change, he may not have a choice given the fact it appears his players are growing sick of Torts.
Short Shelf Life
It has become more and more evident over the years of just how short the shelf lives are of coaches throughout the NHL. As the saying goes, coaches are hired to be fired, and while it certainly has its perks, it is without a doubt a very high-stress job. Hopefully for these three coaches above, they are able to get things turned around and keep their jobs. Who knows, perhaps another coach emerges and ends up being the next fired, but for now, these three seem the most likely bets.
Honorable Mentions: Rick Bowness (DAL), Jeff Blashill (DET), Dallas Eakins (ANA)