The Saturday Slate is a weekly discussion or platform where members of Win Column Sports provide their respective opinions and thoughts on an event that took place in the prior week. Additionally, there is also a running pool amongst the contributors based on our picks for Saturday’s match-ups. This week, the Win Column panel discusses the NHL action on November 10th.
We’re barely a month into the 2018/2019 NHL season, and we already have our first two firings to report. John Stevens (LA) and Joel Quenneville (CHI) find themselves in the unemployment line after both teams’ less-than-stellar starts. The Kings currently sit in the basement of the Pacific Division, starting the season with a 5-8-1 record and sitting 8 points back of the division-leading Sharks. Coach Q’s firing comes off the heels of a five-game losing streak, with Chicago failing to pick up a win since October 25th. It’s a stark departure from the sky-high expectations both teams had heading into the season, but rest assured that the pair won’t be the only two coaches unceremoniously dismissed from their positions by the end of the season.
In this week’s edition of the NHL Saturday Slate, the Win Column Sports panel takes a look at coaches on the hot seat around the NHL, and make their picks for the next HC in the unemployment line.
He’s only had one season at the helm of the Florida Panthers, but a missed playoff spot last season and a poor start this year could have Bob Boughner on the hot seat.
The Panthers have all the pieces to be a playoff team. With a talented core up front, a #1 defenceman in Aaron Ekblad and the stellar goaltending of Roberto Luongo, how could the Cats not be a perennial playoff contender? That’s the question we’re left wondering after Boughner failed to lead the team to the promised land last season, finishing the season just one point out of the playoffs despite a 44-30-8 record. The team also benefitted from a late-season run that saw them go 24-8-2 post-January. Now, after another slow start the Panthers are in danger of missing out on the postseason yet again, and if the decision is made to make some changes in FLA, expect Boughner to be the first to go.
I actually don’t think any more coaches will be fired mid-season at this point, however, if I had to pick one it would be Guy Boucher out of Ottawa. Ottawa has recently been a tire fire of an organization yet they’ve kept Boucher at the helm. If there’s going to be another firing mid-season, it’s going to be him.
Quenneville was the longest tenured coach up until his departure, leaving Jon Cooper out of Tampa Bay as the new longest tenured coach in the NHL. Rumblings out of Tampa Bay have suggested Cooper isn’t tough enough on his players and doesn’t have what it takes to lead a Stanley Cup winning team. Tampa Bay has so much talent, it’ll be interesting to see how long they remain with Cooper at the helm before rolling the dice on a new coach. I expect him to be gone this year if Tampa Bay doesn’t make it to the ECF.
However, the next coach fired won’t be Jon Cooper as somebody is going to get axed to make room for Quenneville. His resume is too good for him to be unemployed for long - unless he chooses to.
Although the season is still young, I believe the Western Conference will continue to see head coaches relieved of their duties. Although the San Jose Sharks currently sit 8-6-3 and 2nd in the Pacific, there’s much more to be desired. Statistically, Peter DeBoer’s Sharks have been improving since he took the reigns in 2015-16 season. DeBoer has made playoff appearances in every season since taking over, and has 1 finals appearance in those 3 years. However, the start of this very young season has been very underwhelming to say the least. One can argue that the team is older, however, the talent is there. San Jose has arguably two of the best defensemen in the league with the likes of Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson. Up front, the Sharks don’t have any bonafide superstars, but the roster features the likes of Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, and Evander Kane. The inconsistency is what makes me believe DeBoer’s days in San Jose are numbered.
Ryan O’Reilly. Tyler Bozak. David Perron. Three offseason additions to the St. Louis Blues that have seen them get off to a 5-5-3 start to begin the season. This is disappointing to say the least. With big changes to the team, it could be assumed that there would be a feeling out period for the team. However, if Mike Yeo isn’t the person who can get this roster settled, then someone else needs to be brought in to make that happen. The Blues invested a substantial amount of money in this roster and won’t be content to watch it flounder throughout the season. If St. Louis continues to sing the Blues, don’t expect Yoe to still be their coach by Christmas.
WinColumnSport’s Saturday Picks
|Blackhawks @ Flyers||Flyers||Flyers||Flyers||Flyers|
|Canucks @ Sabres||Sabres||Sabres||Canucks||Sabres|
|Predators @ Stars||Predators||Predators||Stars||Predators|
|Coyotes @ Penguins||Penguins||Penguins||Coyotes||Penguins|
|Islanders @ Panthers||Panthers||Panthers||Islanders||Islanders|
|Rangers @ Blue Jackets||Blue Jackets||Blue Jackets||Blue Jackets||Blue Jackets|
|Golden Knights @ Canadiens||Golden Knights||Golden Knights||Canadiens||Golden Knights|
|Senators @ Lightning||Lightning||Lightning||Lightning||Lightning|
|Red Wings @ Hurricanes||Red Wings||Hurricanes||Hurricanes||Red Wings|
|Maple Leafs @ Bruins||Maple Leafs||Maples Leafs||Bruins||Maple Leafs|
|Flames @ Kings||Kings||Flames||Flames||Flames|
Records Thus Far:
- Spencer: (22-29), Last Week: (8-4), Winning Percentage: (43%)
- Ben: (27-24), Last Week: (7-5), Winning Percentage: (53%)
- Arik: (22-29), Last Week: (6-6), Winning Percentage: (43%)
- 4th Line Podcast: (7-5), Last Week: (7-5), Winning Percentage (58%)