NHL HOT SEATS

Sad Leafs' fans. (RICHARD LAUTENS/TORONTO STAR)

Sad Leafs’ fans. (RICHARD LAUTENS/TORONTO STAR)

The season is winding down and 15 teams are preparing for the post season. Out West, Phoenix and Dallas are fighting for the last wildcard.

But for some of those 13 other teams, things are heating up already! We take a look at what lies ahead for those with high expectations that failed.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS:

Ovi and the Caps were disappointing (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Ovi and the Caps were disappointing (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Hot Seat Candidates: George McPhee (GM), Adam Oates (HC), Alex Ovechkin (FWD), Mike Green (DEF)

Oh how the mighty have fallen. The situation in D.C. is a mess as we wrote previously on FTHN. Adam Oates continues to make the situation worse by calling out trade deadline acquisition goalie, Jaroslav Halak.

“Jaro never at anytime said he didn’t want to start against St. Louis. A private conversation between a player and coach should stay private and not be discussed with the media. I am bewildered that a coach would break that trust especially when those comments the coach publicly attributed to Jaro are not accurate.” – Allan Walsh (Halak’s agent) 

Adam Oates has practically pointed the finger at everyone but himself this year and deserves the pink slip that is coming. By calling out Alex Ovechkin and many others, he has lost the room. The question for Washington is if McPhee should still keep his job as GM? If the Caps really want to prove something, they would let both men go and start with a new vision and new direction.

Players rarely take the fall in circumstances like this, but Ovechkin is certainly being scrutinized here and rightly so. We still believe in his mega-star talents, but a new GM may see differently. One player that may be used to improve the team is Mike Green. The Caps need good shutdown defensemen and Green’s PP ability may get them one.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS:

Randy Carlyle and his Toronto Maple Leafs are eliminated from playoff contention.(Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Randy Carlyle and his Toronto Maple Leafs are eliminated from playoff contention.(Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Hot Seat Candidates: Dave Nonis (GM), Randy Carlyle (HC), Dion Phaneuf (DEF), Nazem Kadri (FWD)

Leafs’ President Tim Leiweke has approached the NHL director of player safety Brendan Shanahan to fill a high level role in Toronto. If Shanahan takes the job, you can all but sign Dave Nonis’ pink slip. Randy Carlyle would then be facing the chopping block as well, since a new GM would want one of his own choices at the helm.

The latest craze in NHL front offices is hiring ex-hockey stars to run the operations. Look at the success in Colorado with Joe Sakic and Tampa with Steve Yzerman. Now the Vancouver Canucks have done the same with Trevor Linden.

As for players, they are going to be in a pickle trying to move those big contracts, if they feel that is what they need to do. The Leafs have talent, but poor defense and average goaltending doesn’t help in the long run. The future is still bright for Bernier in net, but the defense needs help. Trading Phaneuf is not the answer and no one will take the contract. Look for Nazem Kadri to take the fall as the Leafs look for defense.

WINNIPEG JETS:

Will Evander Kane be part of the overhaul? (Getty)

Will Evander Kane be part of the overhaul? (Getty)

Hot Seat Candidates: Kevin Cheveldayoff (GM), Paul Maurice (HC), Evander Kane (FWD)

The Jets are simply disappointing. They obviously have talent but also dysfunction. Let’s start at the top and the source for the dysfunction with GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, who doesn’t have much to show for his three seasons in Winnipeg. What you do have is 2 bad contracts in Pavlec and E. Kane and an interim head coach.

Paul Maurice recently scratched Evander Kane and gave the media this response:

“That was a coach’s decision, you’ll get no rationale from me. You’ve seen me on TV before. There’s nothing rational out of my mouth.”

Well, there ya go, thanks. And people get on John Tortorella. Bottom line is this team is in disarray and something has to give. Sadly, a compliance buyout on Pavlec’s contract might be a good idea. As for trading a player with the potential for stardom like Evander Kane? The mere thought should get Cheveldayoff the boot.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS:

Torts is fired up here, but will he be fired? (AP)

Torts is fired up here, but will he be fired? (AP)

Hot Seat Candidates: John Tortorella (HC), The Sedin Twins (FWDS), Alex Edler (DEF)

Trevor Linden’s first decision will be to keep or fire John Tortorella. If I could give the new president of the Canucks some advice, Stanley Cup winning coaches don’t grow on trees. Keep Torts and hire a GM that can work with a man that has 445 wins and counting.

At his press conference Linden said “Any sort of coaching decision will be made in due time after thorough evaluation.” Which gives me the notion that John Tortorella will get at least one more season.

So what to do with a roster that may be ill suited for his style? That is a question Linden and the new GM (whoever that is) will address. In fairness, the Canucks lost a ton of manpower this season. Injuries came fast and furious and they hit star players hardest.

As for players in the hot seats, the Sedin’s need to step up. They admittedly played below expectations and will need to really show everyone something. Trading them is nearly impossible, since apparently they basically do everything together. Alex Edler drew Tort’s ire on several occasions is destined to be out the door as soon as the market opens up.

I think much of Torts’ future rests with the Sedin twins and how they perform will indicate just how far his Vancouver coaching tenure will go.

EDMONTON OILERS:

Dallas Eakins did not have a good year (JASON FRANSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Dallas Eakins did not have a good year (JASON FRANSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Hot Seat Candidates: EVERYBODY!!!

Is it just me or does Dallas Eakins look like he aged by about 10 years since the preseason? From fans tossing jerseys over the glass to accidentally being sprayed by frustrated player’s water bottles, this has been a nightmare for the rookie head coach.

The Oilers are a bad franchise from top to bottom. However, Oilers fans are willing to give Eakins a break this season,  a little over 50% think he should stay. Does Craig MacTavish deserve the same? In the year since he left his position as VP of hockey operations to takeover for Steve Tambellini as the general manager, the Oilers have not gotten better.

Three goalies, four defencemen, four forwards later and MacT hasn’t moved the needle in the positive direction. Matter of fact, with Scrivens and Fasth in the fold, could he have set the environment for a goalie controversy? And according to him, he isn’t done. Here’s a hint MacT, you need DEFENSE! Stop drafting forwards and maybe trade some of those high flyers that hate to backcheck to get some defense. Until then the Oilers are in serious trouble.

Then again, what does President Kevin Lowe have to say about all this? Heat rises Kevin, heat rises.

IT SURE IS GETTING WARM IN HERE

Will Jim Rutherford make it to a 20th season as Carolina GM? (Getty)

Will Jim Rutherford make it to a 20th season as Carolina GM? (Getty)

Carolina Hurricanes: Jim Rutherford (GM), Kirk Muller (HC), Eric Staal (Fwd)

5 years! That’s how many consecutive seasons the Canes are at missing the playoffs. It is very likely that Rutherford and Muller may be gone. Welcome back Peter Laviolette? As for Eric Staal being traded? The 8 million dollar cap hit makes me say, no.

New York Islanders: Charles Wang (Owner), Garth Snow (GM), Jack Capuano (HC)

The Islanders are a glorified AHL team and ownership is the root cause of the issues, but they don’t fire themselves. Now the sale could spark the changes needed, but even if they don’t, Garth Snow needs to go. Especially after the fiasco of acquiring Thomas Vanek and then losing him at the deadline for nothing. Sadly, any new GM could spell doom for good guy Jack Capuano.

Nashville Predators:  Barry Trotz (HC)

The only coach that the Preds have ever known will be a casualty of longevity. Nashville is about to miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season and it will cost Trotz’ his job. No one cares that Pekka Rinne missed a ton of time and that the contract of Shea Weber has handcuffed the franchise. Or the fact that Nashville can’t find one decent goal scorer to boot.

Bottom line, Trotz is a good coach but the team feels a new voice will magically fix all of Nashville’s problems.

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