In a way, it seems cruel and short-sighted that coaching jobs are so unstable in sports. There are even instances when that model of behavior is refuted by successful alternatives. The NFL’s gold standard franchise is probably the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team that rarely changes its head coach. The Atlanta Braves experienced a staggering era of success with Bobby Cox. Of course, in the NHL, it’s all about Lindy Ruff in Buffalo and Barry Trotz in Nashville.
On the other hand, the salary cap era fosters the belief that quick turnarounds are just a coaching change away. Franchises probably look at situations like Dave Tippett turning around a moribund Phoenix Coyotes squad and assume that they can do it too.
There are some obvious coaches on the hot seat going into the 2011-12 season. People were calling for the head of Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson quite frequently last season, so another playoff-free season might do him in. After a Cinderella first year, the Colorado Avalanche’s 2010-11 meltdown puts third-year coach Joe Sacco in a tough position. Missing the playoffs for a third straight season might be a serious problem for Carolina Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice and for St. Louis Blues bench boss Davis Payne.
Yet it isn’t just about coaches of teams who haven’t made the playoffs very often. Success is a relative thing, so when Versus asked Ed Olczyk and Keith Jones about their choices for coaches on the hot seat, they chose two bosses of genuine contenders. At least one of the choices might surprise you.
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: All that’s been announced about Silfverberg is that he’s under evaluation and will not return.