Who will be the first coach to go this season?
Online sportsbook Bovada have issued their odds for who will be fired first and two prominent coaches are at the top of the list:
Boston’s Claude Julien — 3/2
Los Angeles’ Darryl Sutter — 2/1
Columbus’ Todd Richards — 5/1
Pittsburgh’s Mike Johnston — 11/2
Dallas’ Lindy Ruff — 6/1
Carolina’s Bill Peters — 7/1
Anaheim’s Bruce Boudreau — 11/1
Three of the last five Stanley Cup championships have been won by Los Angeles and Boston under Sutter and Julien’s care respectively, but neither squad was able to make the playoffs last season. Which begs the question: How long does it take before past success gets outweighed by more recent issues?
Julien has been a popular target in discussions about potential coaching changes for months now. It got to the point where president Cam Neely felt it necessary to defend the bench boss by say it’s “unfair to Claude” to assume he’s on the hot seat. That hasn’t ended the speculation though, especially in light of Boston’s 1-3-0 record.
Los Angeles’ success under Sutter is even more pronounced, but the Kings are coming off of a disappointing campaign and have opened 2015-16 by being out scored 12-2 in three contests. It could be argued that the Kings’ slow start is even more disheartening than the Bruins’, given that Boston’s woes can at least be partially explained by the injuries to defensemen Dennis Seidenberg (back) and, during the first two games, Zdeno Chara (upper body).
The other coaches on this list are off to rough starts too, with the notable exception of Ruff, whose Stars are 2-1-0.