It may be the coolest game on Earth, but with NHL training camps finally filling with skaters, certain coaches are already feeling the ice met beneath them as we enter the 2016-17 season.
JOHN TORTORELLA, COLUMBUS
The only thing hotter than Tortorella's attitude is his seat, following a performance that didn't even come with his own NHL team. Torts was at the helm for the United States' far too brief return to the World Cup of Hockey, looking completely lifeless in a trio of losses that surely did nothing to sooth the fires of Torts's notorious anger, so may the hockey gods have mercy on the Blue Jackets this training camp. Columbus was a team on the rise after earning its first playoff wins in 2014 before hosting the All-Star Game in 2015, but back-to-back seasons sans the playoffs have gotten fans restless. If Columbus gets off to another cold start, or if their play resembles anything Torts's American squad put out in Toronto this week, the Jackets could cannon him right out of Ohio.
PAUL MAURICE, WINNIPEG
In some ways, Maurice is the NHL's version of Jeff Fisher. He gets a good reputation because he coached an exciting team during your childhood (Fisher had the McNair/George Titans, Maurice had the Francis/Brind'Amour Carolina Hurricanes) and even took said team to a championship round, losing to a team of destiny (the Titans lost to Kurt Warner's Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV, Carolina fell to Detroit in Dominick Hasek's long-awaited Stanley Cup run in 2002). In between, however, are seasons of mediocrity, records that constantly hover around .500. Maurice build some credit with the Jets 2.0 by bringing playoff hockey back to Winnipeg in 2015 but the Jets fell flat on their faces after a hot start last season. Huge, passionate crowds are cool, but you know what else they want in Winnipeg? Winning.
CLAUDE JULIEN, BOSTON
Quietly, Julien has made himself the NHL's longest tenured coach, manning the bench in Beantown since 2007. Julien put Boston back on the NHL map, as over his first seven seasons, the Bruins were playoff mainstays, capturing hockey's ultimate prize in 2011 with a Stanley Cup Finals victory over Vancouver, making another appearance in the Final the very next season. But over the past two seasons, Boston has been denied invitations to the NHL's playoff party, missing out on the playoffs, though narrowly each time, in back-to-back years. Julien was able to keep his job when Boston went under management changes after the 2014-15 season, but didn't do himself any favors by missing out last season. Boston has gotten accustomed to winning, not just in hockey, but all of their other major sports as well (heck, even the Revolution have made the playoff more recently than the Bruins). Another losing season will not be tolerated.
MICHEL THERRIEN, MONTREAL
Seems like only yesterday the Canadiens were widely regarded as the Eastern Conference's best team, armed with arguably hockey's best goaltender (Carey Price) and defenseman (P.K. Subban). But when Price went down with an injury last season, the Habs completely fell apart, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Subban, who was reportedly very disgruntled with his last days in Ontario, was traded off to Nashville this offseason, and Price returns after his lengthy injury sabbatical. If Therrien can't win, then Habs brass will bring in someone who will.
RANDY CARLYLE, ANAHEIM
Yes, Carlyle was just hired by the Ducks. Actually, he was rehired, returning to Orange County after serving in the spot from 2005-12. But he faces immediate pressure nonetheless. Anaheim was cast aside last season, starting 1-7-2 and 12-15-6 to earn the Pacific Division title...yet Bruce Boudreau was still fired, though he was quickly obtained by Minnesota. Though Carlyle won a Cup with the Ducks in 2007, he failed to get very talented Anaheim teams back there in his other season. The Ducks have likewise had trouble doing so since his departure, despite relative regular season dominance over the Pacific Division. If Anaheim gets off to another slow start, the fingers...or wings?...will quickly be pointed at Carlyle.
Which coaches do you think are on the hot seat entering the 2016-17 season? Tweet @GeoffMags5490 and keep the conversation going.
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 22: Nikita Kucherov #86 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates after scoring a goal against Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 22, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 16: Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning gives up a goal to Phil Kessel #81 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Consol Energy Center on May 16, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 13: Ondrej Palat #18 of the Tampa Bay Lightning scores a goal against Matt Murray #30 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period in Game One of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 13, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 15: David Backes #42 of the St. Louis Blues (R) celebrates with Jaden Schwartz #17 after scoring a first period goal against Martin Jones #31 of the San Jose Sharks (not pictured) in Game One of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 15, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Troy Brouwer #36 of the St. Louis Blues celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Seven of the Western Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center on April 25, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. The blues beat the Blackhawks 3-2 to win the series. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/ Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - APRIL 27: Ben Bishop #30 of the Tampa Bay Lightning makes a save as Nikolay Kulemin #86 of the New York Islanders crashes into Jason Garrison #5 during the first period in Game One of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on April 27, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 02: Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals reacts after being scored on by Tom Kuhnhackl #34 of the Pittsburgh Penguins (not pictured) in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 2, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: Roberto Luongo #1 of the Florida Panthers is pushed aside as players from the Panthers and the New York Islanders converge in the crease during the second period in Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on April 20, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
ST. PAUL, MN - APRIL 20: Jason Spezza #90 of the Dallas Stars scores a goal against Jason Pominville #29 and goalie Devan Dubnyk #40 of the Minnesota Wild in Game Four of the Western Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 20, 2016 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 27: Clayton Stoner #3 of the Anaheim Ducks and Viktor Arvidsson #38 of the Nashville Predators leap to avoid a collision during the second period of Game Seven of the Western Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Honda Center on April 27, 2016 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - APRIL 19: Niklas Kronwall #55 of the Detroit Red Wings battles for the puck with Jonathan Drouin #27 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period of Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Joe Louis Arena on April 19, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. Tampa Bay won the game 3-2. Tampa Bay leads the series 3-1. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 23: Sami Vatanen #45 of the Anaheim Ducks reacts after scoring on a breakaway against goaltender Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators in the third period of Game Five of the Western Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on April 23, 2016 in Anaheim, California. Vatanen's goal was the eventual game-winning goal. The Ducks defeated the Predators 5-2. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 20: Andrew MacDonald #47 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates after scoring against the Washington Capitals during the second period in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 20, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)