In SB Nation’s continued look into their opinions, fans recently voted on the head coach most likely to get fired this season. And while Mike Babcock’s firing yesterday would definitively answer this question, it is still interesting to dig deeper into.
The Arizona Coyotes not showing up on this poll shouldn’t surprise anyone. Most people would agree that head coach Rick Tocchet isn’t likely to be fired, especially with the team currently second in the Pacific Division. But the firing of one or more of these coaches could still impact the Coyotes this season.
Last season, the St. Louis Blues fired head coach Mike Yeo after starting with a 7-9-3 record. With interim head coach Craig Berube the Blues would take the third spot in the Central Division and win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. The Blues have become the best-case scenario for firing a head coach early in the season, and while a team likely won’t get the same results if they replicate the move, teams may still get better with a new coach.
With the Coyotes playing the Toronto Maple Leafs today, there is a chance that the firing of Mike Babcock could greatly impact the game. The Maple Leafs may step up their game to impress their new coach, and if they felt restrained by Babcock a new coach may allow them to loosen up. But the opposite could prove true, given the chance that new head coach Sheldon Keefe hasn’t had much time with his new team the Leafs may play worse tonight.
If we are looking at the possibility of the firing of a head coach in the hopes of improving a team, one team has a chance of greatly impacting the Coyotes. Despite being in the same division, the Coyotes have yet to play the San Jose Sharks. If the Sharks turn things around it could lead to the Coyotes dropping some points against a division rival who could start climbing the standings.
The Sharks are currently 10-11-1 through 22 games and are currently second to last in the Pacific Division. But like the Blues, they have a few highly skilled players who are possibly being hamstrung by a style of play from a head coach that doesn’t fit.