Less than 10 games into the 2010-2011 NHL season, and New Jersey Devils rookie head coach John MacLean has already been identified as "the most fireable coach in the NHL."
In a list of the league five coaches most likely to be fired, AOL Fanhouse actually handed MacLean both the first and second slots on their list. He is some of what Fanhouse said about MacLean.
MacLean has already dug himself a really big hole. The hole is so big, in fact, that it has taken on a life of its own and is currently the second most fireable coach in the NHL. He's literally spawned a metaphor that now exists as its own being. As MacLean goes, so goes the hole. This is essentially to illustrate the point that MacLean is 10 times more fireable than anyone else on this list. ... MacLean has already had his adventures with star free agent Ilya Kovalchuk. First, he moved Kovy from left wing to right wing and then there was the mysterious benching for Saturday's game that ruffled a lot of feathers. To add to all that, the Devils are terrible so far this season. They are 2-6-1 and have surrendered an Eastern Conference high 30 goals. That, for a team with Marty Brodeur in net and a team that usually prides itself on defense. And -- most troublesome of all for MacLean -- his boss is Lou "trigger happy" Lamoriello who isn't the least bit afraid to get rid of a coach. Lou Lamoriello famously fired Claude Julien in April 2007 with a 47-24-8 mark in the division, good enough for first place. Not good enough for Lou.
For his part, Lamoriello said Monday that he has "no thought whatsoever" of firing MacLean despite the poor start.
"There's no thought whatsoever," Lamoriello told ESPN.com Monday. "John has done an exceptional job. I have no issue with him. Our record certainly isn't what any of us like, but it has nothing to do with coaching."
Kovalchuk, who signed a 15-year, $100 million contract in the offseason, had tongues wagging around the league Saturday night when he was made a healthy scratch before a 6-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. While no one involved would explain why exactly the decision was made, reports suggest he was late for a team meeting Saturday morning.
Either way, Lamoriello backed the decision.
"I am totally supportive," Lamoriello said. "Without question I was aware of it ... and without question I was supportive. So enough said."
Kovalchuk responded by scoring his third goal of the season Sunday night but the Devils lost again, 3-1 to the rival Rangers in New York.
It's made for a baffling start to the season for a Devils team that expects to contend for the Stanley Cup this season.
"You're always concerned when you don't win," said Lamoriello. "What I feel good about, if there's something good to feel good about, is we're getting chances to score. We haven't been able to take advantage of those chances. The players are working on it. We'll get through it. One way or another we'll find a way to get through it."
What do you think, Devils fans? I know you can't be happy with your team's start to the season. Are you happy with your coach?