Perils of in-season coach changes

Examining the pros and cons of making a switch behind the bench

Updated: October 22, 2013, 2:10 PM ET
By Frank Provenzano | ESPN Insider

Joel QuennevilleRob Grabowski/USA TODAY SportsSome in-season coach hires prove wise, such as Chicago tabbing Joel Quenneville in 2008-09.

Though nobody knew it at the time, Axl Rose might have been singing about hockey back in the "Use Your Illusion" days in the iconic "November Rain" anthem: "'Cause nothing lasts forever, and we both know hearts can change."

As the optimism of October training camp fades, November is a notorious witching month for NHL head coaches. Truth be told, I have always regarded in-season coach firings as a bad bet and have almost always advised against them. They are usually knee-jerk, often don't address the core issues and leave a team with fewer replacement choices than it would have had in the ensuing offseason. But the trend continues nevertheless, as Peter Laviolette found out this season.

Let's consider the different facets of in-season coach replacement in the NHL from the management side and look at some current coaches who could find themselves facing this fate in 2013-14.


To read the rest of Provenzano's analysis of in-season coaching changes, as well as his thoughts on which coaches could get the ax next, sign up for Insider today.