Another head coach has been shown the door, and this time, it’s been met with far more controversy.
Meanwhile, Arizona’s relocation rumors are hotter than their climate, and the Washington Capitals are making history on home ice.
Here’s your weekly NHL news roundup.
The Claude Julien Era Comes to an End
Claude Julien has been relieved of his duties by the Boston Bruins. The once longest-tenured NHL coach will be looking for a new job, and many believe that it won’t take long.
Toronto’s Mike Babcock and Carolina’s Bill Peters were among the coaches in the league to say that he won’t be out of a job for long. Washington’s Barry Trotz said that he texted Julien saying that the long-time Boston bench boss would be out of a job for all of five minutes.
The Bruins received the brunt of criticism after the move, with many calling into question the competence of GM Don Sweeney and Boston’s hierarchy as a whole with the biggest argument being that they’re not going to be able to hire a coach that is better than Julien.
Claude Julien left the following goodbye message to the Bruins and the NHL world.
Claude Julien has issued a statement pic.twitter.com/XiX4RMWRn1— Matt Kalman (@MattKalman) February 9, 2017
With big names like Gerard Gallant (Florida), Ken Hitchcock (St. Louis), and now Claude Julien all being shown the door this season, who’s next?
According to Bovada, Dallas’ Lindy Ruff has 7/4 odds of being the next head coach fired. He’s followed by Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper and Winnipeg’s Paul Maurice who are both listed at 7/2 odds.
Washington Making History on Home Ice
Carolina’s 5-0 loss to the Capitals on Tuesday was just another in a long line of dominant home-ice victories for the NHL’s top team.
Washington has won 11 consecutive games at the Verizon Center and has scored five-plus goals in ten straight home games, the longest such streak since the Boston Bruins score five-plus in 11 straight home games during the 1970-71 season.
Overall, the Caps have won five straight games and are 8-2-0 over the last ten games. They’ve rocketed up to the top of the league and have a comfortable lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Minnesota Wild in the race for the President’s Trophy.
Coupled with their lethal offense, Braden Holtby has had another phenomenal year in net, boasting near-league best numbers in shutouts (seven, tied for first in NHL), goals against average (1.97, second), wins (28, third) and save percentage (.928, third).
With the Capitals continuing to trend upward, they appear to be in a prime position to do something they’ve never done, win a Stanley Cup.
They probably won’t, though.
Things are Heating Up in the Southwest
We’ve been exposed to a lot of relocation rumor garbage this season, and now the Arizona Coyotes are feeling the brunt of it.
Reports swirled over the past week that the Coyotes were touring arenas in the Pacific northwest, namely Seattle.
Coyotes President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc directly addressed the reports on Thursday.
#Coyotes President & CEO Anthony LeBlanc issues statement denying @GlendaleStar report the team visited Seattle, Portland. #12Sports pic.twitter.com/WddlTvamNJ— Cameron Cox (@CamCox12) February 9, 2017
The Coyotes seem committed to staying in the southwest, but it likely won’t be easy.
Negotiations between the Coyotes and Arizona State to build an arena in Tempe to house both the NHL team and ASU’s college hockey team has fallen through, so now their focus is on building a “taxpayer friendly” arena within the region.
LeBlanc has been open about his desire to leave Gila River Arena, the current home of the ‘Yotes in Glendale, for which taxpayers still owe roughly $150 million.
Conflict between the Coyotes and Glendale started back in 2015 after the city terminated the team's $15 million arena-management agreement and then hired an independent company to run the arena on the city's behalf.
The Coyotes’ lease in Glendale expires after the 2017-18 season.
With everything seeming to be going in the wrong way for Arizona as of late, this will be a situation to watch for the foreseeable future.