NHL bench bosses are on the hotseat

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 10:17 AM ET

The NHL's coaching carousel could have a lot of new faces this summer.

There are several coaches on the hotseat as the regular season winds down; as many as 15 could be looking for work if their teams don't make the playoffs or underachieve in the post-season.

While it's highly unlikely that many coaches would be walking the unemployment line, there are several situations to keep an eye on:

- St. Louis: Andy Murray has two years left on his contract, but the Blues are fading down the stretch, putting his future in doubt. The finger is being pointed at Murray.

- Dallas: If the Stars suffer an early playoff exit, Dave Tippett will be gone. He's done a good job, but the acquisition of Brad Richards at the trade deadline puts more pressure on Tippett to deliver results.

- Florida: There are people with agendas in the Panthers' organization and that means GM/coach Jacques Martin will get the boot if his team fails to make the playoffs.

- Philadelphia: The Flyers are also fading as the playoffs approach. If they don't hang on to their post-season spot, John Stevens will be gone. He's not the right man for the job.

- Other hotspots: Chicago (Denis Savard), Nashville (Barry Trotz), Colorado (Joel Quenneville), Los Angeles (Marc Crawford), San Jose (Ron Wilson), Carolina (Peter Laviolette), Tampa Bay (John Tortorella), Toronto (Paul Maurice), Pittsburgh (Michel Therrien), the Rangers (Tom Renney) and Islanders (Ted Nolan).

OFF THE GLASS

Keep an eye on Toronto LW Darcy Tucker's situation this summer. With three years and $9 million (all terms US) left on his contract, Tucker could be a candidate for a buyout if he continues to refuse to waive his no-trade clause. A buyout would cost the Leafs two-thirds of Tucker's contract ($6 million), but that could be spread out over six years for a cap hit of just $1 million per year. Not saying it will happen, but if the Leafs want to make changes, that's one way ... Here's a quote: With the heat turned up on Martin if the Panthers don't make the playoffs, he told South Florida reporters this week he doesn't worry about situations that he "can't control." He hasn't changed one bit from his days behind the Senators' bench ... If you're wondering why Pittsburgh's Therrien is on the hotseat, keep an eye on the situation if the Penguins go down in the first round.

AROUND THE BOARDS

Since Minny D Kurtis Foster won't be back this season because of a broken leg suffered on an icing play in San Jose last week, the big question is: Will he be able to walk down the wedding aisle in June? "I just asked (trainer Don Fuller) about (Foster's) wedding, and he said, 'He'll walk, but with a very bad limp.' " ... As reported in this space last week, Tampa C Vinny Lecavalier confirmed he and RW Martin St. Louis spoke with GM Jay Feaster to get rugged RW Andre Roy welcomed back. Ottawa will make a pitch for Roy -- a former Senator -- if he's an unrestricted free agent in July ... The future of Atlanta GM/coach Don Waddell is in question. He received a contract extension, but many are wondering if he deserved it. Waddell will likely get a chance to hire another coach ... Need help here: Should Alexander Ovechkin be the NHL's MVP if his leads the Caps to another spring without playoffs?

RUMOURS DU JOUR

There have been no contract talks between the Senators and D Wade Redden, but that doesn't mean there won't be before he's set to become a UFA July 1. Redden would have to take a significant cut from the $6.5 million he's making this year to stay with Ottawa, which means he likely won't be back. The question is: Will he get anything close to the three-year, $16.5-million the San Jose Sharks were willing to ante up if Redden had accepted a deal at the deadline? ... Talk won't go away that Anaheim GM Brian Burke will take the Maple Leafs reins. Burke denies there's been any talks and he's telling the truth, but that doesn't mean the Leafs aren't interested ... You have to wonder if somebody will make an offer sheet on Montreal G Jaroslav Halak, who's set to become a restricted free agent. Caps G Cristobal Huet is the only high-profile potential UFA available, which means Halak might get a few sniffs. The Flyers, Kings and Hawks could all be looking for goaltending help ... The Bruins aren't happy with RW Glen Murray. With the club struggling to score goals, he has to pick it up. If he doesn't and the Bruins miss the playoffs, he'll surely be dealt. The $4.15 million left on his contract could be used as part of a pitch for Atlanta RW Marian Hossa ... Don't expect to see Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky behind the bench for Team Canada at the world championships this spring in Quebec City and Halifax. While GM Steve Yzerman has held talks with Gretzky about the job, it's believed the Great One feels there are better qualified candidates. Possibilities include: Edmonton's Craig MacTavish, Buffalo's Lindy Ruff and Ken Hitchcock of Columbus. Bringing St. Louis' Murray back for a second stint hasn't been ruled out, either. Don't think for a second that Gretzky isn't a top candidate for the 2010 Olympics in

Vancouver.

FOND FAREWELL

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of longtime Sun sports editor George Gross, who passed away Friday. The Baron was there with us when the Sunday Sun was launched in Ottawa in September 1988 and he will never be forgotten.

Have a nice holiday weekend.


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