The Montreal Canadiens started the 2021 season with a 7-1-2 record. Their big-ticket offseason acquisitions meshed well with a returning core of talents. It appeared that coach Claude Julien had a North Division juggernaut on his hands.
Three weeks later, Julien was handed his pink slip.
In the pressure cooker of a 56-game sprint to the playoffs, the fortunes of teams shift dramatically. The Calgary Flames had won five of their last seven games on Feb. 11. Three weeks later, head coach Geoff Ward was fired from a .500 team, replaced with Darryl Sutter.
These are the only two head coaches fired this season thus far. One wonders how many others there would be if not for the COVID-19-related factors, including travel restrictions at the border and the economic catastrophe that teams are facing after a year without ticket revenue.
Just because they haven't been dismissed doesn't mean many NHL coaches aren't squirming as their seats get hotter. Here's a temperature check for all 31 teams, from the coaches sitting on mounds of snow to the ones who might want to consider wearing hazmat suits. This is informed speculation after conversing with sources. Shoutout to the indispensable Cap Friendly for some of the contract info.