Why haven't any coaches been fired yet this season?

From ESPN - February 13, 2018

Last season was a tumultuous one for NHL coaches. On Nov. 27, 2016, Gerard Gallant stood by the loading dock of PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, luggage in tow, waiting for a cab. He had just been fired as coach of the Florida Panthers.

Claude Julien, who won a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011 and returned to the finals in 2013, was told the team would go in a different direction -- and the announcement was made public on the morning of the Patriots' Super Bowl LI parade, as if to muddle its impact.

The Montreal Canadiens fired Michel Therrien a week later, and quickly scooped up Julien. Jack Capuano was let go by the New York Islanders, and replaced by then-assistant general manager Doug Weight. St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong had once called Ken Hitchcock "a Hall of Fame coach" and one of his "best friends" -- but fired the veteran coach on Feb. 1, nine months after Hitchcock had led St. Louis to the Western Conference finals.

In-season coaching changes are ubiquitous in the modern NHL; all five of these examples occurred within the space of a few months. But as the 2017-18 season marches toward the trade deadline, an intriguing trend has taken hold: stability. No team has made a coaching change yet. It's the first time we have gone this far into a season without a switch since 1966-67 -- when the NHL first expanded beyond its Original Six.

So what gives?

When I posed the question to a Western Conference front-office executive this week, he quipped: "This league has cut ties with so many guys the last couple of years, maybe everyone just needed a break."

Indeed, the NHL has been a quick-trigger league of late; 34 coaches have been fired in-season over the past nine years. But there are clues as to why 2017-18 may be different.

"This is one of these years where there's a realistic approach to some of the teams," surmised Hitchcock, who is now coaching the Dallas Stars -- the same team that fired him in 2002, less than three years after he guided the Stars to their only Cup title. "The teams that should do well are doing well, and the teams that are building their program, they are going about it in a different direction, so I think there's a little bit of continuity."

Teams that could be candidates for change all have extraneous circumstances. Though it's shocking the Blackhawks have fallen to last place in the Central, Joel Quenneville is the league's longest-tenured coach and has won three Cups with the franchise; many around the league believe Chicago is hoping that continuity will help pull the Hawks out of their season-long funk. Guy Boucher led the Ottawa Senators to the Eastern Conference finals in 2017, but this season his team is floundering. The Senators have announced that they are embarking on a rebuild, however; plus, it is believed Ottawa's owners are unwilling to pay for two coaches' salaries, and therefore firing Boucher before his contract expires could be out of the question.


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