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Twisting in the wind: Oates, Carlyle, Torts still facing uncertain futures

Apr 21, 2014, 1:44 PM EST

FILE - This Feb. 6, 2014 file photo shows Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates on the bench in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, in Washington. Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are fading. Ovechkin has gone without a point in the last four games, and his team has lost five of its past six to drop to 10th in the Eastern Conference. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) AP

Three head coaches on three high-profile teams that missed the playoffs have yet to receive a vote of confidence or, failing that, official word that their services are no longer required.

Adam Oates, Randy Carlyle and John Tortorella all faced extensive criticism this season in Washington, Toronto, and Vancouver, respectively. The Caps missed the postseason for the first time since 2007, the Canucks for the first time since 2008. The Maple Leafs suffered an epic collapse, winning just twice in their last 14 games. Suffice to say, expectations for all three teams were considerably higher.

Granted, not all the situations are the same. The Canucks, for example, still need to hire a new general manager after Mike Gillis was fired. The Capitals may need to hire a new GM as well, with George McPhee’s seat arguably as hot as Oates’. It may be those decisions are made before the coaching ones.

Earlier this month, Washington owner Ted Leonsis promised to “conduct a comprehensive review of what transpired this year,” after which the “necessary adjustments” will be made.

In Toronto, meanwhile, Brendan Shanahan was only just hired as the club’s new president. And that move came just days after Trevor Linden took over hockey operations in Vancouver. Both those two will need to get fully up to speed before they make a decision as big as the coaching one.

Still, there’s something to be said for not letting the process drag out. If the decision is to keep the coach, fine, then time will need to be spent making adjustments for next season, because obviously adjustments need to be made. If the coach is fired, then time will need to be spent hiring a new one.

Related:

Has McPhee’s ‘adversarial relationship with player agents’ cost the Caps?

Leafs rise to coach Carlyle’s defense

Torts calls Canucks ‘stale,’ says it’s not 2011 anymore

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