It’s never too early for NHL general managers and coaches to feel the heat. A topsy-turvy October raised the angst level in several cities.These individuals are sweating more than most:Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier: Montreal’s slow start prompted “The Ghost” to can assistant coach Perry Pearn in a strange move. Wrote Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun: “Many believe he’ll be next out the door and that’s the whisper among NHL types as well. So, who will be his replacement? Here are two names to listen for: Former Habs GM Bob Gainey . . . (and) Tampa assistant GM Julien Brisebois. He left the Habs to take work with Bolts GM Steve Yzerman and was a key figure in the hiring of coach Guy Boucher.”Canadiens coach Jacques Martin: If Gauthier gets capped, then the mild-mannered Martin could be next. Failure is not an option with the Habs.Flames GM Jay Feaster: Edmonton’s hot start is pressuring him to speed up his roster overhaul in Calgary. Trouble is he inherited a bunch of players that other teams simply do not want. A slow start by Jarome Iginla (four points in nine October games) hasn't helped.Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson: His big money plays for center Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski didn’t pay off, in part because Carter got hurt (cracked foot) and Wisniewski opened the year with an eight-game suspension. Columbus has the NHL's fifth-highest payroll and the 28th-best attendance. The Ottawa Sun notes that he is trying to make another deal to shake up his team. Kris Russell and Derick Brassard are two players mentioned as possible trade chips. The Columbus Dispatch wondered if team president Mike Priest was already feeling out potential GM candidates.Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel: Many experts are surprised he is still on the job, given his horrific start. He didn’t get to play with a full deck to start the season, but the disastrous start in Columbus left the team in a giant hole. The Columbus Dispatch suggested the team was already pondering potential head coaches to pursue.
There is no shortage of head coaching candidates to choose from, including former NHL coaches like Marc Crawford and minor league coaches like Kirk Muller.