© Chuck Duboff
In professional sports, there’s one place you don’t want to be, and that is on the Hot Seat. Coaches and managers throughout the long history of sports have always said that they are hired to be fired. It’s a what have you done for me lately business and if your record was 1-17 last season or if you are on a 15 game losing streak, the noose tightens and you know that your job is in jeopardy.
Two of my favourite teams, the Winnipeg Jets and the New York Yankees now find themselves with a coach and manager who are on the proverbial hot seat. Both Paul Maurice, head coach of the Winnipeg Jets, and, Joe Girardi, manager of the New York Yankees have been given lineups which now preclude any excuses.
Last season the Winnipeg Jets were one of the highest scoring teams in the NHL; they featured Patrik Laine, Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Nic Ehlers. The Jets had no problem putting the puck in the net, but it was between the pipes where they struggled. Not having a veteran goalie put a lot of pressure on the rookie Conner Hellybucyk. Additionally, the Jets needed at least one more solid defence man if they wanted to make a move in the standings.
So, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff went out and got veteran goalie and former rookie of the year, Steve Mason, to stabilize the goaltending, and Dmitri Kulakov to fill out a six man D rotation, featuring Trouba, Big Buff, Morrissey, Enstrom and Myers.
Paul Maurice now has all that he wanted and the pressure is now on him to produce; I dare say, if the Jets struggle out of the gate, Maurice could be gone really quickly. There is a reason that he is entering the upcoming season without a new contract.
Paul Maurice, you are on the hot seat.
Meanwhile, over in Gotham City, Joe Girardi finds himself in the same situation as Paul Maurice. It’s make the playoffs and go for a deep run, challenging for the World Series. Anything less, for example, not making the playoffs…and Joe will be managing elsewhere next season.
Yankees GM, Brian Cashman, has provided Girardi with an absolutely complete roster, with the additions of Sonny Grey and Jaime Garcia to the starting rotation, Todd Frazier to the 3B bag, and David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to an already dominating bullpen. The bullpen is so strong now, that all the Yankees need is 5 or 6 innings from their starter and then its shutdown time.
Looking at the everyday players, the lineup now looks like this:
- Brett Gardner (Jacoby Elsbury)
- Clint Frazier (Aaron Hicks)
- Aaron Judge
- Gary Sanchez
- Didi Gregorious
- Matt Holiday
- Starlin Castro
- Chase Headley
- Todd Frazier
I dare say that is one very intimidating lineup for any pitcher to face. The Yankees have a mix of both veterans and kids to ride through the playoffs. Girardi has a solid starting pitching staff, shutdown bullpen and a powerful everyday lineup.
Paul Maurice and Joe Girardi…you are now on the hot seat. Anything less than deep playoff runs, and I dare say your jobs are in jeopardy.