We don't tread lightly on the subject of people's livelihoods. As such -- and because we can't YET successfully get into the minds of those who hold the power -- please construe this exercise as our interpretation of how fans feel about certain local coaches and GMs, and not how close we think they actually might be to losing their jobs.
The Hot Seat Ratings -- a scale of 1-10, with one being a nice cool and comfortable chair and 10 being a flaming bun scorcher -- are merely a device to take the pulse of Minnesota Fan Nation as things stand right at this moment. Here we go:
Jerry Kill -- If he asked you to block a 300-pound lineman right now, would you try it? That's what we thought. Rating: 1.
Anyone involved with the Lynx -- They have the best record in the WNBA by a long shot and have been a significant bright spot during an otherwise dismal sports run. Rating: 1.
Leslie Frazier -- Most fans seem to be genuinely encouraged by his approach, and he has the added benefit of following a guy whose hot seat rating was off the charts at times. Rating: 2.
Mike Yeo -- Another newbie making a good first impression. Rating: 2
Wolves Coach X -- An unnamed coach (possibly Rick Adelman) in charge of a low-expectation team in a league that might not play for a while. Not much pressure there. Rating: 2.
Rick Spielman -- You don't hear much fan griping about Spielman, whose moves have generally helped give the Vikings the talent they need to compete. Rating: 2.5.
Chuck Fletcher -- Injected some life into the Wild with shrewd off-season trades, helping sway a fan base that was teetering. Rating: 3.5
Tubby Smith -- His rating would be a point or two higher based on performance vs. expectation, but there are still a lot of people who feel lucky he is here. They aren't totally wrong. This year, though, will be important. Rating: 4.5
Ron Gardenhire -- There are some card-carrying extremist members of the FIRE GARDY club, but we say they are greatly outnumbered by a quieter middle that is irked by the post-season failures, troubled by the developments of 2011 but overall content with the 2010 AL Manager of the Year. Rating: 5.
Pam Borton -- The Gophers have fallen on hard times the past two seasons, meaning 2011-12 is a big one. Overall, though, Borton can boast of six NCAA tourney berths in her nine seasons as head coach, including a pair of Sweet 16 trips and a Final Four. Rating: 5.5
David Kahn -- He's all over the map right now, but the arrival of Ricky Rubio and the drafting of Derrick Williams have Kahn in the safe zone. When the NBA picks back up, on-court performance could dictate whether his number shoots to a 9 or plummets to a 3. For now ... Rating: 6.
HOT HOT HOT
Don Lucia -- Gophers hockey is held to a gold standard, and when you miss the NCAA tourney three years in a row the heat is definitely on. The two NCAA titles Lucia won early in his tenure seem like distant memories to a lot of hard-core hockey fans. Rating: 8.
Joel Maturi -- You'd be hard-pressed to find another figure so mild-mannered and yet so polarizing. Rating: 8.5.
Bill Smith -- Is he the sole reason everything fell apart for the Twins in 2011? Hardly. Did he play a role? Yes. Is he a symbol of the carnage as far as Twins fans are concerned? Absolutely. Rating: 9.5.
Your thoughts, as always, in the comments.