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All These Coaching Changes

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Laviolette is now with his fourth NHL team since 2001, and in that span, has experienced the dizzying highs and crazy lows of an oh-so-fickle profession. Laviolette was the genius who coached the Carolina Hurricanes to the 2006 Stanley Cup final, and then was deemed the impediment to Philadelphia’s success, getting fired three games into this season after it was determined the Flyers couldn’t possibly make the playoffs if he stayed on.

This is the essential conundrum in the NHL when it comes to coaches and their increasingly fragile shelf life. Earlier this week, when Kirk Muller became the fifth coach this off-season to get fired, he had been on the job in Carolina less than three years. But even with that limited window, Muller ranked ninth in tenure among all NHL coaches. Ninth!

Sure, coaches are hired to be fired, but the latest string of coaching casualties is bordering on the absurd – especially since the craft of coaching has actually never been more refined. Hockey was once a game of improvisation. Now it is far more choreographed, and players who are out of position, sometimes only be a few feet, pay for their transgressions with ice time.

Gradually, it is becoming clear that managing players might be today’s most important coaching skill, since proficiency with tactics and X’s and O’s is ubiquitous.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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Gradually, it is becoming clear that managing players might be today’s most important coaching skill, since proficiency with tactics and X’s and O’s is ubiquitous.

I would take issue with that. I think there are definitely still big differences in the tactics employed by various NHL coaches and that it does contribute meaningfully to a team’s success or failure.

Tyler Dellow, in fact, has recently been looking at how different coaches and teams approach set pieces like what to do after a faceoff win or loss in the defensive or offensive zone, and the results have been fascinating. It’s definitely given me the impression that hockey is still a game with evolving tactics, that there is lot of room for coaches to innovate and come up with more effective systems, and that in fact there are a few very good coaches in the NHL right now doing exactly that (as well as bad ones clinging to systems that appear to be counter-productive based on the observational and statistical evidence).

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 05/07/14 at 01:10 PM ET

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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