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Are coaches interchangeable?

The Toronto Star's Damien Cox finds it less than ironic that the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks have essentially traded coaches, with the media-friendly Vigneault facing New York's media horde and John Tortorella all but certain to grumble, grouse and otherwise belittle the ocean of Vancouver scribes, mostly because Cox believes that NHL coaches are all essentially the same:

The fact that the Canucks and New York Rangers essentially swapped coaches — Alain Vigneault to Broadway, Tortorella to B.C. — tells you all you really need to know about the modern NHL coach.

There’s not much difference between them, and supply outstrips demand.

For the most part, they coach about the same way in a league in which offence and imagination is crushed at the altar of parity and keeping every games close.

What really decides the level of success of individual coaches is the players they have at their disposal.

Most specifically, the goalie they have at their disposal.

Cox continues at length, and I disagree with him, but I'm curious as to what you think. Is it the players that make the coach? I'm not so sure about that.

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I am no pharmacist, but if coaches are all the same and players make the coach and not vice-versa, why would NHL teams even hire coaches to begin with? Wouldn’t the 2 Million they throw at coaches be better spent on players if the coaches don’t matter?

The fact that both Claude Julien and Joel Quenneville likely would have been fired by the Bruins and Blackhawks, respectively, had their team fallen early in the post-season tells you the state of NHL coaching these days.

Like Dan Bylsma was fired, amirite?  raspberry

Posted by Adi from India on 06/22/13 at 04:07 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

If coaches are interchangeable, how do you explain Scotty Bowman?

Posted by w2j2 on 06/23/13 at 06:34 PM ET

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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.

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