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The Puck Stops Here

Early Season Coach Of The Year

As the season progresses, I am picking more and more initial leaders for the NHL awards.  Today, I am looking at the coach of the year.  Generally, my opinions on this award are out of synch with the hockey media who vote on the award.  Generally, the media seem to pick the coach of the most improved team as coach of the year, when often that improvement is due to the players much more than it is due to coaching.  Following that line of logic, the coach of the year will likely be one of Davis Payne, Terry Murray or Guy Boucher as St Louis, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay are some of the most improved teams in hockey.  Past coaches of the year like Bruce Boudreau in Washington and Dave Tippett in Phoenix have no chance to be coach of the year because their team cannot improve enough for them to be candidates again.

At any rate, my coach of the year pick is none of the above.  It is Mike Babcock of Detroit.

Babcock has proven that he is a top coach for many years.  However, he has never been a coach of the year, in part because Detroit is too good a team to improve enough for their coach to be considered in the running.  That is a pretty poor way to determine a coach of the year.

Mike Babcock is doing a great job while keeping an aging team at the top of the standings.  Detroit has fewer losses than any other team (with five), though this is related to their having played fewer games than most teams.  He is a top coach who does a great job keeping a very good team competitive year after year.  He won’t be seriously considered for the Adams Trophy because his team is too good and that makes very little sense.

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MarkK's avatar

You’re right on the money about the illogical selection process and why consistently good coaches are overlooked.  No recognition unless your team takes a dive in the standings for awhile; and if you’re a well-tenured coach, that probably means you were there with a hand in the decline and don’t really deserve recognition for the current success over a team and its coach that were successful all along…

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 11/20/10 at 10:43 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Agree with your overall point. Babcock really deserved coach of the year last season, considering what he got out of the team with all the injuries. With the health they’ve had thus far, I don’t think the success is anything but expectation.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 11/21/10 at 12:57 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar


Do I understand correctly?  You are saying Mike Babcock is not coach of the year because the red Wings have not had enough injuries… right?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 11/21/10 at 02:27 PM ET

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About The Puck Stops Here

imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com