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Coach Of The Year

I made my first coach of the year pick this season about a month ago.  It was Barry Trotz of the Nashville Predators.  I feel that he is a top coach and has been a top coach for years and it is a shame that he has not won the Jack Adams Trophy as coach of the year in the process.  He has done a wonderful job with the Predators and has not has his due in terms of awards. 

I don't think this is the year.  Although Trotz is a very good coach who is doing very well with a limited amount of talent his team is struggling somewhat.  Nashville is currently in 10th place in the West Conference.  They are only one point back of a tie for eighth.  His team has been the second lowest scoring team in the NHL and their defence is not as strong as it has been in the past with Ryan Suter in Minnesota and Shea Weber not having as dominant a season as he has in the past.

I think the best pick for coach of the year is Bruce Boudreau of the Anaheim Ducks.  He has already won the award in 2008 with the Washington Capitals.  Boudreau is not the strong systems coach that I usually support for coach of the year.  He is more of a "player's coach" who makes things fun for his team and this leads to positive results.  Generally those "player's coaches" who see positive short term success soon find things fall apart.  Boudreau has a longterm record of success.  Washington has not been as successful a team since they fired Boudreau and they were not particularly successful before his hiring.  In Anaheim he is having tremendous success with his team.  The Ducks have been a team that gets killed in terms of puck possession.  Largely it is the 3rd and 4th lines and the depth on defence that has struggled.  They have some big name frontline talent in Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne.  This was a team that may or may not make the playoffs.  They missed them last year.  Nobody expected a big year in Anaheim.

Boudreau has put together a strong season in Anaheim.  The Ducks are in second place in the NHL.  They have only lost three games in regulation.  It's a record that is too good to last over the long-term, but a 48 game season isn't really a long-term test.  Boudreau has done a lot to create that atmosphere that has allowed success.  That is why he is a good pick for coach of the year.

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w2j2's avatar

I would argue that the coach of the year should be the guy who gets the most wins with the least talented players.

Posted by w2j2 on 03/15/13 at 01:48 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I would argue that the coach of the year is the coach who is responsible for the most wins (win shares) for his team in a given season.  That isn’t the same thing as you argue.  Your argument punishes coaches for having good players and gives coaches credit for wins that they may not be responsible for.  Teams win for a lot of reasons and the implicit assumption that it must be coaching if a team lacks talent is not always true.  My biggest complaint is the fact that you imply that good coaches have less talented players.  There is no correlation there.  A good coach may have good players, bad players or players who are anywhere in between.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/15/13 at 01:54 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

Yes, I see your point.
The question is, how to quantify this.
How would anyone know who was responsible for an individual win?  Even the coaches and players would probably have a different opinion on that.

It would be simpler to somehow quantify team talent, and then simply add up the wins.

I may be biased, but I think Babcock was punished in this regard for coaching in Detroit, with their (previous) highly talented teams.

Posted by w2j2 on 03/15/13 at 08:06 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Nobody knows with certainty who is responsible for an individual win.  It is useful as a term of debate to agree that we are looking for the coach who was responsible for the most wins and then try to figure out who that might be - it is quite reasonable to debate about exactly who it is.

It would be simpler to somehow quantify team talent, and then simply add up the wins.

It would be simpler but wrong.  I think the biggest thing this would determine is luck.  Some teams overachieve their talent level and some teams underachieve them for no good reason other than natural fluctuations.  In many cases these teams completely reverse that trend the next season.

I may be biased, but I think Babcock was punished in this regard for coaching in Detroit, with their (previous) highly talented teams.

I agree with you.  Ironically it is positions like the one that you had in your first comment that helped to keep Babcock from the Adams Trophy.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/15/13 at 09:37 AM ET

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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