by PuckStopsHere on 11/09/08 at 09:43 AM ET
Generally I disagree with the mainstream media when they pick coach of the year candidates. I feel that picking the coach of the most improved team as coach of the year is usually wrong. There are lots of reasons why teams improve. Coaching is only one reason.
If Bruce Boudreau is such a wonderful coach. why is he not a coach of the year candidate this season? Is it because Carolina leads the Southeast Division this year? That is likely because their goaltending is not so strong with Jose Theodore in net and they missed Alexander Ovechkin for a few games and he is not among the NHL’s top scorers. Boudreau came into a good young team that was ready to take off and they did under his coaching.
For several years, including this one, I have believed that Jacques Lemaire is the best coach in the NHL.
There is no team that is more dependant upon coaching than Minnesota. Minnesota’s system is dependent upon fast players to keep up an aggressive forecheck. The system in Minnesota, which Lemaire has created, makes the team better than the sum of its parts.
Minnesota has had injuries to their best forward in Marian Gaborik and their best defenceman in Brent Burns. They lost to free agency Pavol Demitra and Andrew Brunette and the Wild carry on as a top team. Minnesota carries on as a top team. They are currently 8-5 (with one loss counted as a regulation tie). Only San Jose, Detroit and Montreal have less losses (regulation and otherwise) than the Minnesota Wild.
Minnesota has been a good team for several years and the main reason for this is Lemaire’s coaching. He is more important to his team than any other coach in the NHL is to his team. This year, so far, is no exception. Lemaire is a great coach, but because the coach of the year is chosen poorly as the coach of the most improved team, he has not been named coach of the year since 2003.
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