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Does Coaching Really Matter?

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Leadership matters in almost any setting.

It’s really hard to reduce to down to a set list of practices or even qualities.

It’s something combination of personality - charisma, gravitas;
record of accomplishment, knowledge, and expertise; respect stemming from work ethic, consistency, and some balance of toughness and accountability, combined with loyalty to players - maybe sort of a bunker or “us against the world” mentality; a coach who both cares and demands.

I’m just brainstorming; I’ve never been a coach or in another leadership role which combined the above. But it’s a top of the head list from what I’ve read and observed and what I’d like in a coach or leader myself.

From casual outside observation, Sutter seems to have a bunch of those traits.

Posted by lefty.30 on 03/15/21 at 11:21 PM ET


Or maybe what I mean is you can try a list - but good luck
trying to follow a list or formula if you’re just anybody.
Some people, all else being equal, just have it.
And some no matter how smart or hardworking or accomplished
could try to follow the formula and it would never cohere effectively.

Posted by lefty.30 on 03/15/21 at 11:24 PM ET


Huh, would you imagine that. A good coach comes in and the team plays better…

Posted by MZ2215 on 03/16/21 at 07:04 AM ET


I agree in general lefty but there’s really know way to know what aspect of Setters coaching turned it around.  Maybe he was more clear in his communication of his expectations and systems.  Maybe there was an accountability issue he addressed.  Bottom line is he’s a good coach.  That’s why they improved.  Same when brind ‘‘amor took over Carolina.  It was a night and day difference as soon as he did.  Can’t chalked up all these coaches success to just being super cool guys.

Posted by ThatGuy on 03/16/21 at 08:44 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

When you change coaches, especially midstream, #$%@‘s gone wrong, team’s losing.

So like pulling a goalie (even sometimes when its not his fault) change at the top is a wake up call for everyone on that bench and in the organization, tomorrow is a new day.

Moreso though, in any competitive environment, when you change who is making the ice time and lineup decisions, players need to re-prove themselves in the pecking order, on the ice, at practice, in the room, on film. 

Old boss’s favorites no longer, who steps up, who moves down? That means some players get a fresh look when the former boss had a book written, even if its just the perception of a fresh look. 

New systems and/or style of play can be a big part in it too, not only the effectiveness of the system, old one could be broken, but either way, the willingness with the above factors for the troops to give it everything to learn and utilize to turn the ship is there.

So the question isn’t the short term impact, its the sustained success, will this coach be able to achieve the same results after that initial surge/push leading into a playoff push, and the playoffs themselves is spoken for? No doubt a veteran coach like Sutter will continue to be effective, others may or may not be.  No better example than Dan Bylsma and the Penguins.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 03/16/21 at 09:09 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Agree with Murray here, this isn’t much of a surprise.  A coach is fired, suddenly players are on their toes.  Not to mention, you always want to make a good first impression with your new boss, right?  Kind of sets the tone for how they’ll think of you going forward.

Posted by TreKronor on 03/16/21 at 10:00 AM ET


Considering how down they were, a move in a better direction was just about the only way to go. It’ll be more telling to see how they are another month from now.

Posted by evileye on 03/16/21 at 11:15 AM ET

d ca's avatar

Replacement list. Assistant/Associate Coach 1st. Coach 2nd. Players 3rd. GM 4th. At least in the NHL.

Players know their jobs are now on the line even if they were relatively safe before.

But beyond the immediate adjustment period, the players know the organization isn’t settling for losing and holds even management accountable, which can light a fire under someone’s feet.

Posted by d ca on 03/16/21 at 03:57 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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