TEPID TAKE: Idiot Coaches

Let’s start off by saying Mike Babcock and Bill Peters are scum as people. When you’re a head coach at any level, you’re job is to teach and nurture players to get better. While a little “tough love” may be needed, the psychological damage and utter disregard for players as humans is something that shouldn’t be tolerated under any guise.

As always, though, you’ll have people either try to defend them or say they didn’t see or hear anything like that when they were around them. I won’t call them enablers because there’s an off chance that they weren’t focused on anything aside from their goal.

That all said, though– let’s look deeper into the whole situation because there’s a lot of former players coming out and saying that players would go to the GM regularly to have said coach fired or their concerns were brought up to no change being made. This is where things get the murkiest for the higher ups for not doing their leg work on this. Carlo Colaiacovo said that some players from the Red Wings went to Ken Holland with concerns of Babcock only to be shuttered out. No word of if the Edmonton media has pressured Holland about this claim. Not only that, but then Carolina GM Ron Francis was made aware of the physical altercations between Peters and players. The result was a contract extension. Francis hasn’t made public comment yet, as he is currently at the helm of the Seattle franchise.

This is not to say that players should be in charge of who they want to coach, but if they’re coming to management with solid evidence of what’s going wrong and management doesn’t bat an eye to the situation– that’s just shitty management and shitty people in those management roles.

Both Babcock and Peters held significant roles with Hockey Canada, as well– Babcock coaching multiple Olympic teams, World Juniors, and World Championships, while Peters was a U18 Championships coach, a World Championship coach, and assistant for the World Cup of Hockey. Whether or not Hockey Canada will look into their dealing deeper, who knows if the short time those teams were together if anything happened or if because it’s a such a tight ship with people looking over the shoulder all the time, these guys actually had to act professional in that time span.

The era of recycling coaches will hopefully come in an end because of this, regardless of what “brilliance” may be provided. The recycling should have never happened either. There’s plenty of good coaches out there, but teams are too lazy to actually scout them or give them the chance in the “win now” mentality that is brought to them by ownership; so they go with the easy fix or a known commodity– due diligence be damned. With all of this coming to the surface– you can bet that the process of selecting a coach will be thorough as hell now, as it should have been already.

As far as these two are concerned, I could see Peters being without a job indefinitely…but it’s a harder sell for me on Babcock. Regardless of the mental trauma he put on players, Mike Keenan still got work well past his due date. That’s something that will always tell me to never say never when it comes to coaches being disgraced out of the business. Honestly, Babcock could land a job sooner rather than later because hockey is stupid and lazy like that.

Coaches Hot-Seat SZN

We’re at the point in the season where the crappy teams that aren’t supposed to be crappy teams need to make a decision when it comes to their coaching. There’s already been a hoax of John Hynes’ firing in New Jersey…though it may have been more foreshadowing that hoax. But is Hynes really the first guy to get sacked??

Sure, the look isn’t great when Tom Fitzgerald comes down from this AHL GM duties to be an assistant coach, but more over than that– the team isn’t great. We knew that they would have talent in Taylor Hall and the new blood of PK Subban on the blueline, not to mention rookie Jack Hughes there and Nico Hischier. The goaltending is suspect, but for some reason this team isn’t gelling as much as people had hoped. Is Hynes to blame?? Maybe, only based on last season’s lackluster performance and the start of the season– which is probably enough to shitcan him. With only one playoff appearance in his four-year (now fifth) tenure isn’t enough to cut it in a “what have you done for me lately” kind of business.

The Devils could be waiting for Minnesota to fire Bruce Boudreau so they have someone from the recycle heap to replace Hynes. Now, I can’t blame Boudreau for having around $41.5M tied up in seven contracts with some kind of no-move or no-trade in their deal. Who knows who would want those contracts– though maybe someone would take a flier on Devan Dubnyk at the price tag and capability. That said, it’s a common theme for Bruce– team has some semblance of success, then something just doesn’t click. Hell, he’s been fired for less in Washington and Anaheim– so I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets the boot in the next few games.

Now, Jim Montgomery is in a bit of a pickle with a 3-7-1 record as of this writing and he’s in his second season. I don’t know if he’s in trouble, but we’ve seen coaches get fired as a knee-jerk reaction regardless of length of tenure and if they should be given some time with their players. A very longshot could be Jon Cooper– only in that you look at coaches who have had success prior and then the team plateaus before getting a new voice in the room to carry them further– like the Penguins with Mike Sullivan and Dan Bylsma. You could lump Boudreau with the Caps being fired midseason as a reference, too. That said, should the Bolts do something odd or not be able to pick up the pace– Cooper would be fired, but not out of the job for long.

Coaches are hired to be fired and with the way the NHL goes– a lot of these guys will be rinsed, washed, and repeated for another club. It’s how the NHL works with coaches because people don’t seem to have patience for new voices when a known commodity is out there– shoutout Dave Hakstol. Four coaches were fired by November 21th of last year. We have a chance for at least two by that time span if things don’t straighten up. But you know we’re going to see those fired again and those who are out of work get the vacancies these jobs have created. Sunrise, sunset.

Tippett Becomes Eighth Coach in Past Decade for Oilers

For the life of me, I don’t know what Dave Tippett is doing. The former Arizona Coyotes’ head coach is now the current Edmonton Oilers head coach, leaving the adviser role he had with the new Seattle Your-Name-Heres and moving into a spot that could be one of the hottest seats in the NHL.

There has to be some respect for him to take on the challenge rather than laying back easy and waiting for the Seattle team to talk. And let’s be honest, with the way teams are with coaches in the recent past– he still could be the first coach of the Seattle team. Yet, you have to think that he got that itch again and the wait would be too much for him– so Edmonton it is.

There’s no doubt to have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in the line-up, it’s give the team a fighter’s chance at making the playoffs. However, the biggest deal is…well, everyone outside of those two is the big worry. That albatross of the Milan Lucic contract looms heavy, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is constantly in the rumor mill, the defense and goaltending is suspect at best– so there’s work to be done.

Granted, the whispers of the possibility that Mike Smith is going to Edmonton to follow his buddy Tippett doesn’t bode well long-term for the Oilers; but it hasn’t been stable in net since Bill Ranford left. The defense has plenty of potential, but there comes a time where potential is overdone and disappointment/anger/hatred comes into play– if it’s not already there in Edmonton.

For me, this almost seems like an older version of Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan from a few years back for Edmonton. I know the whole problem with the Oilers before was the old-boys club being in charge and the thought with Chiarelli and McLellan was they ditched that moniker. Now, with Craig MacTavish finally gone and Paul Coffey being let go it; could be a real new start for Ken Holland, Tippett, and crew– but Kevin Lowe is still hanging around– so who knows.

It’s a pivotal time for the Oilers. You have to think the time is ticking to get Connor McDavid to be happy with where he’s at. Hell, his name is already being murmured when it comes to being moved if things don’t get better soon. His no-move clause starts in 2022-23, so there’s three seasons to get it right or else he may want his way out of Edmonton. The question is whether or not Tippett is the guy to spark the team around McDavid and Draisaitl or if it’ll be the third coach for the Oilers to have two great assets, but can’t get to the playoffs due to the team around them.

On the Topic Of Fickle Coaching Decisions

Sunday, both Phil Housley and Bob Boughner were fired from their teams only two years into their tenure behind the benches of the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers respectively. We all know coaches are hired to be fired and often they get fired due to the general manager’s inability to build a good roster for them– but only two years behind the bench seems like a mere blink of the eye when you look at the bigger picture.

These are teams that need stability and to have coaches there for that little of a time doesn’t help their cause for that. For Buffalo, post-Lindy Ruff since November 2013– no head coach has survived more than two years. Ron Rolston, Ted Nolan, Dan Bylsma and now Housley have all had short tenures not lasting longer than two seasons. For Florida post-Kevin Dineen after the 2012-13 season the Panthers have gone through Peter Horachek, Gerard Gallant, Tom Rowe, and now Boughner.

Of course, of the two, Housley didn’t have the best of success, only going 58-84-22 in his two years while having a group of young talent at his disposal, but goaltending being a question mark since Dominik Hasek left. Boughner went 80-62-22 while having a talented group that had a top power play, penalty kill, but lacked goaltending. I’m sensing a theme with the goaltending.

Regardless of that, having only a limited time to actually figure out how to coach a team that may not be the top notch squad seems like an impossible task that makes someone destined to fail. Only one year to get situation and then if you can’t get to the playoffs in the second year, it’s done?? I get that there’s a “win now, make money” mentality, but to have this lack of stability– especially for young players on the team– can’t be great from outsiders who teams may be courting in free agency.

It seems to always come to the GMs making bad deals and the owners allowing them to make those bad deals. It hampers any kind of progress most of the times, while giving anyone behind the bench a payday, but a short-term payday. Hell, even college coaches get a full class (four years) to prove their worth. Of course, this isn’t college and some players aren’t willing to adjust and adapt to win. Some players want coaches to fit their styles rather than the other way around. That’s on the GM to get the right chemistry in the room to make them a winner regardless of the coach.

Head coaching is a fickle thing. Most times you’re given a bad roster and tasked to make them into Cup champions. Owners and GM have lofty goals from the onset and these guys aren’t paid enough to have to deal with these lofty goals and deal with some prima donnas that don’t fit the vision they have for the team they want to inherit.

Granted, if they go somewhere else and succeed with the right roster in the right situation, then these GMs and owners will look even more foolish than they have been for letting them go in such a short time.

Dave Hakstol and the Developmental Dilemma

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Philadelphia Flyers

Okay Philly fans, let’s step off the ledge just a little bit…or just think about Carson Wentz to calm yourself down. I understand– the Flyers aren’t good right now. The nine-game skid doesn’t make things better when you’re dead-last in the division. But it’s only November, so you can remember that. The Ducks got hot last year late to win their division after starting poorly– so there’s still hope.

And yes, I can see why you’d want your coach out because you can’t fire the players and he’s not the guy you may have wanted and he’s an unknown. But…let me put this out there and take it as it were, but hear me out.

Demote Dave Hakstol from Flyers head coach to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to coach in the AHL. 

It’s not that crazy, especially with the rave reviews that he has gotten in developing players into the Flyers’ system. The problem is that, while he can deal well with the younger talent– he has nowhere to graduate them to after the NHL level. In the NCAA, he could groom the young talent and then in four years or less– they’re out of there and a new crop of players are coming into the locker room. He still gets rave reviews from his former players and those who covered him about what he was able to do with players.

If they were to demote him to the AHL, the development aspect will still be there and it’ll give Hakstol the ability to graduate players into what the Flyers want them to be. Where you need someone to win now, as well as develop players– it’s an almost impossible task to ask for a coach; especially one who has no prior pro coaching experience. But to bump him down in to a coaching role that makes him feel comfortable and gets him back to his developmental roots maybe help him save face and help save the Flyers fans from completely going off the edge (at least in this matter).

Granted, Scott Gordon has been doing a decent job with the Phantoms– which would be a tough sell to them about turning over a coach like that. And it’s not like you can bump Gordon up because his track record in the NHL isn’t much better than what Hakstol brings to the entire table. Gordon won 48 games last year behind the Phantoms’ bench after a rough first season where they had 34 wins in 2015-16 and was one game under .500. With Gordon turning it around and maybe developing a little bit better than Hakstol could– I doubt my plan would work at all.

Dave Hakstol is a good coach with a good skill set to develop players to the next level. However, the lack of graduation there is as an NHL coach could possibly be a mental hurdle for him to be wholly successful in his gig right now. Should the Flyers pull the trigger and get rid of Hakstol, he’d be a perfect fit for another team looking for help in their development side of things.