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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Olympics in Vancouver - Potential Coaches?

Go see TSN.ca's article regarding Stevie Y and the big Olympic dance here. Here's a short list of potential Olympic coaches: Buffalo’s Lindy Ruff, Montreal’s Guy Carbonneau, Boston’s Claude Julien, Edmonton’s Craig MacTavish, Detroit’s Mike Babcock and Vancouver’s Alain Vigneault- for the coaching job. (according to Garrioch)

The case for Ruff: Outspoken and passionate coach. That being said, he sometimes talks out of his ass. If longevity is any sign of a competent coach, then Ruff is definitely the pinnacle of ability when it comes to coaching ability. But if longevity were the shoo-in factor, then Barry Trotz would be a Jack Adams candidate. To be fair though, Trotz has won the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award in the AHL. Ruff, however, is a former Jack Adams winner, which says a lot about him.

The case for Carbonneau: Guy Carbonneau's playing career and coaching career is already full of success. He lost the Jack Adams to Bruce Boudreau, but that's just a case of the other man being just a little bit better. Carbonneau's Habs are always at the top rung of the special teams ladder and it's his attention to detail that makes the case.

The case for Julien: Claude Julien is a battler. Even though he always gets fired at inopportune times (right before a playoff push, for chrissakes!). Seems Julien always gets fired despite his winning record, which may say more about his personality than his ability. Why? Because he always finds a ticket back to big show right afterwards. Obviously, he must be a lot easier to work with than Ted Nolan or Mike Keenan.

Is that good enough? I think so. Claude Julien can't be denied and that's a good attitude to give to your team.

The case for MacTavish: MacTavish is king of one-liners. If you needed to hire a coach on PR purposes alone, MacTavish would win.

That being said, he has to bring some intangibles to the coaching arena. Firstly, he is impeccable at setting up PK units. As we all know and as the EA NHL franchise likes to frequently remind us, MacTavish was one tough customer in his playing days. MacTavish doesn't pull any punches either, and he has shown in the past that he will play whoever he thinks will help the team win, not who the fans or anybody else wants to see. Just ask Conklin, Schremp, Morrison, or Smid. He's not always right about the risks he takes, but hey, not everyone is and some people never taking any risks.

No pain, no gain!

The case for Babcock: Having success at all levels, Mike Babcock has shown that success doesn't come easy - but he's had it with McGill, Anaheim, and Detroit. His coaching systems are flawless and the pains he goes through to make sure things are perfect - well, it's perfect for a coach.

One of my votes would have to go to this guy.

The case for Vigneault: Sorry Vancouver fans, but I'm not a big fan of your team. If you think he should be both the home team coach and the Olympic team coach, that's not reason enough since coaches are fired every day. There is no guarantee he'll be around. But if you can think of some reasons for to make the case for Vigneault, please leave some comments below.

My ideal combination of coaches and assistants:
Head coach: Guy Carbonneau or Lindy Ruff
(you gotta choose one of them! and my vote goes to Guy)
Assistants: Babcock, MacTavish, Julien

More potential coaches...

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