Thread: Larry Brooks: Messier named Special Assistant ...
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08-17-2009, 01:11 PM
  #66
WhipNash27
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I personally don't think they won because of Keenan. At all. In any way. Simply put, that Rangers team was the best team personnel-wise in the NHL that year just like almost all cup winners are. The only time you can honestly evaluate a coach is when he is putrid (see Trootier for a stellar example of this).

In fact, I give almost no credit to coaches who win Cups in general because they always lose when they don't have the best personnel. Coaches' legends are the results of what GMs give them, not what they create. That is why coaches in all sports are on a carousel being recycled over and over again. Yes, there are exceptions but they probably represent around 1% of the coaches that dance from team to team.

It's the same mentality that assigns value to players because they played for Cup winners. In the cases of a Messier and Gretzky it means something. In the case of a Beukeboom it means he had the good fortune to land in a great spot.

It's also why some idiots thought Bourque wasn't an all-time great until he won a Cup with Colorado. Never mind that he was not just hall-of fame caliber but he was in the upper crust of hall of fame greatness.

Same goes for goalies. Anyone who tells me that Osgood is a great goalie is nuts in my mind but he collects Cups because he played with an utterly dominant team. Hasek, on the other hand, couldn't buy a Cup in Buffalo despite being the best I have ever seen but he got his when he went to that same Detroit juggernaut.

Back to my main point, Messier coming back here set this franchise back in a big way because it remained his team and the team wasn't allowed to head in any direction that he disagreed with. This should never be allowed to happen. Ever.
While I'm not a big Keenan guy, I do think that coaches have a role in a cup winning team. Especially from a strategy point of view. He determines how a team plays, which in today's NHL, it makes a difference. In the old days I could say, well it was pretty much run & gun. A good defense was good if the players who were back there were good. However, today strategy is more important than ever.

Also, unless you have a team with players like Messier who are a strong leader and motivator, you need a coach who is going to do that as well. Sure, players do that too, but the coach is the main guy.

Many coaches also have a say in which players are going to play for the team (see 09-10 Rangers). Most GMs are going to get players that a coach likes. You could have a very good player, but if a coach doesn't like him, the GM may be reluctant to bring him in. Also it can go the other way, if a coach doesn't like a player, than that player may be out of town sooner or later (Zubov anyone?). In 1994, I do think that Messier had a huge role in the makeup of that team, but in today's league I think the role of the coach is more important than ever.


Last edited by WhipNash27: 08-17-2009 at 01:16 PM.
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