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02-01-2011, 08:24 AM
  #85
Sturminator
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
Luckily then when you have Coffey's speed, transition ability and long pass ability, you generally aren't in your zone much.

Coffey was no where near as bad defensively as people make him out to be. Not to say he was outstanding (and being in the company he is in this draft so far makes it stand out a bit more) but seriously he gets beat on these boards pretty unfairly by a crowd, the majority of which, never even saw him in his prime.
I think the embarassing end of Coffey's career is the biggest reason for this strange perception of him. Articles like this one are much better remembered by most posters around here than the glowing stuff that was printed about Coffey during his prime. I mean...look at this:

Quote:
PHILADELPHIA For these reasons: for having a veteran voice in the dressing room, for his four Stanley Cup rings, for having the skating and puckhandlng ability to make the transition from defense to offense, the Flyers acquired defenseman Paul Coffey.

For these reasons: for his unwillingness to take a hit, for the hockey mileage on his 36-year-old body, for his minus-2 in Game 1 and minus-3 in last night's Game 2 of these Stanley Cup Finals, Detroit coach xxxxxxxxxxx all but drove Coffey to the airport in his eagerness to trade him out of town.
Ouch. At it's true: the latter part of Coffey's career was pretty disgraceful, and he was often an ugly player once he lost his wheels. Because he gambled so much, Coffey's recovery speed was a big part of his game. Once that went, he really should have hung 'em up. If Paul had retired after his years in Detroit, I think his reputation around here would be a lot better.

I definitely agree that Coffey needs the right kind of team around him, though. You do need to tweak your style a bit to accomodate what Coffey does best, and maybe that was the problem his ATD teams had in the smaller era when he was always a team's second pick, rather than its first. Here is a good article from 1987 about the Coffey trade to Pittsburgh that shows not only how highly Coffey was thought of, but also the problems he had in integrating with teams that weren't built for his style.

Quote:
Clearly it was the biggest deal since the original six-team NHL expanded to 12 clubs in 1967. Former St. Louis, Montreal and Buffalo coach Scotty Bowman, now a TV color commentator for Hockey Night in Canada, thinks Johnston got the better of Edmonton general manager-coach Glen Sather, comparing Coffey-Lemieux to the Bobby Orr-Phil Esposito tandem that led the Boston Bruins to two Stanley Cups in the early '70s. Calgary general manager Cliff Fletcher, obviously delighted to see Coffey out of his division, says, "There are three impact players in this league, and now Pittsburgh has two of them."

...

When the first-place New York Islanders came to town last Wednesday, however, the Penguins were brought back down to the ice. The Isles, a franchise that does not take shortcuts to success, drubbed them 7-1. Coffey, who has been paired with Finnish defenseman Ville Siren, was minus-5 on the night and looked lost. Not terrible, mind you, lost. He tried to the point of trying too hard. Time after time he passed to a teammate, broke into the open—and received no pass in return. "The give-and-gos were always there in Edmonton," he lamented afterward. Time after time Coffey was caught upice, out of position, with no one covering his rear.

"He's going to have to learn our personnel," said [coach_xxx]. "Which of our players will make that play to him and which won't. And our guys are going to have to learn to look for him more in the neutral zone. We're not used to him yet."
I think that piece puts Coffey's greatness, and the difficulty in accomodating that greatness, pretty well in perspective. Fletcher's quote that Coffey is one of only three impact players in the league (the other two obviously being Gretzky and Lemieux) and then the end of the article about his difficulties in integrating with a terrible Pittsburg team...it all lines up.


Last edited by Sturminator: 02-01-2011 at 08:46 AM.
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