Thread: Speculation: CBJ coach next year
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05-09-2012, 07:14 PM
Mayor Bee
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Originally Posted by CapnCornelius View Post
The biggest factor, MB?!

I don't know that I buy this for a minute. If you look at who has won the Cup over the last couple decades, talent plays a crucial part. Did the Rangers win because Mike Keenan was a motivational genius, or because Mark Messier was one of the greatest players of his era? Is Dan Bylsma the next Scotty Bowman or just marginally more competent than his predecessor in picking an appropriate system for two of the great current superstars in the league?

If you were going to ask me to boil down to just one factor what seperates the contenders from the pretenders, it wouldn't be coaching, it'd be chemistry. Something our current GM has never seemed to grasp. Which isn't to so that Arniel wasn't a poor choice who negatively effected our ability to compete. Just saying that Arniel's impact was marginal.
Yes, the biggest factor in a coach continuously winning games has to do with what I said. Messier gets all the credit for the Rangers winning in 1994, which overlooks the fact that they won the Presidents' Trophy in 1991-92 and lost in the second round, then missed the playoffs entirely in 1992-93. Remember? Messier led a revolt against Roger Neilson. And it's not like the Rangers just strutted to a Cup in 1993-94 either; they had two 7-game bloodbaths against New Jersey and Vancouver.

The better question is exactly what impact a head coach has in hockey. I started a couple seasons ago trying to figure out if Bill James' methodology for beating or falling short of expectations (with baseball managers) could be applied to hockey. It's the type of thing I could finish with a good dedicated weekend, and haven't done yet. If winning and losing was merely a function of talent, or mostly a function of talent, then we would expect to see overall performances basically the same from one coach to the next. But that's not the case.

Even in baseball, where the manager arguably has the least impact, there are those managers who consistently have success and those who consistently fall short. Whether they get over the hump and win a championship obviously has something to do with the talent available, but the ability to put that talent together into something and push it is what separates the greats from the average.

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