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06-22-2013, 09:16 AM
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Over the last 10 days or so I've spent a lot of car time listening to NHL radio on XM. Almost every guest (GMs, writers, players, front office people, etc) was asked about AV and how he would fit with the Rangers. Without exception they all used the adjectives to describe him: professional, accomplished, competent, able. Those were the qualities that came across during yesterday's conference.

If you look at the top coaches in the league today particularly the two guys in the Cup finals, you can use the same words to describe them. Every coach in the league is a good tactician or would not have reached this level. Some or a bit better than others, but all are pretty much the same. All handle the bench and in game adjustments well: again some better than others.

My point is this: sometimes I feel that it is the off ice stuff, the group dynamics that a coach creates, that is utmost importance: the stuff that we don't see but can only intuit from watching, listening, and thinking.

At the end, this is what did Torts in. Yes, his strategy and tactics drove us crazy but his strategy and tactics can win in this league. Even his hard ass personality can win in this league: every coaching philosophy and personality can both win and lose. Coaching is very much an art form and in many ways success cannot be quantified. Every tactic and strategy and personality can succeed or fail.

Tort's problem was that he became bigger than the team. Everything revolved around him rather than the players. He became the story. He was like a dictator run amok. Unchecked, he ended up undermining and negatively impacting his own team.

We can complain about our lousy power play, our shot-blocking to a fault, our shackling of our best offensive talent and so on all we want. No matter what Sather says (at times during the presser I thought he was incoherent) about us becoming more offensive minded (something I agree with), I do not believe it was this that did Torts in. Torts saw a team with its strength being in goal and in a young D corps and he ran with it, certainly to a fault.

But it wasn't strategy, philosophy, or tactics that did him in. It was personality.

I don't think we will have this problem with AV. Whether we become an elite team and seriously challenge for the Cup over the next few years cannot be predicted and depends on so many factors (injuries, growth of young players, the rise and fall of other teams, etc), but I don't think that AV's personality and philosophy will be an issue.

He seem like the consummate professional.

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