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International Tournaments Discuss international tournaments such as the World Juniors, Olympic hockey, and Ice Hockey World Championships, as they take place; or discuss past tournaments.

Keith Allain....why?

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Old
10-25-2010, 10:09 PM
  #1
RabidBadger
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Keith Allain....why?

Is it just me or is anyone else uncomfortable having KA named as the man to defend the very sweet gold medal Blais and Co. brought home last year? Don't get me wrong; Allain has done good things at Yale, where prized recruits are are hard to come by. That's no t a knock on the ECAC, I'm saying it's tough to land a guy with hockey skills who can pass Ivy League courses. Then there are the previous underwhelming 5th place finished in his previous stints as WJC coach.

Why not bring back one of our golden boys like Eaves or Blais? Or, Rico Blasi? Rick Comley, Jerry York...it seems like there are better choices out there. someone talk me down on this one.

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10-26-2010, 12:27 AM
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William H Bonney
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I'm sure Dean Blais was offered the opportunity to coach the upcoming squad again if he wanted. It takes up a lot of their time outside of the jobs they're being paid for by their respective universities. Blais led us to gold during his first season at UNO and I'm betting he wanted to focus on the UNO team for a full season. I'm sure Mike Eaves falls under that same category in that he paid his dues to Team USA, won it, and wants to focus on Wisconsin.

And yes, while they finished 5th in '01 and '02 under Allain at the WJC their overall record under him is 9-3-2. It's not like that hurt Blais, who had a 6th place finish and a 1-5-1 record in his previous WJC experience. The talent is better now and the WJC means more to the American players than it used to.

Enrico Blasi is from Ontario. I don't know if he has American citizenship and probably would never be considered without it.

On the others...no idea. Maybe they've been asked in the past and declined? I know one thing...it's a heck of a lot better than when the WJC team got a NTDP coach for 3 straight years.

Allain has a ton of coaching experience with Team USA. As long as he doesn't have crazy meltdowns a la Ron Rolston or leave a player in to sink the team a la Rolston (Tom McCollum) I'll be ok. Having some continuity from Blais' staff to this one in Mark Osiecki (Ohio St. coach) and Joe Exter (goalie coach from NTDP) should help the transition as well.

USA Hockey typically acts too slowly in making changes but they've finally at least given the WJC the same head start as other nations by mimicking the Canadian model. Having the December camp, increasing the competition among the players, and losing some of the entitlement did wonders last year.

What will be interesting is to see when, or if, Team USA ever goes outside of the NCAA/NTDP/USHL ranks again to pick a coach? A guy like Robbie Ftorek from the Erie Otters (OHL), Kevin Constantine (French league currently), Mike Vellucci from the Plymouth Whalers (OHL), or Todd Watson from the Saginaw Spirit (OHL) could be likely candidates if they did.

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Last edited by William H Bonney: 10-26-2010 at 12:34 AM.
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10-26-2010, 09:31 PM
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RabidBadger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William H Bonney View Post
I'm sure Dean Blais was offered the opportunity to coach the upcoming squad again if he wanted. It takes up a lot of their time outside of the jobs they're being paid for by their respective universities. Blais led us to gold during his first season at UNO and I'm betting he wanted to focus on the UNO team for a full season. I'm sure Mike Eaves falls under that same category in that he paid his dues to Team USA, won it, and wants to focus on Wisconsin.

And yes, while they finished 5th in '01 and '02 under Allain at the WJC their overall record under him is 9-3-2. It's not like that hurt Blais, who had a 6th place finish and a 1-5-1 record in his previous WJC experience. The talent is better now and the WJC means more to the American players than it used to.

Enrico Blasi is from Ontario. I don't know if he has American citizenship and probably would never be considered without it.

On the others...no idea. Maybe they've been asked in the past and declined? I know one thing...it's a heck of a lot better than when the WJC team got a NTDP coach for 3 straight years.

Allain has a ton of coaching experience with Team USA. As long as he doesn't have crazy meltdowns a la Ron Rolston or leave a player in to sink the team a la Rolston (Tom McCollum) I'll be ok. Having some continuity from Blais' staff to this one in Mark Osiecki (Ohio St. coach) and Joe Exter (goalie coach from NTDP) should help the transition as well.

USA Hockey typically acts too slowly in making changes but they've finally at least given the WJC the same head start as other nations by mimicking the Canadian model. Having the December camp, increasing the competition among the players, and losing some of the entitlement did wonders last year.

What will be interesting is to see when, or if, Team USA ever goes outside of the NCAA/NTDP/USHL ranks again to pick a coach? A guy like Robbie Ftorek from the Erie Otters (OHL), Kevin Constantine (French league currently), Mike Vellucci from the Plymouth Whalers (OHL), or Todd Watson from the Saginaw Spirit (OHL) could be likely candidates if they did.
I appreciate the well thought answer, senor Bonnie. Good call on Blasi; I oft forget his North-Of-The-Borderness as there is a distinct dearth of Canadian coaches at the NCAA level. I was happy to see Osieki on board again...good things happen where he goes.

I do realize the talent has improved by a significant margin since Allain was at the helm years ago, but, I just have a gut feeling KA is not the guy to defend the gold. After watching Canada have Brent Sutter back multiple years I'm wondering why Team USA can't do the same. You are correct in the sense it could be worse...I've been far more disgruntled than this at some of the previous selections for head coach.

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10-26-2010, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RabidBadger View Post
I appreciate the well thought answer, senor Bonnie. Good call on Blasi; I oft forget his North-Of-The-Borderness as there is a distinct dearth of Canadian coaches at the NCAA level. I was happy to see Osieki on board again...good things happen where he goes.

I do realize the talent has improved by a significant margin since Allain was at the helm years ago, but, I just have a gut feeling KA is not the guy to defend the gold. After watching Canada have Brent Sutter back multiple years I'm wondering why Team USA can't do the same. You are correct in the sense it could be worse...I've been far more disgruntled than this at some of the previous selections for head coach.
Without knowing what goes on behind the scenes I don't think you can put the onus on USA Hockey here. As suggested, Blais was probably offered the job and he declined.

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10-27-2010, 12:52 AM
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William H Bonney
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RabidBadger View Post
I do realize the talent has improved by a significant margin since Allain was at the helm years ago, but, I just have a gut feeling KA is not the guy to defend the gold. After watching Canada have Brent Sutter back multiple years I'm wondering why Team USA can't do the same. You are correct in the sense it could be worse...I've been far more disgruntled than this at some of the previous selections for head coach.
I really don't know much about Allain other than what I've read which generally seems to be all positive. It's not easy for me to follow Yale hockey and with the lack of big time prospects I'd prefer to follow other teams. I'll reserve my judgment until I see a few games at this year's tournament and especially at the first sign of adversity. The latter is where Ron Rolston proved to be inept for the role. When Team USA went up on Canada 3-0 two years ago, Rolston watched the momentum and lead go away and didn't try to do anything about it. Instead of acting calm, calling a timeout and focusing his team, he lost his cool, started going off on the refs and his young players followed suit; it was embarrassing. Also, during that entire tournament when Tom McCollum was ******** the bed and taking the entire team down with him, Rolston did nothing about it. If he didn't have confidence in Josh Unice he shouldn't have picked him and even then, you might as well have tried Unice since it wasn't really possible to do much worse than McCollum was in that tournament. Predictably, Rolston waited until the tournament was effectively over (upset loss to Slovakia in the quarters) to go to Unice.

That was the great thing about Blais last year (other than his superior coaching ability and the change in the selection process) is that he knew when to cut his losses. Mike Lee was his guy. He'd recruited him to Fargo of the USHL out of Minnesota and they went to the finals together. When Mike Lee was potentially costing us the Gold Medal in the beginning of the game, Blais yanked him. If Allain takes that same approach, I'll be happy.

The reasons (IMO) that we can't get the same coach to come back all the time is the following: 1) the tournament means more to Canada than every other country combined and then some. 2) I don't think the NCAA programs are overly cooperative on losing their coaches. They play less games and every game counts that much more. 3) The Team Canada position is a high profile job that can be used as a stepping stone to better job opportunities. The USA one is not.

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11-27-2010, 05:19 PM
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hi Nancy, welcome aboard....

as for the coaching situation, I agree with feeling a little weary with Allain, but it is certainly better then previous Rolston years. I would prefer Jeff Jackson to lead this squad, because I think he is a tremendous coach and would do wonders with this squad.

I like seeing us expand to ex pros and CHL coaches as well. A perfect coach would be Tony Granato. I have no idea why he wasnt involved with this team last year, but he would be a nice fit as an assistant coach.

I believe we had a coach from Everett of the WHL last year, so we are starting to expand a bit, but there are others out there that we should be bringing in more often to help out : Granato, Ftorek, Scott Gordon now available, plus getting recommits from Eaves, Jackson, Blais, etc...

US Hockey is not at a shortage of good coaches, and the more this team starts winning, the more attention and talent we will be able to bring in...

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