Today's Hockey Day festivities in Minnesota brought to mind a segment on Herb Brooks and his legacy during NBC's broadcast. And I wondered.... why is it that for all of Brooks' success at the Univ. of Minnesota and Olympics, he could only manage disappointing records at the NHL level. I'm sure there are numerous reasons for this. But if you had to sum it up, was it primarily a case of Brooks' Xs and Os strategy that failed, or was it more a case of his motivational approach not working with older, more jaded professionals.
He did a pretty decent job with the only team I saw him with, the 1999-2000 Pens, made the playoffs and upset a 100+point team in the Caps and then played another 100+point team in the Flyers tough in their second round loss. That Pens team had a really bad group of defensemen and journeymen goalies, had a great season from Jagr and a solid but not yet great 2nd line of Kovalev-Lang-Straka (this was the year right before all 3 really clicked and were superb the next year) and nothing else of note. Brooks came aboard that season after Keven Constantine was fired at 8-14-3 record and with Brooks were 29-23-5, so Brooks did a pretty good job getting this team to 2nd round of playoffs.
Can't speak for his previous stuff since I wasn't watching the NHL in the earlier 80's.
I was never sure his style of coaching translated well into the pros. He got lots of shots at it, and I think much of it had to do with 1980. I mean, he was the US coach in 2002. People loved that guy
I think this is a major part. His biggest success was with the Rangers where he had players from the 80 Olympic team who already bought into his system and set an example. I think that a lot of veterans just didn't want to have to work as hard as Brooks made people work.
Regarding Brooks' tenure as the Minnesota North Stars coach in 1987-88:
To be fair, Brooks inherited a talented but troubled team that had already gone through several coaching changes. North Stars' owners George and Gordon Gund hired him and just expected him to bring his miracle magic to Minnesota with the snap of a finger. When things went bad for the Stars early in the season, Brooks' relationship with the Gunds soured greatly. It didn't help when Brooks' buddy Lou Nanne resigned as GM in January 1988. The Gunds later claimed Brooks gave them an ultimatum saying he would quit after one season if he was not named Nanne's successor as GM. Brooks denied having done this, claiming he only inquired about the job.
At the end of the season, the Gunds ended up hiring Jack Ferreira as the North Stars new GM. Brooks was initially dismissed as head coach, but Ferreira considered rehiring him. After a couple of weeks, he opted not to and instead chose Pierre Page. Many in the press believed that Ferreira wanted to keep Brooks on as coach but the Gunds wouldn't let him. Ferreira denied this and claimed that he felt keeping Brooks around after all the conflict and controversy would have undermined any effort to rebuild.
In short, Brooks wasn't given much of an opportunity in Minnesota; only one season. He was still held in high regard with the players, but the fact that he was on bad terms with the owners spelled the end for him. To this day, Lou Nanne feels he would have been a great coach for the North Stars had he been able to stay for more than one dismal season.
University and pro are not the same. Success in one does not mean success in the other. International hockey can be included in that as well.
being good in the minor leagues does not mean one will be good in the professional leagues. Being handed the best players in your country in international hockey is not the same as getting the best out your league roster. I should think this is obvious as examples abound in all sports.
Just because the guy was a hero once doesn't mean it was a fluke or that he was some kind of genius.
The US has always done well on NA ice, occasionally winning it all. They suck big time on Euro ice which may give the impression that a win is more special than it really is when it happens on NA ice.
University and pro are not the same. Success in one does not mean success in the other.
Tom Watt could probably attest to that. After much success as the coach of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, he was unable to find similar success in the NHL, although he did win the Jack Adams trophy once.