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Any relation between playing success and coaching success?

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06-08-2013, 06:04 PM
  #1
gudzilla
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Any relation between playing success and coaching success?

I and a friend was discussing how there's barely any stars coaching in the NHL.

Ones I noticed that was playing a long time in the NHL:

Kirk Muller
Joel Quenneville
Patrick Roy
Kevin Dineen
Darryl Sutter
Paul MacLean
Dave Tippett
Adam Oates
Randy Carlyle

Scotty Bowman didn't play in the NHL aswell.

Is there a reason why there's so many good coaches that haven't played the game?

What role did the coaches have traditionally in their playing time? I know that Kevin Dineen played on all lines during his career, but what about others?

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06-08-2013, 07:36 PM
  #2
Mayor Bee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by florida pwnthers View Post
I and a friend was discussing how there's barely any stars coaching in the NHL.

Ones I noticed that was playing a long time in the NHL:

Kirk Muller
Joel Quenneville
Patrick Roy
Kevin Dineen
Darryl Sutter
Paul MacLean
Dave Tippett
Adam Oates
Randy Carlyle

Scotty Bowman didn't play in the NHL aswell.

Is there a reason why there's so many good coaches that haven't played the game?

What role did the coaches have traditionally in their playing time? I know that Kevin Dineen played on all lines during his career, but what about others?
The old saying is "Those who can, play. Those who can't, coach."

Generally speaking, there tends to be an inverse relationship between quality of player and quality of coach. Although it is a sweeping generalization based primarily on observational and anecdotal evidence (which I loathe)....

The general reason is that players who make it to the highest level and star are blessed with a substantial amount of talent. It tends to be more difficult to accept less-talented players, and draw the conclusion that "I wasn't that talented, but it was hard work that made me a star. Therefore, the only thing preventing Player X from being a star is in his own head." Coaches were who excellent players may be less concerned about the details of what takes place to make a player better, because their talent didn't force them to focus on the details. And there may be issues dealing with players of various personalities, particularly those who are opposite personalities from the ex-player/coach.

The most successful coaches fit a specific profile. They are detail-oriented to the nth degree while vacillating between a Type A and Type B personality. They are demanding without being overbearing (Tortorella, Keenan, etc), but without being run over. They can get close enough to their players to know exactly how to push buttons, but maintain enough of a distance where "the tough decisions" can be made without causing locker room unrest. It's the very rare coach who deviates from that personality and yet still has success, and even then I'd argue that the outliers were closer to what I said than most would think. In the NFL, Vince Lombardi was said to treat "all his players equally: like dogs", but this was in an era where inequality still was very real around the league. And in MLB, Earl Weaver kept his distance from his players to an extreme, but was more detail-oriented than anyone else and drew credibility from his "crazy ideas" being successful.

I'm rambling now, and am not using empirical evidence. But I stand by it.

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06-08-2013, 08:21 PM
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I've added on to your list the general roles

Quote:
Originally Posted by florida pwnthers View Post
Kirk Muller Top six two-way center/winger for the majority of his career.
Joel Quenneville Mediocre defenseman
Patrick Roy HHOF; Top three goaltender of all-time.
Kevin Dineen Top-six scoring winger for much of his career. Good all-around play.
Darryl Sutter Mediocre winger; had good first season and challenged for the Calder before disappearing and retiring 400 games later.
Paul MacLean Top-six scoring winger for most of his career. Defensive liability with no physical game.
Dave Tippett Bottom-six winger
Adam Oates HHOF; Elite center, arguably the best playmaker ever after Gretzky. Elite faceoff man and good defensively; capable of scoring goals if forced into the role but generally preferred (and was better at) the playmaker role.
Randy Carlyle Norris winner, offensive defenseman; saw a steep decline in performance after he was traded from Pittsburgh to Winnipeg.

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06-08-2013, 08:50 PM
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gudzilla
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thanks for boths input. when i wake up tomorrow and is less tired than i am, im going to go through the jack adams winners and see if there's any trend

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06-08-2013, 09:08 PM
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Killion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by florida pwnthers View Post
... im going to go through the jack adams winners and see if there's any trend
The only trend youll find is that most winners of the Adams were fired after winning it.

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06-08-2013, 09:43 PM
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Canadiens1958
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NHL Coaching

Growing trend amongst former NHL star players is involvement at the youth, junior or university levels as coaches and/or management or ownership.

They have had their fill of NHL travel and prefer the stability of family life while controlling their own destiny.

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06-09-2013, 06:19 AM
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How is Kjell Samuelsson doing btw?

Ulf is the coach of Modo for the time being. Markus Näslund is GM. Håkan Loob is president of FBK.

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06-09-2013, 08:30 AM
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reckoning
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I don't think there's any validity to this perception that a great player is more unlikely to be a great coach than an average player. It's just that there are far more ex-average players than ex-star players, so obviously there's going to be more non-stars than stars among Cup winning or Adams-winning coaches. I doubt the success rate is any different proportionally between the two groups. Obviously, Wayne Gretzky struggling to have any success as head coach will be remembered more than Nick Polano doing the same.

Also, I think an earlier post was somewhat dismissive towards a few of those coaches NHL career. Quennville was one of the better defensive defencemen in the league, while Tippett was a solid checking forward and penalty killer who I felt deserved more Selke consideration than he got. But playing dependable yet quiet roles in a market like Hartford won't get much recognition. Darryl Sutter was better than mediocre, but was plagued by a seemingly endless list of injuries that ultimately cut his career short.

Scotty Bowman had to stop playing after suffering a fractured skull. Can anyone tell me how good his chances of making the NHL were before that injury?

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06-09-2013, 08:56 AM
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A trend may be that most stars who become coaches rarely coach in the minors to actually learn HOW to coach. They are just handed the position on a silver platter. Might be worthy of some research.

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06-09-2013, 08:56 AM
  #10
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Dan Bylsma was a ****** fourth liner and a ****** coach.

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06-09-2013, 11:23 AM
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Mayor Bee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
I don't think there's any validity to this perception that a great player is more unlikely to be a great coach than an average player. It's just that there are far more ex-average players than ex-star players, so obviously there's going to be more non-stars than stars among Cup winning or Adams-winning coaches. I doubt the success rate is any different proportionally between the two groups. Obviously, Wayne Gretzky struggling to have any success as head coach will be remembered more than Nick Polano doing the same.
This is also possible. I think the difference is that, because a star player may have a bigger name, he's more likely to be shuttled right to the top (without a background). And if he fails, he's much more likely to rebound quickly and end up with another organization; they'll enter the carousel and never get off of it. Look at someone like Al Sims, who was extremely highly-regarded in the IHL and as an assistant in the NHL; he got one shot for one season in the NHL in 1996 and has been at the bottom ever since. Or Dave Allison, who had 25 games in the NHL (1995-96) and hasn't been back up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
A trend may be that most stars who become coaches rarely coach in the minors to actually learn HOW to coach. They are just handed the position on a silver platter. Might be worthy of some research.
This was certainly the case in baseball during their big transition phase (1920-1941). As the player-manager began to fade and be replaced by actual full-time managers, it tended to be that the best players became the managers. Perhaps this is because the best players tended to be player-managers before that, or maybe it was simply a case of name recognition. Or maybe it was because a baseball manager's duties at the time were much more developmental than strategic, and the thinking was that a great player would be able to develop young players under his charge.

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06-09-2013, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
This is also possible. I think the difference is that, because a star player may have a bigger name, he's more likely to be shuttled right to the top (without a background). And if he fails, he's much more likely to rebound quickly and end up with another organization; they'll enter the carousel and never get off of it. Look at someone like Al Sims, who was extremely highly-regarded in the IHL and as an assistant in the NHL; he got one shot for one season in the NHL in 1996 and has been at the bottom ever since. Or Dave Allison, who had 25 games in the NHL (1995-96) and hasn't been back up.



This was certainly the case in baseball during their big transition phase (1920-1941). As the player-manager began to fade and be replaced by actual full-time managers, it tended to be that the best players became the managers. Perhaps this is because the best players tended to be player-managers before that, or maybe it was simply a case of name recognition. Or maybe it was because a baseball manager's duties at the time were much more developmental than strategic, and the thinking was that a great player would be able to develop young players under his charge.
Allison was a **** coach tho... I dont think I heard one Ottawa player ever saying anything positive about him. Some coaches are simply minor league coaches. I dont know much about Al Sims except that he took over in San Jose during their worst season ever. Tho he seems to be constantly moving down a step since then and is currently an ECHL coach.

Which star player coaches are getting second chances? Only one I can think of is Larry Robinson but hes got a decent coaching record.

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06-09-2013, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
Scotty Bowman had to stop playing after suffering a fractured skull. Can anyone tell me how good his chances of making the NHL were before that injury?
Hockeydb only has one year of stats for him - not his senior year, and they're mediocre. I've heard some unspecified good things about his chances, but he always downplays them and insists he wouldn't have made it. Of course, I'm sure the most accomplished coach in history doesn't want to go around whining that he should have done more, so take that for what it's worth.

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06-09-2013, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Engine View Post
Hockeydb only has one year of stats for him - not his senior year, and they're mediocre. I've heard some unspecified good things about his chances, but he always downplays them and insists he wouldn't have made it. Of course, I'm sure the most accomplished coach in history doesn't want to go around whining that he should have done more, so take that for what it's worth.
Im not sure if Hockeydb is entirely correct there. His "Spotlight" in the HHOF tells a different & more complete story of his Junior career, indicating he was a solid checking Left Winger with the Junior Canadiens, and thats none too shabby as you had to have had some serious talent to have made that club at that time, through the 50's etc. Took a stick in the head from Jean-Guy Talbot of the Trois Rivieres Reds which pretty much wiped him out, 5" gash & stitches, returning to the ice with headaches & blurred vision through the rest of the Playoffs of his first full & final season with the Jr Habs in 1952. Thereafter he played 2 more seasons for the Montreal Royals however he said that his confidence had been badly shaken as a result of the hit, and that he was never the same player again. Whether or not he'd have made it to the NHL or not we'll never know, but theres a better than good chance he might have or at minimum played professionally.

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06-09-2013, 10:37 PM
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It's really just the law of averages. Not very many coaches have great success, even a smaller number of those coaches were great players. Not to mention that great players tend to get handed the keys with little to no coaching experience, while the lesser know coaches have to earn the job based on merit.

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06-09-2013, 11:42 PM
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It's really just the law of averages. Not very many coaches have great success, even a smaller number of those coaches were great players. Not to mention that great players tend to get handed the keys with little to no coaching experience, while the lesser know coaches have to earn the job based on merit.
I was just going to say something like this.

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06-10-2013, 10:42 AM
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Part of the equation here is that people tend to wrongly equate a coach's job with "telling the players how to beat the other team".

Coaches have to see the ENTIRE picture of what goes into a successful hockey season. They supervise a team of assistant coaches and trainers in order to draw up training regimens, travel schedules, scouting priorities, practice routines, public appearances, media relations, photo shoots, All Star Games, international participation, and all the other necessary preparation and unnecessary distractions that lead up to game performance. They have to interact effectively with both Larry Brooks and Stephen Walkom -- and a mistake with either of those results in a cascade of other problems. They have to give clinics, make public speeches, counsel 18-year-olds on how to handle heckling fans and counsel 40-year-olds on how to handle divorce. Very few people alive can handle the job at a professional level.

To know whether someone can handle it, you have to see him do it. There is no other way. Being able to play elite hockey is not a relevant qualification, except insofar as the player might have absorbed some insight from his own coaches. So there is naturally not going to be a lot of correlation between NHL-level playing success and NHL-level coaching success, any more than there is correlation between being able to build cars and being able to run a car company.

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06-10-2013, 11:08 AM
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A few years ago I saw an interview with a former player turned coach and this was his observation

1) Third and fourth liners tend to make better coaches because they have to work at the game harder. The better players, who have "god gift talent" tend to have things come easier to them and 3rd and 4th liners need to work at the game 24/7
2) Role players need to work on the politics in the dressing room and finding a balance. The go to guys do not need to bend, the team bends to them.
3) Ego. He said you will have horrible days as a coach and some star players have difficulty when they get singled out and blamed.

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06-10-2013, 11:40 AM
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Sentinel
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I'd say the best player / coach combo was Larry Robinson.

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06-10-2013, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
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I'd say the best player / coach combo was Larry Robinson.
Or Jacques Lemaire. And Robinson was kind of his coaching protege. To my knowledge, they are the only modern players, in any of the big 4 sports to have coached a team to a championship and are in the hall of fame.

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06-10-2013, 03:48 PM
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Or Jacques Lemaire. And Robinson was kind of his coaching protege. To my knowledge, they are the only modern players, in any of the big 4 sports to have coached a team to a championship and are in the hall of fame.
Don't know what you consider modern, but Toe Blake easily tops this list. A coaching career that rivals Bowman and Arbour, a playing career that's up there in the Kurri/Fedorov range in the bottom half of the top 100.

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06-12-2013, 04:06 PM
  #22
Big Phil
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Is it because the great players had things that came easier to them and the bottom line is you simply can't teach a player to score goals? You would never think that Gretzky would fail as a head coach but he isn't alone in this when it comes to great players. Geoffrion, Lindsay, Richard were the same way. For whatever reason Gerry Cheevers did fine behind the Bruins bench, leading them to the best record in the NHL in 1983.

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