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Scott Gordon and Halle Berry (…No Connection)

 

So, I’m sure I’m not alone in periodically liking (or disliking) something for reasons that are unbeknownst to even myself.  When the Islanders hired Scott Gordon, a guy I’d never heard of, I liked it, but wasn’t sure why.  Let me try to explain it to myself:

Part owner of a "waste management" company in Jersey?

Some owners hire coaches to give their fans the impression they hired a good coach.  You know, a guy with a name, something that won’t cause a huge negative ruckus.  This means you end up recycling coaches based on fame, not success, and before you know it, Mike Keenan is running your franchise.

I’d love to see more coaches with lower level success work their way up the ladder.  Mike Babcock didn’t get the Red Wings job based on his days as a player, he got it cause he won with every damn team he coached.  I think the game today is well-suited for a young coach who understands the more free-wheeling NHL (hint: defense-first is still your focus), and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the hiring trend in this direction continue (again, St. Louis hiring Davis Payne was exceptional – he’s doesn’t have Babcock’s NHL success yet, but I believe he’s got the same ability).

So good for teams that hire Davis Paynes and Scott Gordons – if Tampa Bay would do the same, they’d find out real fast what sort of team they’re actually dealing with.

Islanders are in a playoff spot in the middle of January, Rick DiPietro just got a shutout, and a 19 year old is leading the team in scoring.  And the Red Wings are currently in 9th in the West.  AND THE COYOTES ARE TIED FOR HOME ICE ADVANTAGE AT FOURTH.  I’m dizzy.  I need to sit down.

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I doubt many of you watch much ECHL hockey.  So far this year, I’ve watched zero minutes and no seconds, so I know where you’re coming from.

Well, the Victoria Salmon Kings (real name) scored a goal so ridiculous it ran on ESPN SportCenter yesterday.  Yeah, it’s that good.

The goal made me think two things – one, that at that level, there are a few kids that are going to be legit NHL studs mixed in with a few who’re going to be legit rec league duds (though not many, you’d be surprised at the quality).  What that means is, occasionally, someone gets burned so bad they should be forced to take their gear off and quit.  If that were the case, the Islanders Andrew Macdonald would’ve put entire teams into retirement during his months in Utah.

Secondly, it made me shudder at the sound of their goal song.  I was twice on teams that eliminated Victoria from playoffs, but when you’re on the wrong end of a game there, and that crowd gets fired up, it’s real easy to post a plus/minus that looks like Tiger got hot at The Masters. 

Oh, minus five, good hustle Bourne.

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Really, Dwayne Johnson… “The Tooth Fairy”?  I guess we can finally start calling him “The Rock Bottom”.

Goddamn.

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I watched the Golden (Halle Berry’s) Globes on Sunday night, and thought it might be worth mentioning that I, like pretty much everyone else, love me some Ricky Gervais.  That guy is money.  Also, Halle Berry continues to defy human aging laws.  ———->

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Puck Daddy wrote an interesting bit on Mike Richards battle with the media.  The guy is the perfect captain for that team o’ douches. 

Here’s what sucks about how fun it is hating them: if they can get some GD goaltending (I feel like I’ve written that before), wouldn’t you not want your highly rated team to play them in the first round of playoffs?  If I’m Buffalo or New Jersey, I’m praying the Isles or Panthers sneak in.  I’d be interested to see the betting lines on them come playoffs, they might make for a sneaky round one money-maker.

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That’s all for today!  Sorry no Monday post – I was super busy watching FIVE STRAIGHT HOURS of Dexter with Bri. 

Best. Coach. Ever.

 

Did I over-PC my blog?  I think I may have.  Lord knows I’ve been tap-dancing around issues lately, and that’s no fun.  So let’s collectively loosen up.

Let’s start with an unedited fuck you to Jose Theodore, who is apparently unaware that he’s my fantasy goalie, and so posted a 26.09 GAA with a .400 save percentage last night with no regard for my fantasy team.  Thanks.  That’ll be really easy to bounce back from with CAREY FUCKING PRICE as my other goaltender.

Sorry about the language.

Moving on.

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From the SPHL, here’s the type of person that made hockey so quittable for me:

 ’

Keep in mind that unless your coach has a YouTube worthy meltdown to get him fired, sometimes you’re just stuck with a dumbass for a coach.  On that train of thought, let’s put a positive spin on it…

The Best Coach I Ever Had

Still a taaad manipulative, but good at his job.

Still a tad manipulative, but good at his job.

The best coach I ever had was my coach for less than two months, Davis Payne.

After my senior year of college, I had a few classes to wrap up, so I wasn’t able to go anywhere to start playing professionally.  Fortunately for me, Davis gave me the chance to join the Alaska Aces and at least get my feet wet playing in the ECHL playoffs, since I was there anyways.  They let me miss games when I had tests to take, and took me on the road when I was able to go.  I felt like Mario goddamn Lemieux. “No, I’ll just play games, thanks”.

Certainly that doesn’t qualify him as a good coach though… this does:

We were prepared with Davis.  X’s and O’s-wise, I mean.

“Old school coaches” that GM’s and owners love to hire (“nobody’s slackin’ on our team!”) beat up the same tired mantra.  It’s about hard work.

Gotta be ready from the drop of the puck!  Finish checks!  Out-work ‘em down low!  Gogogo!  …Oh we lost?  We got outworked.  See you at practice tomorrow.

Davis would still preach hard work, but he prepares his teams too.  Before each game, the whiteboard was JAMMED with information.  Those crib notes included our opponents most used breakouts, their powerplay breakouts, powerplay setups, who to “key on” (who’s the most frequent PP shooter, stay in his lane), what their penalty kill setup is, goalie’s weakness etc.  Then, the list of all of our info… same stuff, other side.

He had it up as soon as we walked in the room, so guys could grab a coffee and study up before he came in and went over it all.

Between periods, he made adjustments.  “They switched from a box plus-one on the powerplay to an umbrella, here’s our counter-adjustment…”

And we had the confidence of absolutely knowing we were more prepared than our opponent, especially in the ECHL (the year before that season they won the Kelly Cup, and that year we went to the conference finals).  And having played for three other coaches in the ECHL, I can tell you that we were way, way (way), more prepared on that team than any other team I’ve been on since.

And so you work hard, but you don’t waste energy.  You’re in the right spots.

On that team, I never felt like I came to feel in the following seasons, like I was chasing the puck around like a cat after a laser pointer.  Ohthereitgoes!  Thereitisagain!  CrapIcan’tgetit.

Which is why I believe the style of coach needed in the NHL has changed, but some teams haven’t realized it yet.  Mike Kennan?  Gimme a break. 

If you think Mike Babcock has had so much success just because of Datsyuk and Zetterberg, you’re nuts (don’t forget he had, ahem, Chris Osgood in net).  Plenty of coaches have stars to work with.  “The wings dig up amazing talent” isn’t an infrequent comment.  My contention is that maybe they do, but also, maybe they just put them in the best situations to be successful, they way Bill Belichick makes good players great in New England.  No, no, it was that Matt Cassel has a rocket arm.  Was it?

So there ya have it.  Cheers to the Davis Payne’s of the world.

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Davis is now the Head Coach of the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen, and in my opinion, a likely candidate for Andy Murray’s job next year.

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In the eight playoff games they chucked me in, I think I had 3 and 2 for 5, but was semi-retarded the first few times I attempted his “layering” d-zone theory.  I was used to my college “cover their D” job as a winger, better known as “don’t let Alex Goligoski get the puck”, or the ”don’t ever let Matt Carle shoot” theory. 

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