If there was anything I disagreed with about Neil Corbett’s solid post yesterday on why the 1-3-1 is bad for the NHL, it’s the individual factor.

He’s right that it’s probably not great for the product itself (NHL hockey), but I can’t help but think: if you’re any of the individuals that make up the Tampa Bay organization, do you care?

Maybe I’m selfish (okay, not “maybe”), but I know I’d try to make hay while the sun shines.

How nice is that suit, by the way?

If I got called up to the NHL and my coach said “here’s the system, here’s where you stand,” lord knows I’m not concerned about that system being exciting enough for the fans. If I’m an established player who’s seen that system work where others have failed, I’d choose to win.

And, if I’m Guy Boucher, I know I’m disposable. I know that the only thing that matters in my line of work are “W’s,” so if I can find a way to get them, I’ll cash these cheques for as long as they’ll keep me. Hey, people do some awful things for money – boring some fans wouldn’t weigh too heavily on my conscience, no matter how much I pulled down the overall quality of the League that makes those cheques possible.

What really got me thinking about that point was a post from Damian Cristodero of Tampabay.com, who talked with the trap-master himself, Jacques Lemaire about Guy Boucher and the 1-3-1.

As the title of this post says, he cares not for the criticisms.

“I laugh at it this because are we supposed to coach as we please the people who are announcing the games or make comments on the games? Is that a new style or what? Do we have to please Milbury when we coach?

Oh yeah, Mike Milbury was one of the guys railing against the system. I love that line by Lemaire.

More from Lemaire:

“What’s the coach’s job? It’s to find a way to win, find a way to look at your personnel and find a way to win. You adapt to the players you have and try to maximize all your strengths and try to find a way that players will be comfortable.”

And that’s what got me thinking what I wrote above. I know where my priorities would be if I were standing behind the bench, selfish or not: win, win, win, win.

He continues:

“I think (Boucher) has to coach the way he feels is going to win games, and that’s it. The rest, you want to play a certain style that maybe doesn’t fit your team and lose and then in a month you’re looking for a job? What’s that?”

What strikes me here are two things: 1) the urgency NHL coaches feel to win now or bust must be draining. I mean, if you lose enough games in a row in the middle of any season you can get the axe (well, save for a few Mike Babcock-like guys). That has to weigh on you.

2) If you click the link and read his other quotes, he seems personally offended by the criticisms. Cristodero says “It should be pointed out that Lemaire and Boucher are friends.” And you can feel that in his comments – he basically takes shots at the media for having the audacity to question those good enough to get wins.

(Hat-tip to Michael Keaveney for the link)

Comments (4)

  1. I would add that Lightning fans also care not about the criticisms against Boucher in particular and the Lightning in general.

    We Lightning fans support Guy Boucher and are behind him and the rest of the team 100%. The attendance tells the tale. The 1-3-1 has been used in Tampa for over a full season now and the numbers are up up up. What fans of other teams think, well that’s not our problem or Guy Boucher’s either. Don’t change a thing Guy!

  2. Exactly, Lemaire is the poster child. He got so much out of those Wild teams with no talent outside of Gaborik its unbelievable. Because he taught them, do your job and we will win more often than not. You didn’t here one complaint in Minnesota about until the Wild stopped winning.

  3. Well, I don’t care for Lemaire!

    Hated his Devils teams in the 90′s – I still remember them beating a stacked Penguins team in the 1995 playoffs. Clutch and grab every time Jagr or Lemieux entered the zone. Didn’t care for his Wild teams either, I don’t care if they overachieved, they were never exciting to watch.

    I don’t like the 1-3-1 either. I mean, I guess I can’t blame the Lightning for running it against the Flyers, especially with some of their top D injured. But it’s still boring as shit to watch. Why should I pay money to watch them? It’s bad for the game. And I’m tired of people saying “Where were the complainers when the Lightning were running the trap last playoffs?” Well, you know what, I was complaining then too!

    I think the best solution, as has been suggested some places, is to not call icing on the team with the puck if the Defense does not forecheck.

  4. Great article, totally agree. Lemaire made some nice points. Coaches are hired to get W’s, and not to make their team as entertaining as possible.

    Personally, I loved watching the Tampa- Philly game. Compelling stuff.

    How funny would it be if Guy Boucher won the Jack Adams? Philly would riot. (I also love his suit by the way, class all the way)

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