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.
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.
“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)