Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Predicting the next Kings coach: look out for Boudreau 2.0

So much of sports management is about running after trends. Every NFL coach would prefer a quarterback who can run like a running back. Lower budget baseball teams feel like they can survive because of MoneyBall.

It happens all the time.

And that's why the Los Angeles Kings might end up looking for Bruce Boudreau 2.0. Indeed, if a trend holds true at least one NHL team will probably promote a highly successful AHL coach with the hope of Catching the Next Rising (Coaching) Star.

There had to be a few GMs deeply intrigued by the concept of under-paying a (usually) younger, harder working prodigy/super secret Herb Brooks-type mind. (This would replace the old standby: sign a big name who almost certainly is running on fumes at this point)

Just looking at the playoffs, there were of course the Washington Capitals making a late season surge with Boudreau. Not to be outdone, John Stevens' Philadelphia Flyers managed to be the only true Cinderella team of this year's playoffs.

Despite his sort of Shrek-like features and Crawfordian line changes, Therrien is a success

Some people think that coaching the Penguins would be about as intellectually challenging as changing a tire, but Michel Therrien was able to guide the team to a 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference despite having their two no. 1 picks out for huge chunks of the season.

Maybe the minor leagues are going to be a GMs equivalent to a Gold Rush and the next guy promoted will end up being in over his head. Or maybe the Kings will go for another glitzy, potentially overrated coach in John Tortorella.

But don't be shocked if someone gets called up to be the next Kings head coach...


Alexander Dubcek said...

I'm hoping they go with someone off the board instead of yet another retread (Quenneville, Tortorella, Maurice, etc.). In some cases, you can't fault these coaches for the way things turned sour (Quenneville put in a commendable effort in Denver, Jay Feaster completely botched the cap and Maurice got thrown into the most dysfunctional management system in the NHL). But still, I can't see myself getting that excited about any of these guys, all of whom are more yesterday's hot commodity than the coach of the future.

Of course, it'd be great if Dean Lombardi went really off the board and took a cue from some of the more inventive approaches that never passed muster in baseball, like Bill Veeck having the fans make managerial decisions one game for the St. Louis Browns (I'd love to see that game of goalie musical chairs), or the Cubs "College of Coaches" experiment (the Kings already have like 423 coaches on staff, so they're practically there anyway).

Earl Sleek said...

Don't forget that before getting his wings on the Ducks bench, Carlyle was cutting his teeth in the AHL (I think) as well.

I'd be inclined to go down this path for the Kings as well, I think. It allows new hires to come in without a ton of expectation and without a ton of baggage.

Besides, are any of the big names available really salivating at retooling the Kings? They may look at Crawford's tenure there and be thinking "career suicide". Better, I think, to find someone less concerned with optics.

Oh, and I'll agree: Therrien looks very Shrek-like.

Alexander Dubcek said...

For what it's worth, one of the commenters on a TSN story about rumours (again with a "u"!) the Sens had hired DeBoer, suggested Marc Crawford in all seriousness.

And actually, you have to wonder if that might be a better fit for Crawford than a club like the Kings. Assuming there is a good fit for Crawford at the NHL level these days.

Doogie said...

It bears pointing out that Therrien, unlike the others, had NHL experience prior to his promotion, with Montreal.

Joe said...

I can't see Tortorella being a good fit there. In fact, he might be one of the worst fits here. We've all seen Tort just rip his goalies apart in the media, multiple times. With the Kings, he'd be inheriting a pile of young goalies, with lots of potential, but who may or may not be ready for the NHL yet, or even if they are, may not be superstar goalies in the NHL. Given that they won't be posting SV% of 98% or better, Tortorella will likely just kill every single one of those goalies, and help set the Kings back even more.

RudyKelly said...

Tortorella sounds a lot like Crawford to me the more I hear about him. Lombardi has given hints that Mike Johnston (assistant who I think is in charge of the power play) might get a shot, and he's also said that the team will be getting younger next season. That last bit makes my naughty parts all tingly.

Earl Sleek said...

and he's also said that the team will be getting younger next season.

Hmm, does that mean that Rob Blake will have to be a veteran elsewhere?

I dunno. It probably makes no sense, but I think "Coach Blake" has a nice ring to it.

Earl Sleek said...

Oh, and on the Sharks coaching front, it looks as if Todd McLellan is slated to have a three-year deal announced tomorrow.

The pieces are all starting to fall into place.