Monday, July 28, 2008

Do they have their man?

In the wake of my previous post, there is news that John Tortorella may be the front runner for the Islanders coaching job. Talk about a complete turn-around in coaching philosophies. Ted Nolan was known for his ability to create relationships with his players; for getting to known them and thereby getting the most out of them.

John Tortorella is the type of guy who gets in everyone's face and lays down the challenge - compete or sit. If he's the guy they go with he will need a lot of patience with this young Islander squad. Not to mention there is always the possibility that the veterans on the team will get turned off with this type of approach. Someone like Doug Weight or even Bill Guerin may not respond well to JT's in-you-face style. We'll have to wait and see.

I've read that JT should be the front runner by virtue of the fact that he's won a Cup but he doesn't have the nucleus here that he had in Tampa Bay - at least not yet. That's where the need for patience comes in and it's never been Tortorella's forte.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

And Away We Go...

While choosing to start a hockey blog in the middle of July may seem a little odd, I felt compelled to vent about the firing of Ted Nolan, so here we go.

It is understandable that a GM would want to hand pick his coach and not have his coach handed to him but let's face it, it happens all the time. Countless times, a GM has come in as a replacement and inherited a coach and while it may not always work out there are lots of times when it does. The GM just has to have the maturity and confidence to recognize when he has a good person behind the bench and not feel that he has to make his mark on the team by putting his guy in place. He has to be able to work with the assumption that they're not always going to get along and agree on everything.

Garth Snow has shown some promise and probably would have made a great assistant GM. He could have gained some very valuable experience under someone who has been there - even Neil Smith - but for now, he just makes me very nervous. He didn't do anything to dispell this during the draft when he passed on Luke Schenn. It will be interesting to see in a couple of years how the picks acquired for Schenn pan out, but they traded a pillar to get them.

So now Garth gets the opportunity to select his man. Personally, I'm hoping for Paul Maurice but whoever it is has some big shoes to fill. Ted Nolan made the Islanders far more competitive than most people thought they'd be. He was the type of coach who turns lemons into lemonade by knowing how to push the right buttons. He gave the Isles some much needed credibility and I'm really sorry to see him go.

I hope it doesn't take so long for Ted to get another shot at coaching in the NHL. He deserves it.