“It was the was the sdfla;aerg of times, it was the blurst of times. A time for thing and a time for the opposite kind of thing.” – Charles Dickens, 1991.
Can we talk? And by talk I mean, you read your computer screen at work or at the library and either nod and mutter “I know right?” OR shake your head and mutter “This guy is seriously THE WORST.I need to start my own Senators/Foodie/Puppy photo of the day blog and rub it in his stupid, stupid face.”
I want to talk to you about this whole coaching situation.
As a person who works for this blog as their full time prison rehabilitation, daily I read most of the other webpages (2.0!) devoted to our beloved Senators and I gotta say…twixt the writers and commenters…people seem to really have their personal coaching decisions figured out. Which is awesome for them -Im proud of all of you! I don’t tell you that enough- but what about my needs/dreams? Am I the only one who feels like this is even more of a crap shoot than the draft?
Foremostly (DEFINITELY a word), not to knock peoples takes on why Bry-Bry should select whom from whence and maybe it’s the humidity talking but the more I read on these guys the more I get flustered about the decision.
“We’re all sensitive people/with so much to give/understand me, sugar/since we got to be/let’s have a brief, friendly overview of what people are saying about the candidates and how I feel about that” – Charles Dickens, July 8, 2011
Dave Cameron: Konfession Korner, I was going to start with Kirk Muller but I figured lets get this guy out of the way early. This dude seems to really be in the hate pit among fans, huh? You don’t coach in the WJC gold medal game winning a silver medal for YOUR COUNTRY AND take your OHL team to the Memorial Cup final without making a few enemies! No, I get it; he can’t win the big game, right step-cousins? That’s why they picked Cory Clouston! His pedigree of BIG. GAME. DELIVERY. I always wonder about that criticism: Can’t win the big game. Only one team’s worth of people “win the big game” per tournament/playoff. It’s such a small pool to draft from and for me there are usually still other good people kickin’ around. I don’t think raising the “big game” question is without merit but it’s got all kinds of holes in it. Think about it player wise. You know what gritty forward knows what it takes to work your ass off to win the Stanley cup? ALEX KOVALEV. Should Tim Thomas lose the Stanley Cup final, it could be argued that he can’t win the big game but you know what? I’D BE COOL WITH THAT DUDE PLAYING FOR OTTAWA. Whatever the case, I think Cameron was written off the minute Melnyk endorsed him. Now that The Euge has been banned from conducting boardroom business (getting caught in shady white collar dealings sounds like the SWEETEST deal btw) he can finally focus on being a fucking BILLIONAIRE* full time. He’s also taken on a consulting role in the Sens organization as resident “don’t do what this guy says is a good idea” consultant. Also, what’s up with minor league coaches (OHL at that in this case!), getting a promo after one season of success. We can’t wait 2 seasons up in here? Anyway, this guy is probably a good coach and everybody hates him. I’d be cool with him as an assistant SORRY ASSOCIATE (apologies all around) coach because…I don’t know?
Cameron Muller: People seem generally high out of their minds on ecstasy over this guy. I can see why, Jaroslav Halak was REALLY REALLY great that one playoff! Whaaaaaaaat? I kid, I kiiiiiiid put down those bleu, blanc et rouge coloured switchblades. Montreal has been pretty decent the last couple of seasons and Muller was apparently a very big part of their turnaround. Okay, cool. Guy Carbonneau was also responsible for a lot of that success as head coach…and everyone hates that guy…Jacques Martin probably deserves most credit. So, clearly, the key here is handsomeness. Paul MacLean is sketchy because the Red Wings are a good organization willing to give a coach away and that’s a red flag…aaaaand…Kirk Muller is the sexy choice because he is coming from a successfullish team willing to part ways with him. Handsomeness. I wouldn’t be pissed at all about Kirk Muller being coach. I’m as smitten as the next Japanese school girl (.com, probably). I am just a little confused as to why he is such a front runner.
Paul MacLean: One essential that fans and pundits alike can agree on is that Paul MacLean is the NHL’s answer to Wilfred Brimley. Otherwise, he is a bit polarizing as apparently the Red Wings are not allowing teams so much as smell the hair of other associate coach Brad McCrimmon but are handing out MacLean’s pager number at the food court exit of the Rideau Centre. Look, I don’t know why that is. I’m not made of knowing about other teams associate coaches. Have you read this article to here? You haven’t? Just skimming…okay well that’s cool its a big internet. Well, moving on, the fact I’ve been plotting and perfecting a plan for a couple of seasons now to drug and kidnap most of the Red Wings front office, staff and team only for them to awake go about their business in a Scotia Bank Place that I have painstakingly repainted and redecorated to the last detail to look exactly like the inside of Joe Louis arena makes me lean toward this guy. I think it’s an asset that he has spent considerable time being able to lean to the side and say, “What do you think we should do, Coach Mike Babcock?” and then listen to and remember what he said and then record it on his Newton for later. At the same time, I wonder if people are right about that question of “Is it the Detroit TEAM that makes the coaches so good?” Here in a one act play is what I sometimes imaginer it to be like to coach Detroit:
COACHING THE DETROIT RED WINGS
A One Act Tragiromcomedy 2: Back in the Habit
Scene: Detriot Red Wings Bench. A timeout has been called before a crucial faceoff in their defensive zone with the game tied up and one minute remaining:
Coach: “Okay TIME OUT TIME OUT…great hustle out there, brosephines. Huddle up boys here’s the plan. Datsyuk, listen up, here’s what I need from you: Win this clutch face off and get the puck to Zetterberg here, who is amazing. Zetterberg will dish back to impending slam dunk first ballot hall of famer Nicklas Lidstrom. Lidstrom will have no problem retaining the puck under pressure and will make it look easy snapping a beautiful outlet pass back to you at centre ice where you have skated incredibly quickly to. From there just make whatever highlight reel move that comes to your beautiful mind and make whatever team we’re playing’s first pairing defense look like tired children’s clowns who are holding golf putters backwards and wearing skates made of sandpaper. Then continuing at full speed make a blind behind the back pass to a waiting Zetterberg who, ONCE AGAIN, is also amazing. Meanwhile, Johan Franzen, who once scored 5 goals in one game against the Ottawa Senators**, will set have set up the screen ensuring the goal. Now go out there and be all the unfair NHL ‘98 Choose-Your-Own-Team-team you can be!”
Spoiler Alert: They Win.
Craig “Mac-TSN” SnackTavish: Another guy by and large in the hate pit with fans. Yes, it is really weird that Mac-T has been part of the TSN Panel for so long. He took a pretty mediocre Edmonton squad through the entire Mighty Western Conference only to lose to the widely, widely beloved
North Carolina Hurricanes. Personally, I loved Mac-T as a player. That guy never took a shift off. So…Coaching? Right guys? It’s also pretty cool and frankly undeniable that he helped take Edmonton to the finals. I was intoxicated in Vancouver through most of that run and probably just generally bummed out about the Sens having been eliminated at that point so I missed most of it (I think?). Apparently he is very player oriented and that could be very good asset for this squad …but …I guess the Oilers did only have that one crazy ass season under him and it was with playoff beast/stupid asshole Chris Pronger. Mac-T seems to be viewed most unanimously disliked candidate among fans and writers alike…aside from Cameron I guess. Though, he DID rip the tongue off out of the Flames mascot’s*** mouth during a game…which is so, so good. Apparently Murray is high on this guy.
Kurt Kleinendorst: Can I get spell check!? This guy’s already done more than enough for the organization. Again, according to reports, another player oriented coach with the added bonus of coming off a huge, huge Calder Cup win with Binghamton (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). The obvious turn off here is Cory Clouston Part 2. Back when Clouston took Bingo to the Calder Cu—oh wait… didn’t make the playoffs with them at all?…nevermind. No, we’ve seen a lot of coaches through these parts since Murray stepped down, the last three were minor leaguers and the last three of them…not. so. hot. Patience is at an all time low in this regard (Coach is the new Goalie!). Despite this hesitance being not at all unreasonable, I still always think about the Dan Bylsma factor. The extremely likeable, upbeat, positive minded coach that players might really want to win one for. Was Clouston scapegoatted a bit in his dismissal? Kind of. He coached the team back into the playoffs after one year out (sans Heatley…who hated him)…and…seemed completely unknowable while doing it. Clouston seemed … not so flexible on anything but Christ could he dress. If Kleinendorst is the kind of guy that players can feel good about playing for while also being successful then of course I could be game for another spin on the Minor League Coachie-Go-Round. If not, I would LOVE to see this guy as Bingo’s head coach again.
Well, that just about wraps it up. Oh, right…
The Guy who coached The Saint John’s Seadogs this year: Another good coach I’m sure but I’m tired now…and the fact that Pascal LeClaire once played for this team is reason enough to take a pass. OR NOT. I STILL AM NOT SURE.
Okay, I’m to go lay down for a bit and worry about the draft.
*Even in all my 64 years on this labyrinth of a planet, I still cannot believe that even one human being owns over 1 billion gold coins.
**RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Pretty much the low point of the season for me.
***which is a dog with a hat for some reason.
Web Bonus Update!: I forgot about Bob Boughner: For my comprehensive take on Boughner check out this article I just put up at www.bobboughner.com !