Don Lever In A Box

This is Don Lever. He has gained a reputation for being a quality coach in the minor leagues and is rumored to be a candidate for the head job in Montreal. I’ve read a bit about Lever here and there, but mostly it’s “he’s a good man” or “he’s paid his dues.”

Many years ago (in his Abstracts) Bill James attempted to find information about baseball managers that made them unique. Subtle things, like does he use his bench a lot and does he prefer speed over power. That kind of thing.

I tried doing the same thing with regard to Craig MacTavish awhile ago and thought it might be an idea to attempt it with some of the possible candidates this spring. We can’t ask specific questions like “does he roll 4 lines” but there are some things we can know just by looking through the past math.

  1. What is his resume? Lever began his coaching career in the Buffalo Sabres organization back in 1987-88. After two seasons as an assistant to Sabres head coach Ted Sator, Lever was hired to coach the Sabres’ farm team in Rochester. In his first season as Head Coach of the Rochester Americans in 1990-91, Lever led his team to the Calder Cup final and was voted AHL Coach-of-the-Year with a regular-season record of 45 wins, 26 losses and 9 ties. The key ingredient to the championship appears to have been improved defense (Lever’s team knocked the GA down by 33 goals and reduced the PIMS by a bunch too). After a long period in the NHL as an assistant (92-04) he returned to the AHL and once again had success. Lever coached 305 games winning 154, losing 127 in regulation and 25 in overtime/shootout. In 2006-07, his second season as head coach of the Bulldogs, he led the Canadiens’ main affiliate to the Calder Cup.
  2. Any good references? Scotty Bowman. “Don Lever is very consistent. He always the same after a win or a loss. He’s a very honest person, and his players like him. He has a lot of experience and he’s very honest. You know, he has 37 years experience at the professional level. Everywhere he’s worked, he has done good. Joel Quenneville had him for his assistant in St. Louis (2002-04) and he’s always said that Don did a lot of good work with him. It’s true that he has been an assistant for a long time, but as you know, they prepare the practices and drills. He’s far from being a rookie. His success in Hamilton has been very important, because he won with a young team filled with players who are now in Montreal. He has a good record and the confidence that goes with it. He’s a guy who will do everything he can do to have success and remain in the NHL. He’s a family man who is very passionate about hockey.”
  3. What is his style? Lever has the ability to be a taskmaster and is very blunt. In January 2008 (while coaching in the AHL with Hamilton) he said “(Corey) Locke is nonexistent, D’Agostini is nonexistent, (Janne) Lahti is nonexistent, (Duncan) Milroy is nonexistent and (Eric) Manlow can’t play games back to back.” This is perhaps an easier thing to do while coaching in the minors (calling out prospects and minor league veterans) but does suggest Lever will use all means available to motivate.
  4. Any personal notes? Lever has a son who is handicapped. He’s mid-20′s and has cerebral palsy. It’s not the kind of thing I’d mention, save for the fact that the family lives in Buffalo and that may be a factor in his taking a position out west.
  5. Does he want to be a head coach? I would think so, various reports have him applying over the years. “I’ve been close a couple of times. I thought I was especially close in Columbus. But I’ve been very thankful to the Sabres and the Knox family for all they’ve done for me and my son over the years, with the time in Rochester as well. It’s been a terrific run.” Also, he was quoted recently in the Montreal Gazette as saying “obviously, that would be my dream, to be a head coach in the NHL some day. Right now, my situation is to come up here and be a support to (general manager/ head coach Bob Gainey) and Dougie (Jarvis) and Kirk (Muller). I’m trying to fit in and understand the system.”
  6. Any negatives? He doesn’t speak french, which incredibly might keep him from the Habs head job. Also, he’s 56 years-old, so there’s a generation gap (haven’t heard that phrase in awhile) between himself and someone like Sam Gagner. Don Lever is 12 years older than Dave Gagner.
  7. Did he have any good young players on the farm in Buffalo? On his first club, Darrin Shannon turned pro and eventually had a decent career but didn’t cover his draft number (he had already been traded once before arriving in the AHL). Bob Corkum and Ken Sutton played well for Lever that season and ended up having careers. Kevin Haller was a high draft pick who turned out nicely and he had Donald Audette for a few games but he was on the way already. The only player who shot lights out that season was Bill Houlder who finished 10th in the AHL for assists. This was the season the club got all the way to the Calder Cup finals. In his second AHL season, Lever had rookie pro Sean O’Donnell who would go on to play 1014 regular season NHL games (and counting) as well as Keith Carney (1018 NHL games). Lots of very defensemen here, and not many were high picks.
  8. Did he have any good players on the farm in Montreal? A ton. His first Hamilton team (05-06) was the shared club (Mont-Edm) and the true NHLers from that club were Andrei Kostitsyn, Marc Pouliot, Maxim Lapierre, Ron Hainsey, Raitis Ivanans, Jaroslav Halak, Yann Danis. The following season (the team that won it all) he had several of the above Habs plus Mikhail Gabovski, Matt D’Agostini, Kyle Chipchura, Zack Stortini and for the playoffs Carey Price. This past season, the club used a D named Yannick Weber a lot and he looks good and MaxPacioretty spent some time in the minors. That’s a lot of talent over 4 years.
  9. Any high picks fail on his watch? Yes. Darrin Shannon and Joel Savage from the first Buffalo team didn’t work out as well as planned, and from the Hamilton Bulldogs we can probably safely list Kyle Chipchura and Cory Urquhart.
  10. Anything else? Based on Tambellini’s requirements (coach with some NHL experience and his team still in the playoffs) Lever fits the bill although age and family concerns may be factors. Lever is also given full credit for putting Price in the net for the AHL playoffs a couple of springs ago. He had a more veteran option, but gave the job to the kid. That may indicate a willingness to elevate talent as soon as it’s ready, but as always with these things we don’t have a lot of supporting evidence. He certainly has confidence in himself and is not a stranger to bold decisions.

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51 Responses to "Don Lever In A Box"

  1. bookie says:

    How to overcome the annoying NO SPACE AFTER QUOTES THING.

    Its easy, put the last punctuation of your quote AFTER the tag.

    < i >This is a quote< /i >!
    Enter (line break)
    Enter (line break)

    Next Paragraph

  2. Ribs says:

    …and from the Hamilton Bulldogs we can probably safely list Kyle Chipchura and Cory Urquhart.

    What do you mean? Urquhart spent time on Springfields top line this season with the UberSchremp! He’s golden!

    Lever sounds kind of bleh to me, but what the heck do I know. I just wonder why he hasn’t been given a shot already if he’s been hanging around this long.

    Is there another Clouston hanging around somewhere that we can dig up?

  3. Lowetide says:

    Ribs: That’s the question. I wouldn’t put too much into the fact he’s been in the minors a long time. The Oilers own history features one (John Muckler) fine coach who spent a long time in the minors before getting his (2nd) chance.

    Muckler was a coach for the Minnesota North Stars at age 34 and lasted just 35 games. He then spent forever in the minors before becoming an Oilers assistant when he was 48 and the big job at age 55.

    In this way, Muckler’s probably a decent comp for Lever.

  4. Lord Bob says:

    Thanks for the Don Lever in a box, LT, but do you have Prince Albert in a can?

  5. DBO says:

    i think Lever is the kind of “system” guy we could use. Sounds like he’s a no nonsense guy, who teaches his team. i actually think all his AHL experience is a good thing for this team since the majority of our players are still in the learning faze of their game. You never mentoned it LT, but did his teams play an up-tempo style, with lots of physical play or did they play a more defensive style? i know he lowered the goals against and the PIM’s when he got to the farm before, which seems to indicate a more passive system defense and not an in your face game. .

  6. Lowetide says:

    DBO: I’m not certain. If anyone finds anything on style or PP/PK please pass it along. I couldn’t find it.

  7. Black Dog says:

    Wow, I didn’t know he had been around that long.

    So the question is why has he never been given a shot? Of course Boudreau also had a long time in the minors so maybe its just a case of a guy getting his chance.

    You have your recycled guys, your famous guys and your trend towards kid coaches. A longterm minor league guy doesn’t fit into any of the slots.

  8. DBO says:

    A note on Lever in hamilton his last year split with the Oil kids. here’s the line on Pouliot, jacques and Winchester.

    16 Marc-Antoine Pouliot 1985-05-22 20 C 65 15 30 45 63 -7 — – — – —
    44 Jean-Francois Jacques 1985-04-29 20 L 65 24 20 44 131 -10 — – — – —
    32 Brad Winchester 1981-03-01 24 L 40 26 14 40 118 -8

    A couple of things stand out oorm that. Winchester and Jacques were really good aggressive goal scorers in the AHL. it makes me think that Jacques has more of a future then I first tought. if he brought that 100 PIM mentality to the rink up here, he’s a perfect 3rd/4th liner. It also makes me think Pouliot has been running in place for a long time. LT I know you’re a fan, and feel he hasn’t been given the opportunity, but eventually he has to step up or he’s a wasted body.

  9. DBO says:

    And looking at the AHL coaches that year, it may have been the ultimate minor coaching year. here’s a list of some of the more notable coaches in the AHL that year;

    Vigneault
    Maurice
    Cunneyworth
    Lever
    Daum
    Stevens
    Boudreau
    Ftorek
    Schoenfeld
    Dineen

    Impressive list. Looking at the success of the coaches above who have made the jump to the NHL, i am more and more convinced that one from the list above is the way to go. An for info’s sake, Boudreau’s team won the championship that year.

  10. DBO says:

    And since I’m now facinated with hockeydb.com and this AHL year. Two of our current oil featured prominetly in goal scoring that year, with O’Sullivan potting 47 (3rd) and Penner 39 (5th).

  11. PDO says:

    Anyone have a feed for Washington/NYR.

  12. Lowetide says:

    A big part of Pouliot/Jacques and their story is injury. We have to include that in any conversation. Not making excuses, Pouliot clearly is off the pace of most of the 2003 1st rd class.

  13. bookie says:

    Not making excuses, Pouliot clearly is off the pace of most of the 2003 1st rd class.

    Is that because Lever wrecked him for MacT?

  14. Lowetide says:

    Pouliot’s injury history is well documented and dates back to before he was an Oiler draft pick. In fact, here’s a list of injuries during 2003-04:

    1. Injured at the Top Prospects game in 2003 when Dion Phaneuf leveled him with a vicious (and imo clean) check.
    2. In the summer of 2003 he got hurt at the Canadian WJC camp in Calgary (hip).
    3. In November 2003 he suffered an abdominal injury and missed the Q/Russia prospects game and he played on 42 QMJHL games that season, finally having surgery in Montreal in summer 2004 to repair the abdominal tissues.
    4. He played 3 weeks with a broken wrist during the 2003-04 season.

  15. Schitzo says:

    It’s because the Oilers haven’t had a successful player from Quebec since Lowe himself.

  16. Lowetide says:

    Hemsky played in the Q.

  17. Jonathan Willis says:

    LT, I’m fairly sure it wasn’t Lever’s decision to use Price in the Calder Cup run. From THN’s Future Watch ’08:

    Few in Hamilton, including Lever, were particularly thrilled with the Canadiens decision to toss Price into the breach in the playoffs. Jaroslav Halak, a very good prospect himself, had been one of the AHL’s top goalies before spending the last six weeks of the regular season up with the Canadiens. When the Habs were eliminated from playoff contention on the second-last day of the season, most assumed Halak would go back to Hamilton. But Montreal decided to allow him to play for Slovakia in the 2007 World Championships, thus exposing its top two goaltending prsopects to a high level of competition simultaneously.

  18. Schitzo says:

    Unless he was raised on poutine, he doesn’t count.

  19. Lowetide says:

    Jonathan- Could be, but here is Lever’s recall on the situation:

    Q: When the Montreal Canadiens decided to send you junior goaltender Carey Price instead of Jaroslav Halak for the playoffs what was your reaction?

    Lever: It was a bit of a shock for everybody, including ownership. Everybody was wondering what was going on. Nothing was said to me about whether I had to play him or not. I made the decision to get two good looks at him and if he can’t handle it then we’ve got Yann (Danis) ready to go.

    But he was so good against Grand Rapids that he made the decision easy. We followed it up with a game in Rochester and the way he handled the puck against them it was like having another defenceman and decided that if he could do the job we’d just run with him.

    http://www.thespec.com/article/262607

  20. Jonathan Willis says:

    LT: Fair enough, but Yann Danis wasn’t exactly championship calibre goaltending at the time either. Hamilton had a very good team (Halak had a .932 SV% over 28 games). Yann Danis had a .905 SV%, and when Price came down he played two regular season games with a .949 SV%.

    I’m not saying that he doesn’t deserve credit for making the right call, just that it probably wasn’t a leap of faith given Price’s track record and play when assigned as compared to the play of Danis.

  21. Lowetide says:

    Jonathan: I don’t know. He’s a kid who won’t turn 20 until August and you’ve seen him for 2 games. I think that’s enough to credit him with a “non-traditional” decision. Of course if it hadn’t worked out they could have gone to the older G and as you say it wasn’t like Dannis was Dryden or anything.

  22. Schitzo says:

    Apparently Minnesota’s medical staff is as incompetent as ours.

    Burn’s agent is calling out the training staff for letting him play for 6 weeks with an undiagnosed concussion.

  23. Schitzo says:

    ”I met with Brent in L.A. [March 6],” Salcer told the newspaper. ”We’re having lunch with him and [fellow client Derek Boogaard] and he’s telling me about when he hit his head six weeks earlier. So I’m listening to him, and I’m incredulous listening to him.”

    ”He’s telling me how, ‘Ronny, I’m an avid reader and I’m not able to read on the bus anymore. I get headaches that go all around my head. I can’t sleep. During the game, I’m not focusing. I feel like everything is happening, but I’m reacting slow. I go, ‘Brent, are you kidding me? You’ve got a concussion. You cannot play. You cannot play anymore!’

  24. jon k says:

    I’d be hesitant to call Chipchura a failure at this point. His projection has always been as a checking line forward so the stats from that perspective are actually decent.

    Other than that he supposedly has some bad attitude and physical fitness issues that are keeping him out of the NHL.

    Think of him as their Ryan O’Marra.

  25. Black Gold says:

    I may of just heard Glencross is playing with Conroy and Iginla tonight.
    That breaks my heart a little.

  26. Black Gold says:

    Hopefully glenx doesn’t turn into jfj and focus solely on getting the puck to his line mates. Hopefully he keeps doing what got him there.

  27. hunter1909 says:

    This Lever guy hasn’t made it to the bigs for a reason. Calling out players publicly? Haven’t we already just gone through that kind of coaching? And did it work?

    Of course not. Any player worth his salt would be incensed to be publicly attacked by his coach. It shows cowardice/and or incompetance, pure and simple. It also shows that the coach hasn’t got any other way of getting through to that particular player. This in itself proves that whatever coach is not doing his job effectively.

    Oilers Muckler might have won a cup, but he basically had the dynasty playing under him. I imagine he was a good coach and everything, but this is an entirely different situation.

    The next coach of the Oilers will have a ragged, disheartened bunch of players, many of who will need a fresh start. They will need a coach who can identify the best players for his system, and who will know exactly how to bring out the very best in those players.

    And besides, Lever just doesn’t sound young enough, when compared to the greats of the game, whenever most of them got their first start at the big time. Someone in their early to late thirties sounds more like it.

    On a positive note, my bandwagon Rangers are spanking the Capitals, up 2-0 in their series. Then again, they do have a cool new coach, lol.

  28. Black Gold says:

    jon k:

    I’d be hesitant to call Chipchura a failure at this point..
    ..Think of him as their Ryan O’Marra
    .

    Isn’t that a paradox? haha. :)

  29. Lowetide says:

    Hunter: I imagine the Oilers players will return in the fall with a good attitude no matter the coach. They have a fresh start and motivation from a season ago.

  30. Jonathan Willis says:

    Of course not. Any player worth his salt would be incensed to be publicly attacked by his coach. It shows cowardice/and or incompetance, pure and simple. It also shows that the coach hasn’t got any other way of getting through to that particular player. This in itself proves that whatever coach is not doing his job effectively.

    I don’t like calling players out publicly any more than you do, but Scotty Bowman did it and I wouldn’t describe him the way yoi do.

    It isn’t classy, and I wouldn’t do it, but many very competent coaches have used the meida to manipulate their players.

  31. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide: I kind of hate to say this, but I really don’t give a rat’s ass what the players are thinking, motivation, whatever.

    What I do care about, is that the new coach understands exactly what it takes to make a championship hockey team, and is capable enough to mold the sorriest collection of Oilers I can remember, into that team.

  32. Lowetide says:

    hunter: You said “the Oilers will have a ragged, disheartened bunch of players, many of who will need a fresh start.”

    I responded with “I imagine the Oilers players will return in the fall with a good attitude no matter the coach. They have a fresh start and motivation from a season ago.”

    Then you said “I kind of hate to say this, but I really don’t give a rat’s ass what the players are thinking, motivation, whatever.”

    So, did I misunderstand the word “disheartened?” It seems to me that we’re arguing in circles here.

  33. bookie says:

    LT – I think you win today’s word logic battle with Hunter…

    Sorry Hunter…

  34. jon k says:

    Looks like Washington is done. Lost two at home after a strong season on that front. Lundquist might be the star of the East this second season.

  35. Traktor says:

    Calling out a player if fine.

    The problem is that MacTavish only called out a select few and then gave the real culprits immunity.

    Obviously that would create disunity so the reports that the room was divided should be no surprise.

    The other problem is most of MacT’s lashings were a product of MacT looking for a scapegoat rather than calling out a player for poor performance. He even called out Rob Schremp for “not helping Springfield win games.” Totally uncalled for.

    The other thing was timing. At one point in the season MacT pleaded to the team trough the media that “The cavalry isn’t coming. We need to stick together.” Not even 10 hours later he threw Robert Nilsson under the bus. How can anyone take MacT seriously?

    What was up with Garon? He was the only reason we didn’t finish in the lottery last year and he started the season great going 3-0 with a .941 SV % and then he has a couple bad games and MacT rips him?

    Calling out a player is a necessary tool in every coaches arsenal but there has to be a method to the madness. MacT used it more out of personal frustration rather than a thought out plan to boast production.

  36. Traktor says:

    boast = boost

  37. Doogie2K says:

    Speaking of the Habs, more extracurricular bullshit in a 5-1 loss to the Bruins; wonder if Lucic gets suspended for that high cross-check on Lapierre late?

    I figured the Habs were toast in this, but they might not win a game at this rate. Two GF in as many games, and for as many goals as they’ve given up, Price is at fault for maybe two; everything else is just shitty D and dumb penalties. They miss Markov and Lang, but I don’t think even they would be enough; Boston is just the better team, full stop.

  38. Icecastles says:

    Traktor said: The other thing was timing. At one point in the season MacT pleaded to the team trough the media that “The cavalry isn’t coming. We need to stick together.” Not even 10 hours later he threw Robert Nilsson under the bus. How can anyone take MacT seriously?

    The biggest problem with Garon is that he’s not the kind of goalie to have just a “couple” of bad games. Once he does that, he looses confidence and its a steady slide from there. He didn’t fare much better in Pittsburgh than he did in Edmonton for his remaining time here, and the coaches were just as nervous about starting him. He’s got the skill, but he doesn’t have the confidence to perform through adversity.

  39. Doogie2K says:

    Oh, by the way, did anyone catch that Pierre LeBrun has picked up on our Arniel chatter and plugged him on the Satellite Hot Stove tonight? He might’ve heard it from his own people, and if so, that’s an encouraging sign for Arniel fans, but if not, JW, DG, et. al. obviously got his attention with how they’ve talked him up the last couple of weeks.

  40. dawgbone says:

    Traktor, Schremp wasn’t helping Springfield win games.

    And honestly, he was becoming a distraction. Everyone kept asking about him so MacT took one giant boot to that.

    And as for him not calling out the real culprits… I don’t know, but they spent over $6mil on the 2 players who got the brunt of it this year, and they didn’t do a heck of a lot for most of the season.

  41. Woodguy says:

    And as for him not calling out the real culprits… I don’t know, but they spent over $6mil on the 2 players who got the brunt of it this year, and they didn’t do a heck of a lot for most of the season.Kinda hard to repeat your PP goals from the year before when the Coach won’t play you on the PP.

    At the end of the year he was 5th in forwards with 2.69TOI/60 (O’Sullivan was 4th, so you can call Penner 4th for the whole year if you like)

    He also finished 1st on the team in 5v4 GFA/60 with 6.88/60.

    So the the coach doesn’t play his best PP player on the PP and its the players fault?

    I’m a Horcoff fan, even at a 5.5 Cap, but here is where the Coach’s bias really shows.

    Horcoff was 6th on the team among forwards with a 5.41 GA/60 5v4. While putting up this meh number the Coach gave him the 2nd most PP ice time of any forward with 3.46/60.

    So MacTavish plays the shit out of 10 on the PP even though he’s not playing well there, probably needs some rest because he’s taking 65% of the defensive zone face offs, and has the 8th most TOI among forwards in the league.

    You can argue the MacTavish needed Horcoff out there to win faceoffs, but for a brief shining moment he had 27 taking faceoffs and playing center on the PP, and Horcoff absence on the dot was not noticed.

    So bench the best PP player and play the crap out of your 6th best PP forward. Then call out 27 for not producing while playing him 5v5 with thefuckingcaptainethanairbag and 34.

    Can’t lay all of that (or most of that) at 27′s skates.

    The Coach’s bias is plain to see, and was used to the significant detriment of the team, and fat ol’ Dusty.

  42. jon k says:

    Woodguy:

    Part of the problem is that Horcoff or Gagner has to be on every power play because someone has to take the faceoffs. Horcoff has at least been a consistently “average” PP producer who can actually win faceoffs. I suspect that is why he played so much.

    If Gagner or Cogliano could string together a 50% average I suspect both their numbers on the PP or PK would increase at Horc’s expense.

    Hell, if Penner was a centre I doubt MacT would have been throwing him under the bus. He’d be our second C in minutes per game I suspect.

  43. Woodguy says:

    Part of the problem is that Horcoff or Gagner has to be on every power play because someone has to take the faceoffs. Horcoff has at least been a consistently “average” PP producer who can actually win faceoffs. I suspect that is why he played so much.

    From my original post:

    You can argue the MacTavish needed Horcoff out there to win faceoffs, but for a brief shining moment he had 27 taking faceoffs and playing center on the PP, and Horcoff absence on the dot was not noticed.

    Penner was adequate enough at faceoffs that Horcoff (and others) didn’t have to be there taking a spot.

    Penner was 30/55 for 54.5% on PP faceoffs this year. Nothing wrong with that.

    Horcoff was 178/304 for 58.6% on PP faceoffs this year. Good record but not a significant upgrade from Penner.

    Gagner was 44/126 for a disamal 34.9% on PP faceoffs this year.

    The only other player of note to take PP faceoffs was Cogliano with 30/74 for a 40.5% on PP faceoffs.

  44. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide:

    What I’m hoping(dreaming?) of, is a coach to step into the breach, and basically revamp the team from top to bottom. Outside of the top 4 defence, There doesn’t really seem to be whole lot of hope out there.

    Having said that, I’m merely a semi-rabid fan. I didn’t see a whole lot wrong with Dustin Penner this season, that wasn’t mirrored by half the rest of the team. Ditto Horcoff – another good player, but someone who just isn’t good enough to play on the top line of a championship NHL hockey team.

    MacTavish I’ll state finally, isn’t a terrible coach either. I hope he goes to the Wild, so we can all enjoy his working with another team. Seriously.

    My problem is, I think the last great coach the Oilers had was Sather. Like all great coaches, and I do think for the time he was coaching, he was great, Slats cut the cloth of his young team to suit his vision. I’ll never know if he would have been any use on a team like this, but for that young dynasty in the making he was spot on.

    If I were hiring the next coach, I’d want to consider a top assistant on a winning team and promote him ala Vince Lombardi(who I believe was the offensive line coach for the Giants prior to going to Green Bay), or that Hunter guy in London, who seems to work miracles with young players, season after season.

    For that matter I’d almost certainly lean toward drafting players from winning organisations, not Pouliot types who played on pathetically poor teams. Winning begets winning. And so does losing.

    I’d also be prepared to fire any new coach quickly, as in Christmas, were his methods not producing results, because that’s what great coaches tend to do, produce instant results. Half a season should be enough to see the direction of any sports team, especially set up from the start of training camp.

    And then were the unthinkable happen and this new coach gets the boot, while waiting to hire the next coach during the next offseason, I’d be tempted to toss Kevin Lowe behind the bench, just to see him dealing with the team he after all presided over constructing. Of course one hopes the original choice works out.

    All that said, it’s great fun watching the Chicago series.

  45. rickibear says:

    He’d be our second C in minutes per game I suspect.

    Heshould have been! Hopefully he gets a chance.

  46. jon k says:

    Well you’re entitled to your opinion if you think it’s a good idea to have a LW who has problems keeping his feet moving being our second line centre.

    There’s a very significant difference in responsibility between those positions and quite frankly I don’t hold it against MacT for not wanting to even try the experiment with Penner.

    Maybe we’ll see the next coach give Penner some more time at C and how it works but I wouldn’t count on it.

  47. Woodguy says:

    Maybe we’ll see the next coach give Penner some more time at C and how it works but I wouldn’t count on it.

    The only time 27 should have seen the dot is on the PP.

    If there is a 3C on the team next year so 10 isn’t playing 22m/g I have no problem with 10 being the 1PPC if he starts producing again.

    Given the make up of the team this past year and their results, 1PP should have been 83,27,89 is you want to play the overload (which I dislike), 27 can take the draws.

    Or you could exchange 12 with 89 if you wanted to spread the ice out and have a reasonable left hand shot on the right side for more options for 83.

  48. godot10 says:

    //Ditto Horcoff – another good player, but someone who just isn’t good enough to play on the top line of a championship NHL hockey team.//

    Number of SC finals: Horcoff 1, Joe Thornton 0.

    //If I were hiring the next coach, I’d want to consider a top assistant on a winning team and promote him ala Vince Lombardi(who I believe was the offensive line coach for the Giants prior to going to Green Bay), or that Hunter guy in London, who seems to work miracles with young players, season after season. //

    Name the last NHL coach to win a Stanley Cup who does have AHL head coach on his resume.

    Name on e long term NHL assistant coach to win a Stanley Cup. Head coaches are head coaches. They apprentice as an assistant at the NHL level for one or two years at most.

  49. godot10 says:

    //Name the last NHL coach to win a Stanley Cup who does have AHL head coach on his resume.//

    That should read does not.

    Name the last NHL coach to win a Stanley Cup who does NOT have AHL head coach on his resume.

  50. Scott says:

    I think the last head coach to win the Stanley and not coach in the AHL is Scotty Bowman but that’s cheating your point (since he coached the Jr. Canadiens). Before that it’s Larry Robinson who started as an NHL assistant after his playing days, but only for a couple of years before becoming a head coach.

  51. godot10 says:

    Larry Robinson coached that Jersey team for a grand total of 8 games before the playoffs. It was a pre-existing proven team. He didn’t build it.

    If you are expecting the unexpected and praying for a miracle, you hire a CHL coach, or Mark Messier, or a long term NHL assistant.

    If you want to win a Stanley Cup, you hire a guy whose has AHL head coaching experience, who maybe has apprenticed a year or two at most as an NHL assistant. Otherwise, you are expecting a miracle, expecting the unexpected.

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