New NHL Coaches for the 2008 - 2009 Season

New NHL Coaches for the 2008 - 2009 Season

New NHL Coaches for the 2008 - 2009 Season
By Ron Raymond

NHL Coaches compared to other coaches from other sports has always left me wondering where exactly is their impact felt on the ice. We look at the new NFL coaches for the 2008 - 2009 season and the odds of winning the 2009 Stanley Cup for each team they represent.

In football, the head coaches strategy is either attack on the ground or via the air or blitz the opposition's offense all game long. Or, they can play the field position or time of possession game. There's other strategy, but for the purpose of this article, I'm giving a nutshell point of view.

In baseball, managers have the choice of naming their starting pitcher and work their batting line up depending on which way the other pitcher throws; either he's a lefty or righty. Plus, a baseball manager can bring in a relief pitcher at any time during a game and work his team's base running philosophy in a mild or aggressive nature.

In basketball, to be honest, I'm a hockey guy and not a huge basketball philosopher, but I guess a manager's strategy is about bringing in speed vs. strength or height, or bring in a shooter or a good rebounder. I've always felt hockey and basketball are games of "instinct" and sure you can put in some plays, but since you're starting from a running position, it's tougher to set plays, because you never know if you're going to start on defense or offense right off the tip off or puck drop.

In football and baseball, you know when you're going to be on offense and defense and you have time to rest between plays and get set, whereas in hockey and basketball, it's all about instinct in the line of fire and I've always felt the coaches impact is more based on their leadership and motivational skills; then their X's and O's strategy.

With the 2008-09 NHL Season just a few weeks away, there's a total of 9 new NHL coaches who will be behind their new teams bench this season. As you will see from my short write up, some have been promoted, while others have done the lateral shuffle.

The nine new coaches are the following;

Atlanta Thrashers:
John Anderson - Anderson played for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1977 to 1985 and played with the Nordiques, Whalers and finished his playing career in the AHL, IHL and a stint in Italy. Anderson coached the Chicago Wolves of the AHL and led the Wolves to 4 titles in 8 seasons. It's one thing to coach in the minors, but it's another to coach in the big leagues, but if his 4 AHL championship means anything, look for the Thrashers to be competitive our of the gate. +10000 odds to win the 2009 Stanley Cup.

Colorado Avalanche: Tony Granato - Tony Granato is in his second stint with the Avs, where he coached them in 2002 to 2004 and he's relieving Joel Quenneville of his duties. Granato played for 3 NHL teams including; New York Rangers, LA Kings and San Jose Sharks. Tony Granato has a reputation of being a hard ass, so look for the Avs to take no short cuts and play hard each night.

Florida Panthers: Terry Murray - Terry Murray is now Jacque Martin's man in Florida, as Murray has a winning record of 360-288-83-6 in 737 games coached. The Panthers are getting an experience NHL coach, but I think the game has changed too much for a veteran guy like Murray. His Brother Bryan is the GM in Ottawa. +5000 odds to win the 2009 Stanley Cup

New York Islanders: Scott Gordon - Scott Gordon has never won anything in the AHL, but has lead the Providence Bruins to some 1st place division titles. This tells me they might be a good regular season team, but that's about it. Jury is out on Gordon at the Pro level. Gordon was a journey man goaltender in the AHL, ECHL and IHL, so I guess it's not surprising a GM like Garth Snow who played goalie in the NHL would give an ex goalie like Gordon a shot at the show. +8000 longshot to win it all.

Ottawa Senators:
Craig Hartsburgh - Here's the keys to the porch, have it home by midnight! Talk about walking into a dream job. Craig Hartsburgh is another coach with a heavy hand reputation and if the start of the pre season is any indication, the Senators will be a gritty team. What worries me about Hartsburgh, has never won at the pro level and his teams never did well during the regular season.

San Jose Sharks: Todd McLellan - Not sure what to expect from Todd McLellan, he's a journeyman AHL player and was the assistant coach in Detroit. Don't like this move, as I have a theory about hiring an assistant coach who just won the Stanley Cup, it's nothing more than a PR move. +950 odds to win the 2009 Stanley Cup.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Barry Melrose - The Mullet is back! Barry Melrose is back coaching in the NHL and nothing proves my theory of head coaches being motivators more than bringing back Barry Melrose to coach in the NHL. There's allot of coaches in the system, why bring a guy who's been behind a mike the last 9 years to coach the number 1 draft pick in Stamkos and I'm not getting a good vibe with the new management team of the lightning, as they seem to be throwing money around like it's candy and they are pissing off allot of people in the process. +1800 odds to win it all.

Toronto Maple Leafs:
Ron Wilson - Bit surprise the Leafs would go out and get another unproven coach, Wilson has never won in the playoffs, but he's always had his team prepared and has 4 division titles. The Leafs are a mess right now, management is trying to clean up the culture of the room and bringing in Wilson to stir the pot might work for the first 3 season, but if they don't make the playoffs, it's going to be a rough ride. +8000 odds to win the 2009 Stanley Cup.

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