The Saturday Slate is a weekly discussion or platform where members of Win Column Sports provide their respective opinions and thoughts on an event that took place in the prior week. Additionally, there is also a running pool amongst the contributors based on our picks for Saturday’s match-ups. This week, the Win Column panel discusses the NHL action on January 19th.
In 1969-70, Charlie Burns had 3 goals and 13 assists in 50 games. He also had a 10-22-12 record behind the bench. That’s right. He was both player and coach, a concept that is completely dead in professional sports these days. Which is disappointing, because there are a lot of coaches that fans wish would be replaced. And the easiest way to replace the coach is to make a player already on the team to do it! We recently talked about this on an episode of The 4th Line Podcast. Who in the NHL would make a great player-coach? What qualities make a good player-coach? Below and on the episode are some of our thoughts of who we think would be the best choice. Let us know your thoughts as well!
There’s so many different variables and attributes that must be accounted for when predicting the success of a head coach, however, I believe on-ice experience at the highest level can be extremely beneficial. Another attribute I believe is essential is the love for the game of hockey and the ability to bring ones best-self up regardless of the situation or the direction the team is heading. By saying that, my selection would be Andrew Cogliano.
There hasn’t been a time that Cogliano has slowed down or given up despite toughing it out through some very down seasons with the Ducks and the Oilers over his career. Cogliano’s passion for the game is contagious, to see him visibly upset and emotional when his iron man streak (830 games) came to an end speaks volumes on what kind of hockey player, and overall competitor Cogliano is. I believe accomplishments and championships help a coach build a case, but hard work trumps all and that’s what Cogliano brings to the table. Cogliano was never a star, but he made his impact known throughout his career. I believe this would give Cogliano the ability to tap into players who are in the process of finding their ways.
Most coaches lack connection with their players, a disconnected coach and team is a recipe for disaster. Cogliano’s passion and understanding of the game of hockey would most certainly be displayed through a hands-on approach which would only benefit the team as a whole.
There are a number of qualities that go into being a successful coach; a winning resume, an ability to relate to your players, and a thorough knowledge of the game of hockey. To me, there are a number of names that could be considered league-wide, with Jonathan Toews as my runner up for this week’s competition. However, it’s hard to debate that current Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo is the best bet to become the 2019 version of Reggie Dunlop.
At 39-years old, Luongo brings the same grizzled veteran presence that Dunlop brought to both the bench and the ice in the hit 1977 film Slapshot. He’s a born winner, collecting nearly 500 wins throughout his NHL career and taking the Canucks to the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals. He’s one of only three goaltenders to play over 1,000 NHL games and has represented his country in numerous competitions worldwide. It’s not as though Lou isn’t used to making history, either; as the goaltender for the Vancouver Canucks, Luongo served as the team’s captain from 2008-2010, the first goalie to serve in the position since Bill Durham in 1947. While never handling any official duties as captain, it proves that Luongo is more than capable of handling any extra responsibility thrown his way.
It’s clear that Lou is the best option; while still more than capable as an NHL player, he’s got the veteran leadership and knowledge of the game to be an ideal future coach. Why not now?
I’m going to go off the record here and mention somebody that isn’t currently playing the NHL but somebody who I thought would always make a good coach because of his leadership and his ability to talk about the game. I grew up in Edmonton and saw many good players go through this organization. While he wasn’t the best player in the world, or even on his team. Shawn Horcoff is somebody to me that always had an amazing understanding of the game and good leadership skills. Most people take the player-coach perspective and the player needs to be the best player on the team to be able to tell others how to play. I simply don’t think that’s true. Shawn Horcoff would be my pick for a player-coach in recent NHL history.
A head coach needs to be a leader on and off the ice. He needs to know the game and be able to communicate that to his players. When I think about this, my mind immediately goes to defensemen. I want a coach that can get the puck out of my zone and into the opponents’ as quickly and efficiently as possible. Once in the zone, I want him to know to be smart with the puck and be able to set up a goal. While he certainly isn’t the player that he once was, my choice is Chicago Blackhawks’ two time Norris Trophy winner: Duncan Keith. Not only is Chicago in need of a long term solution behind the bench, but Keith would be fantastic at it. What aided Keith in winning his Norris’ was the way that he thought the game. I always enjoyed watching a Duncan Keith quarterbacked powerplay, and I would most certainly pick him to coach the Blackhawks.
WinColumnSport’s Saturday Picks
|Ducks @ Devils||Ducks||Ducks||Devils||Devils|
|Kings @ Avalanche||Avalanche||Avalanche||Avalanche||Avalanche|
|Senators @ Blues||Blues||Senators||Senators||Blues|
|Sharks @ Lightning||Sharks||Lightning||Sharks||Lightning|
|Rangers @ Bruins||Bruins||Bruins||Bruins||Bruins|
|Flyers @ Canadiens||Canadiens||Flyers||Flyers||Canadiens|
|Jets @ Stars||Jets||Jets||Jets||Jets|
|Panthers @ Predators||Predators||Panthers||Predators||Predators|
|Blue Jackets @ Wild||Blue Jackets||Blue Jackets||Wild||Blue Jackets|
|Flames @ Oilers||Flames||Oilers||Flames||Flames|
|Penguins @ Golden Knights||Penguins||Golden Knights||Penguins||Penguins|
Records Thus Far:
- Ben: (83-62), Last Week: (8-7), Winning Percentage: (57%)
- Carl: (50-41), Last Week: (0-0), Winning Percentage (55%)
- Arik: (73-72), Last Week: (7-8), Winning Percentage: (50%)
- Spencer: (69-76), Last Week: (8-7), Winning Percentage: (48%)
Latest NHL Content:
- The NHL Saturday Slate: January 12
- The NHL Saturday Slate: January 5
- Washington Capitals Mid-Season Review
- The NHL Saturday Slate: December 29
- The NHL Saturday Slate: December 22