Re: I think CJ has evolved into an elite coach
posted at 11/27/2011 2:02 PM EST
In Response to I think CJ has evolved into an elite coach
[QUOTE]Yah, I wanted him fired forever. I wanted him fired even when he was winning in years gone by. I wanted him fired in the middle of the Habs series last year. Not anymore. I think he's a changed man. I'm guessing a lot of you will say he's always been that way, but I'm seeing a lot of things from him that I've not seen from him and his team before. Losing streaks . In this year's losing streak I did not see what I'd seen in previous losing streaks, a demoralized team or terrible inconsistency or what seemed to be outright lack of effort. In this year's losing streak I thought they were actually playing well, they didn't seem like they gave up, they were pretty consistent emotionally. It seemed to me in other years losing streaks would unsettle CJ, this year he was composed in the crisis. Surprise moves . Like putting Benoit in the shootout the other night. Other years he would do weird stuff like putting Ryder in the shootout when he was in a cold streak and it didn't work. I really like CJ's explanation afterwards, that he wanted to build Benoit's confidence and he wanted to put him in a position where he wouldn't lose the game for them, but could win it. Great coaches always surprised me, for example, my thoughts of Bowman every so often were like "what on earth is he doing?" and then I'd see it was a smart move. CJ is doing that. Long term thinking . Putting in Rask rather than TT for Detroit. Important to build Rask's confidence and not just give him easy games. Even tho they lost, it was a good move. It's moves like that which will be good predictors of Rask's future, and if they decide Rask is a dud and want to move him, using him like that is the best way to show him. As with Benoit in the shoot out, there seems to be more thinking of what's beyond the one game. Using timeouts wisely . He's got that mastered. Previous years many a game he never even used them. Confidence. In the past I've judged this from the post game interviews. And in previous years he seemed confused, deer in the headlights and picked language that I thought didn't reflect well. A bunch of people said that I was just picking on him because english wasn't his first language and that he wasn't good on camera. Well, he still isn't what I would call a good orator, but he is a confident man and you can see it. He is less fidgety, his posture is more upright, his language is better because the confusion isn't there. His eyes don't wander around like before. He says the right things, he isn't scapegoating his players in the mealy mouthed way he did before. It strikes me as this is something permanent and not a 'high' from winning the cup, but now something that has innately changed within him. Bringing along rookies . This one is a stretch, it more of a sense than real evidence. What he's been doing with Caron, Kampfer and even Hamill seems different to me. He seems to be using them more "right" than he did with Seguin or Caron last year. I think now he's learned to pull the strings on rookies. This year isn't a good example, but we'll see with Hamilton, as I said, it's more a gut feeling than anything else. Putting Seguin in the penalty box. On bench minors and the like rather than just sticking Thornton in there to take up space, he's putting in Seguin for the possible breakaway when the penalty expires. It's not often my opinion goes 180 on a guy. I had thought CJ was an interim solution to fix the damage of Lewis. I think CJ's game has taken a giant leap forward. I think he's moved from average coach to an elite coach.
Posted by BadHabitude[/QUOTE]
Ok, let's take this on point for point, though I'll start with the additional point that he won the Jack Adams three years ago, so he's been an elite coach for some time now.Losing Streaks
I don't think the team's confidence during the losing streak had anything to do with CJ, other than the fact he just lead them to the Stanley Cup. I think because of that ring, this team is well aware of what they're capable of and knew they could turn it around, hence it wasn't as demoralizing.Surprise moves
CJ has always done this, whether it's starting Rask in a must win game, putting Chara and Seids together in the playoffs, extending Thorton's ice time in the cup run, using Kelly and Pev's on the PP. sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, but he's always experimented.Long term thinking
Why do you think he used Seguin so sparingly last year and brought him along slowly? If that's not long term planning, I don't know what is.Using timeouts Wisely
I agree with you hereConfidence
This is a difficult one to judge. I've seen extremely confident and capable people turn into blubbering idiots in front of a camera. Looking good in an interview is a learned skill, one CJ seems to have finally picked up. I don't think his having now learned this skill is a reflection of confidence.Bringing along rookies
This is the critique of CJ I have never understood, since in my mind he has been one of the best coaches in the league in terms of nurturing young talent. You may gasp at that, but CJ has been able to use a fantastic long term approach to rookies and know what they were capable of in the short term. Of our top six forwards, four were rookies under CJ. Our backup goalie, likely the best backup in the league, was a rookie under CJ. He's nursed McQuaid into being an integral part of our blueline. All the talk last year about him not being able to handle young players focused on Seguin, but it ignored how well he did with McQuaid and Marchand and Kampfer when he was healthy. And now Seguin is our leading scorer. Is there a better coach in the league in terms of developping young talent?Putting Seguin in the penalty box
Ok that one was new, and a smart move.