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Ottawa, ON • Canada • 30 Years Old • Male
Concerning NHL year-end awards, deciding who is the most deserving candidate to take home (x) awards, is always a fickle question. Take the James Norris, for example. Some people would argue that unless a younger player was unquestionably the most dominant patroller of the back end, the trophy should otherwise be awarded to a previous winner. In other words, in tight races past performance matters. When it comes to the Hart purists say that it should be awarded based on the definition of the trophy (it should be awarded to the most valuable player to his team, as opposed to others who say it should go to the leagues most dominant player). But no award, in my opinion, is murkier than the Jack Adams.

Even the most hardcore hockey fan rarely pays any attention to this award, and for good reason. For the most part our opinions have to be tempered. Even in this day in age, with all the technological innovations that give us a closer and greater accessibility to the game: streamed interviews and games, mic'd up referees, players using twitter, and so on. Even with all these things we still know squat about what impact each coach has on his team. For this reason, the three coaching candidates are always selected for the same reasons. One is usually the coach of the best team. One is always the coach of the most improved team. And the third candidate is more often than not the coach who dealt with the most injuries and still made the playoffs.

The following is a mixture of revived debates and innovations of my own that, if implemented, would give fans a greater perspective of who the best coaches in the league really are.

1) The challenge: This has been debated for almost a year now. It was initially proposed by Dale Tallon, currently the general manager of the Florida Panthers. He argues that the NHL should make a rule to allow for each coach to challenge one call per game. I personally like the rule. Sure, it is one more play stoppage, but it also allows the coaches to utilize their hockey knowledge.

2) Expand the delay of game penalty: Remember when the unorthodox Mike Keenan used to pull his goalie whenever there was an offensive zone faceoff with say only 5 seconds left on the clock in any given period? This was considered by some as insanity and others as innovative coaching. Well, just to offer coaches more control over the game I thought of a rule where a two minute penalty would be called on the team who iced the puck while the opposing teams goalie was pulled. This could allow coaches to gamble more often. Say, to pull the goalie with 30 seconds left instead of 5. It could also be more exciting for fans and a reason to stay tuned even when their team was down by a few goals.

3) Managing minutes: What if a rule existed where a forward could not exceed 20 minutes of playing time during regulation, or no defenseman could exceed 25 minutes. Conversely, what if every player dressed, barring injury, needed to play at least 5 minutes in a game. This would put the onus on coaches to use their players' minutes more wisely. It would also make for tesne scenario's during the end of the game (if a key player was say capped out and had to sit), or match-ups during the game (coach doesn't play player x because he wants to save his minutes for later). Before ridiculing the idea, do not forget that it would be easy to manage who has played how many minutes... in fact, it already happens.

Agree or disagree these three suggestions were merely to generate discussion. Ask yourself: should coaches have a greater impact on the outcome of games (like in football)? or should it be decided mainly by the skill of the players? To be honest with you, I am on the fence on this one. What I can say though, is that until there becomes more criteria in which judge coaches, discussions surrounding the Jack Adams award will remain pointless. In the words of Friedrich Nietzche "if something is unknowable, why continue to insist that it is thinkable?"

I leave you with your thoughts,

Curt Romey

please visit the blog of Aaron and Curt at www.puckpotpourri.blogspot.com
Filed Under:   Norris   Keenan   Jack Adams   NHL   Hockeybuzz   Dale Tallon  
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