Monday, August 11, 2008

Who Will Coach the Islanders?

Will it be...

Bob Hartley: The Dangerous Choice

Paul Maurice: The Safe Choice

Scott Gordon: The People's Choice

Fairly or unfairly, Hartley is saddled with the notion that he lost a team in Atlanta. Having won a Stanley Cup with veterans and superstars in Colorado, he seems like a questionable fit for a team with few players in their prime. Fairly or unfairly, Garth Snow would be criticized for hiring the familiar choice. All of these points make for good discussion when there is little hard news. None of them were likely keys to Snow's decision.

Maurice has the benefit of a reputation for effectively developing young talent. He also has 10 seasons of NHL heading coaching experience under his belt. And he's still only 41. It's difficult to form a convincing argument against his candidacy, but Snow wants to hit a home run with this hire. Is that how he sees Maurice?

Gordon's candidacy benefits from the fact that he has never lost an NHL game. That is, as an NHL coach, he has all the potential in the world and virtually none of the baggage that tinges perceptions of everyone already in the league. If you want to grab the brass ring of expectations, he would implement a system that would protect Rick DiPietro while giving the goalie and the team their best chance to be successful.

By the time you read this, the choice may have already been made public. Then we can rehash all these perceptions for another two months until the real picture starts to form.

I think we will find that the Islanders are in good hands.

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