New York City isn’t a huge hockey town. While it’s gotten much better, especially as the play of the Rangers has improved, it’s still not a huge topic on the sports talk stations or in the newspapers. But while New York doesn’t love hockey, it does love a dramatic sporting trainwreck, so even if a sport isn’t popular, an imploding coach can still grab some ink by ruining his team. Unfortunately for the NHL local teams, there’s really no coaching drama, so as a result, you don’t see very much written about Rangers coach Tom Renney, who’s doing an average job so far this season. And if the Rangers aren’t getting much attention, you can be sure the Islanders, who live in that second-class tier of New York City sports (along with the Mets, Jets, and Nets, strangely enough) aren’t either. And it’s a shame, because I’m really loving Isles coach Ted Nolan more and more. This Greg Logan post covers most of the reasons why:
- As a coach, he only thinks strategy. He doesn’t think about payroll or personalities or feelings. That’s what lets him put a checker like Richard Park on the top line and move a more offensive (but also gritty) Ruslan Fedotenko to the checking line.
- As a person, he just seems so centered. He managed to protect the dignity of Chris Simon and Canada’s First Nation while still expressing disgust for Simon’s insane stomping of Jarkko Ruutu. He also seems genuinely proud of his own kids, one of who is expected to make his NHL debut for the Hurricanes tonight.
Now, if he could only get the Isles to score.