Most hockey teams have two variables: players and coaching.
If you have good players and a good coach, you’re most likely going to have a good team.
It’s tougher to be successful with only good coaching or good players.
But you also have to factor in the type of coach. Some coaches are very good, but only with specific types of players. John Tortorella of the New York Rangers is a good example of this. He’s great as long as he’s got fast forwards and puck-shooting defensemen. But lacking those pieces, he’s not much of a coach.
Conversely, Dave Tippett found instant success in Phoenix because his defensive style meshed perfectly with the Coyotes line-up.
I bring this all of this up because the Columbus Blue Jackets have offered their coaching job to Guy Boucher, an AHL coach best known for innovating a 1-3-1 forecheck that features a defenseman carrying the puck.
It sounds like an interesting system and it’s proved successful in the AHL, but who on the Blue Jackets will carry the puck?
And will this kind of system work in the NHL? Or will teams find it ridiculously easy to defend?
Bob Hunter is nervous about Boucher for a few reasons, even though he seems like the kind of coach who could adjust if his 1-3-1 didn’t work in the NHL.
But it still raises of the question of why the Blue Jackets are trying to bring in a coach whose coaching style doesn’t mesh with their team’s composition.
It’s great that they’re thinking outside of the box and are interested in a young, inventive coach, but why bring in a coach who won’t be able to successfully run his system?
You see this sort of thing in the NFL. A team will bring in a coach with a system that just don’t work with a team’s players. Of course, in the NFL, it’s a lot easier to change the look of a team. In the NHL, it’s a lot more of a challenge.
Boucher is a smart guy. He’s supposed to be a great motivator. He’s young and inexperienced, but sometimes that’s what a team needs. But if the Blue Jackets want him to come in and run his 1-3-1 without mobile defensemen, they’re going to be very disappointed.
System-oriented coaches are great because you know they’ll come in a install their system. The problem is when the personnel can’t run the system.
That looks likes a real danger if Boucher takes the Columbus job.