Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Coach Incompetence Advisory System: Pre-Season Edition

Here at Barry Melrose Rocks, it's all about you, the reader. If you're happy, then I'm happy. It's really that simple. Come on! Group hug!

OK... Anyway... To keep you safe -- so that you can enjoy said happiness, of course -- I am proud to introduce to you the NHL Coach Incompetence Advisory System. It will serve to warn you about and help protect you from incompetence behind the bench of your favorite NHL team. Not only that, but it will also be a fun way to discuss who is going to win this year's Pink Slip Award for being the first coach fired during the 2007-08 season.

As you already know, NHL front offices have the quickest trigger fingers this side of the National Rifle Association, at least when it comes to firing head coaches. In fact, in many places (I'm looking at you New Jersey) it's a significant rite of passage to complete a single season behind an NHL bench. As NHL coaches know all too well, 82 games behind the bench and a division title one year is no guarantee that you will have a job the next year.

In an attempt to make you feel safer and more secure as you go about your daily life and while you are attending hockey games this winter, I'm proud to present to you the NHL Coach Incompetence Advisory System. Nation, as coach firing season approaches us yet again, we must be vigilant! This is no time for complacency or indifference. Now, more than ever, we must be aware of which NHL coaches are on the hot seat. Our national security depends on it! To terrify inform you, I have devised a color-coded system which will help guide you in this time of need. Here's the breakdown:

Threat Level: Lamoriello

Firing is imminent. Coaches that are noted as being on the "Lamoriello" threat level pose a serious threat to their team as well as national security, and will likely be fired soon regardless of their past successes with the club and their team's current position in the standings. At a heightened state of "Lamoriello", no coach is safe.

Threat Level: Keenan

The firing of a coach ranked at a "Keenan" threat level is very likely. These coaches will last longer than "Lamoriello" ranked coaches, but make no mistake about it, they are still very dangerous. "Keenan" coaches are cunning during the interview process, but that is where their wits end. Fans and front office personnel alike are quick to catch on to their schemes, and tire of their shenanigans easily. When a coach reaches the heightened state of a "Keenan" threat level, they will likely need only one slip up or losing streak to get bounced.

Threat Level: Lewis

Coaches in the "Lewis" threat level may be there for a variety of reasons. For one, they may be there simply because their hiring in the first place was mind numbing, and even before the season began the fan base was upset. Additionally, they could be coaches who are good at what they do, but have fallen on a streak of bad luck. The bad luck can be due to a number of factors including; massive team injuries, a long losing streak to begin a season, general unrest surrounding the team that has lingered for years due to a recent playoff drought (see: Toronto, Montreal).

Threat Level: Milbury

Those persons ranked in the "Milbury" threat level are the most cunning bench bosses, and therefore the most dangerous. They may be ranked here simply because they are a good coach who has not been given a deserved contract extension or, more likely, they are a coach who has tricked upper management into thinking that they are a good coach. In the case of the latter, the fan base can see right through the bull shit that the coach is throwing, but is absolutely helpless against it. The fan base can only live with the blindness of upper management, and can only hope that the franchise survives the coach's hapless tenure in one piece.

Threat Level: Bowman

This threat level is a simple one; there should be no questioning of coaches ranked here. They are good at what they do and are potentially legendary. Leave them alone so they can do their job and lead the team to glory.

Throughout the year, I'll keep you updated as coaches move up and down the NCIAS. Even though it's very early in the year, there is still the threat of a coach firing in the NHL. We must be prepared! To get you ready for the regular season, here are a few coaches who are beginning the season on the hot seat (in no specific order).

Coach: Paul Maurice

Team: Toronto Maple Leafs

Threat Level: Lewis

Prior to Pat Quinn's tenure, the Leafs had a nasty habit of firing coaches after only a year or two at the helm. Maurice's Leafs missed the playoffs by the skin of their teeth last season to, of all teams, the Islanders and that wound is still stinging. Some salt was poured on the wound after the Senators made a spectacular run to the playoffs last spring. Additionally, the Toronto media will likely eat up the team if they start poorly, after acquiring Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala. This team should surely be better than the 2006-07 edition, and if they falter in the first half and find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture, prepare for a shake up. For the moment, Maurice's job is more than safe.

Coach: Brent Sutter

Team: New Jersey Devils

Threat Level: Lewis

The situation in New Jersey will be an interesting one to watch. This team will not challenge for the Atlantic division title, but should easily find themselves in the playoff hunt. Much like the Leafs, if the team falters there could be turnover. I know it's Brent Sutter's first season behind the bench, but remember, Lou Lamoriello is in charge.

Coach: Mike Keenan

Team: Calgary Flames

Threat Level: Keenan

I shouldn't have to explain this one.

Coach: Wayne Gretzky

Team: Phoenix Coyotes

Threat Level: Lewis

This is the Great One's third season behind the bench in Phoenix, and the team has averaged only 74 points per season during the first two years. It's going to be a tall order to fire the greatest player to ever play the game of hockey, but if the 'Yotes find themselves in the cellar this spring, some one is going to have to take the fall.


  1. This is a thing of beauty. You sir, have invented something better then the slicing of bread. Kudos.

    And its "shennanigoats" not "shenanigans".

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  3. I am in awe. This is will provide oodles of entertainment over the season. I surmise that Ron Wilson is somewhere between Lewis and Milbury.


    @blackcapricorn: I thought shenanigans was that place with all the goofy shit on the walls

    Personally, I always drink to Gretzky 'cuz he looks like the one man who needs to drink on the job. Perhaps that would work for him. I mean, this one time I was plastered while watching the movie "Constantine" and I remember it made more sense the drunker I got. So maybe alcohol could help...