Why is the Coach Always to Blame?

Peter LavioletteWhen adults visit the therapist to hash out their issues, it always comes back to mom. Sure, mothers may not always be perfect, but their heart is in the right place; most of the time.

The same is true for NHL coaches. Not one of them signs their contract with the intention of being behind the bench for a losing season. After all, as the saying goes, if you are not first, you’re last.

Coaches just like players want to win, but when the team doesn’t whose fault is it?

Is it the goaltender who couldn’t keep the puck out of the net? The offense who forgot where the opposing team’s net is? Is it the defense that made all of those costly turnovers?

In the end, the blame falls squarely on the man behind the bench because his is the only contract that is expendable. You can’t get rid of that high priced goaltender that hasn’t blocked a shot in weeks. He has a no trade clause. Then there is your superstar who likes to party and score off the ice more than he does on. What do you do with him? Fire him and ask for a refund?

No, you can’t do that either. Nor can you send the entire team down to the minors and bring up your farm team no matter how much the general manager may want to.

Management simply fires the man who stands behind the players in the hopes that a shakeup will somehow wake up the guys wearing the skates to play inspired hockey.

This is what the Philadelphia Flyers are hoping after they fired their coach Peter Laviolette three games into the 2012-13 season. It is what the New York Rangers are counting on after they fired their fireball in charge John Tortorella after yet another playoff failure by the Broadway Blueshirts.

Tortorella quickly found work with the Vancouver Canuks who also axed their coach after he failed to deliver. In an amusing coincidence, the former Canuck head guy simply swapped jobs with Tortorella who took his.

See, there is the really funny thing. One team’s unemployed coach suddenly becomes another’s savior.

Amusing isn’t it considering he was canned from one job because he couldn’t produce. Yet somehow a change in zip code makes him a winner. Or is it that the new set of players he is in charge of just wants to win more?

Who knows? It is simply one of hockey’s best kept secrets. Either way, Laviolette probably won’t be out of work for too long since someone’s losing streak will create a job opening for him.

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