Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Why Guy isn't coaching in the NHL -- this blog's take on it

The Buffalo Sabres fired their head coach Lindy Ruff today, which is huge news because they hired him way back in July 1997.  To put that into perspective, I've doubled in age since he took the job.  (I was 16 then, I'm 32 now.) Many people in jobs that have nothing to do with hockey don't last sixteen years.

Anyway.  With Ruff's firing came the social media speculation that Guy would take over, which always happens when any coach in the NHL is let go.  The Sabres opted (at least in the interim) for Ron Rolston, who had previously been the coach of their AHL affiliate in Rochester.  I did some tweeting myself about why Guy is not currently coaching in the league, and I thought I'd expound on that here.

  • The problems in communicating with players certainly figured in Guy's firing from the Montreal Canadiens nearly four years ago.  Here's the thing:  Guy, by all accounts I've read and by my own brief interactions with him, is an introvert.  Communicating isn't easy.  By his own admission he hired Kirk Muller as assistant because Muller had (and I'm paraphrasing Guy's words here) "something that I don't -- he can talk."  But, you ask, how can he discuss hockey on RDS and not communicate with players?  The answer is that introverts are funny -- I know, I am one.  I can stand up in front of a packed church and do readings but get me with someone one-on-one, and I run for the hills.  But the basic fact is that if Guy wants to coach in the NHL, if he wants to coach anywhere, he has to find a way to get around these issues.  There are ways to learn communication.  Which brings me to my second point:  
  • Teams are turning to the AHL and other minor/junior leagues more and more to find new coaches.  (Case in point:  the Sabres and Ron Rolston.)  If Guy wants to be a head coach in the NHL again, I believe he will have to pay his dues and ride the bus -- something that, as of now, he's unwilling to do.  He has stated on the record that he will accept nothing less than an NHL head coaching position.  

Now, this is PURE SPECULATION, but honestly?  I think Guy's thinking is that he would take an NHL head coaching job if one comes up, but for now, he's enjoying the exposure and contact with the league that his current analyst position on RDS is giving him.

His former assistant in Montreal, Kirk Muller (who is now head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes) said recently when asked that Guy "should be coaching in the NHL."  I do think Guy's second chance in the league will come; he may just have to be very patient.

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