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Hockey Challenge 2014

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A word about Coaches

Yesterday, the Tbirds officially announced Steve Konowalchuk as their new Head Coach. Konowalchuk (which, for the purposes of brevity we'll call Coach K from this point on) has WHL and NHL playing experience and NHL coaching experience before arriving in Seattle.

I've seen it stated here on the blog and other places that Coach K is "great hire" or a "good hire" by most fans, presumably based on the aforementioned playing and coaching experience.

Here is the thing about coaches...

My belief is that coaches generally fall into 1 of 3 categories. You are either a really good, difference making coach who can influence the game in a positive way and have the ability to get players to play up to and beyond their potential. You are a really bad coach who can make a difference in a negative way or you are somewhere in the middle. I would say that 10% fall into the upper category, 10% fall into the bottom and the rest are in the middle.

Most coaches really don't have that much effect on the game. I know that is really hard for people to believe and especially the people who have apparently felt like Rob Sumner was on the ice for the past two seasons while the team missed the playoffs. Coaches just don't have that much impact on games. A great coach can make a difference and a bad coach can make a difference in the wrong direction but it is the players who control the outcome of the game a majority of the time.

Coach K even confirmed this yesterday by saying that the system the team played was less important than the players buying into that system and then going out and executing that system. (Shout out to Thom Beuning for a great interview with Steve and can be found here.)

I'm getting a little off track... but here is the point. Coach K may have WHL and NHL playing experience and NHL coaching experience but that doesn't mean he is automatically a "good hire" or even a "good coach". The most obvious and glaring example was Isaiah Thomas in the NBA. Great player, horrible coach. Coaches also don't have to have NHL playing experience to be a great coach. Don Hay has NHL coaching experience but never played in the NHL.

I think it's great that GM Russ Farwell was able to hire a coach with such extensive playing and coaching experience but that isn't going to automatically ensure that he will be a great coach. It also won't change the fact that Seattle has four years worth of busted 1st round bantam selections or that Seattle will be pretty short on defense if Ryan Button isn't returned by the Boston Bruins.

Hopefully for the sake of the Seattle Thunderbirds and their fans this IS a "great hire" but the fact is... we probably won't get a verdict on that for a couple of years.


Steve Konowalchuk

The news is out. The Avalanche blog at the Denver Post is reporting that former Portland Winterhawk, Washington Capital and Colorado Avalanche, Steve Konowalchuk will be named the new coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Konowalchuk, has been an assistant coach to Joe Sacco in Colorado for the past two seasons.

Links can already be found here for the Denver Post blog and here for Jim Riley's report in the Seattle Times.

Join me in welcoming Steve to Seattle. Let's all hope he can take the Tbirds to the top of the mountain in the years to come.


Seattle Prospects

The always interesting annual Prospects post by Alan Caldwell is up. Most interesting to me is the number of players we have listed and especially the goaltenders (3).

The post can be found here.

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