Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Schultzie here, one of the Carolina Hurricanes reps at HLOG, but if you've read my personal site, you see I focus more on my local major junior team, the Tri-City Americans. As a result, I'm going to pulling sort of double duty, at least for a while. So I'll start with Peter Laviolette and then discuss Don Nachbaur.

The 08-09 season is Lavi's 5th behind the 'Canes bench, 7th as an NHL coach. Prior to joining the Hurricanes he coached the New York Islanders for two seasons. He ranks third on the list of U.S.-born NHL coaches with 232 career wins.

The Hurricanes lost a chance at the playoffs on the final night of the 07-08 regular season, marking the 2nd season in a row of not making the playoffs after winning the Stanley Cup in 2006. There were questions about whether Lavi would get the axe or whether GM Jim Rutherford would remain confident in the man that got the 'Canes to the Cup in '06. In all fairness to Laviolette, the two bad seasons after the Cup year the Hurricanes were decimated by injuries as well as an ineffective defense. Laviolette didn't have much to work with.

But Rutherford hemmed and hawed all summer, not giving any indication whether Lavi was staying or leaving. As a 'Canes fan who like Lavi's style, it was more than aggravating.

Finally in September (srsly!) Rutherford says all is well. From the News and Observer:

With the Carolina Hurricanes fast approaching a new hockey season, general manager Jim Rutherford has given some assurances to coach Peter Laviolette.

In short, Laviolette's job will not hang in the balance from game to game nor will the coach be given a short leash by management.

This fan was ecstatic. I am a huge Lavi fan. I love his style of coaching, it's what drew me to watching the 'Canes and narrowing them down as my team of choice. He has 'em play with a very aggressive forecheck, stressing offense. This is risky because when you're pressuring up front, you're leaving that back end vulnerable to odd-man rushes the other way. So when the system works, it works great (see, Stanley Cup season). But it's a gamble and if your defense sucks it's even worse (see, 2 seasons since winning the Cup).

I also believe he's a pretty good motivator because the 'Canes have a way of being able to come from behind more often than would be expected. So I don't know what he says to them, but it seems to get through. He will also switch out goalies if they're losing, not always because it's the goalie's fault (sometimes it is) but to wake up the team in front of the net to play better.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It all depends on this year now. He better do his job!