Saturday, December 09, 2006

Early Coach Of The Year

Generally, my opinions of who should win coach of the year are different from those of the mainstream media. Usually, they award coach of the year to the coach of the most improved team regardless of whether or not that coach is the main reason for the improvement. It often removes established coaches from the running because their team was good last season and is again good this season. Last season I supported Jacques Lemaire as coach of the year despite the fact he had little chance of winning the award.

This season, the choice for coach of the year appears to be so clearcut, that even the coach of the most improved team method will not get it wrong. The coach of the year, at this point in the season, is clearly Ted Nolan of the New York Islanders. Nolan took over an Islander team that was poorly run and in chaos and awarding record long term contracts to mid-level goalies. All predictions had the Islanders failing miserably.

So far this season, that hasn't happened. If the season ended right now, the Islanders would qualify for a playoff berth with seventh seed in the east. Even Alexei Yashin is playing hard and looks like he cares. A lot of that credit goes to Ted Nolan. In has last coaching job, he was coach of the year with Buffalo in 1996/97 only to find himself out of a job and unable to get back to the NHL for almost a decade. He is proven to be a good coach who can get the best out of his players.

This coach of the year pick might get more contreversial if the Islanders fall in the standings and look to miss the playoffs (which would not surprise me). Nevertheless, Nolan would still be doing a wonderful job coaching this team. He made a team in chaos into a playoff contender.

I am not the only one praising Ted Nolan. Here is Lyle Richardson doing the same.

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