When I was a kid in small town Saskatchewan, we always had farmer coaches for hockey. That’s because the rest of the dads worked all winter while farmers had to wait for the snow to melt so they either curled or coached hockey to pass the time.
Most of these guys spent most of their days alone on a tractor or milking cows, so their communication skills were either non-existent or honed to a minimalist edge, depending on how you wanted to look at it.
I don’t think I ever had a coach who said more than 10 words at practise. “Stick in both hands.” “Hit somebody.” “Pass, pass, shoot, okay?”.
To them the game wasn’t complicated. And it was too cold on outside rinks to stand around and bullshit about strategy and theory anyway.
These days, there’s so much bullshit analysis on television, you forget that the game really isn’t that complicated. But you soon realize that the blowhard coaches, the never won a cup coaches, the never even got to be coaches and the so full of it nobody’s got a clue what they’re talking about coaches have come to dominate the landscape.
While the farmer coaches just get the job done and keep playing.
The best example of these guys is Daryl Sutter of the LA Kings. A team that wasn’t supposed to get this far (except in the demented handicapping system of evil Will Pascoe) and now seems poised to maybe go all the way.
If they do, Jonathan Quick, Drew Doughty and others will get all the glory. And the guy most responsible will quietly go back to Alberta and catch up with the cows.
Here’s a lovely little clip of how one of the smarter LA sports guys looks at their farmer coach. It’s also yet another glaring example of the difference between real show biz and real hockey and what passes for both on “Coach’s Corner” on CBC.
Meanwhile in the Infamous Writers Hockey Pool, there has been similar minimal movement.
Michael Foster now leads, followed awfully closely by Peter Wildman and Todd Gordon. All of them followed by a lot of guys still “avoiding elimination”.
Sadly, that might not be the case for a couple of teams by the time we reconvene on Monday.