TOO MANY COACHES....
Back after a travel day from Montreal and an off day courtesy of my generous editor (Thank You Rob!)
The Flyers had an off day themselves today, so the only contact we had with the team was through a few conference calls with Kimmo Timonen, Mike Richards and John Stevens.
You might be a little surprised by what they had to say about Sidney Crosby... but you'll have to check out the Wednesday edition of the Daily Times for that story...
Instead, I'll tel you a little anecdote that Stevens passed on to us about his preparation for playing Pittsburgh.
Pulling out a coaching tactic he learned from Colorado Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville back in the days when Quenneville was coach of the Springfield Falcons of the AHL and Stevens was a player, Stevens asked each Flyer to do research and provide a scouting report to the them about one player.
Stevens handed out assignments based on matchups, so it's a safe bet that Evgeni Malkin went to Timonen and Crosby went to Hatcher, or something like that.
Stevens: “I had one coach that did something similar to that and I thought as a player it was very helpful. It narrows your focus and really gives you top to bottom look at their personnel. I played for Joel Quenneville in Springfield and we did that one year and I thought as a player it was good. It usually makes for some good humor. It gets the guys to interact. There is usually something that comes out that is a lot of fun. It doesn’t take a long time to do it and you usually end up learning more about the other team them you might have already known. Some of these guys have played together and they know each other well. Some of these guys have played in World Junior Tournaments together have grown up together so it is something fun that we do and it has value as well.”
Q: Any rhyme or reason who gets who?
Stevens: “We assign guys whether its similar guys who they are going to be playing against each other or guys that have played together before. There is thought that goes into it and everybody gets a player.”
The one thing that can be said about Stevens is... he keeps the guys loose at a time when being tense is the norm.
A lot of people were questioning his coaching ability down the stretch of the regular season, but let me be perfectly clear - the guy can coach.
And when the games are most important, he thrives. I witnessed it first hand in the AHL during the lockout.
Trent Yawney, who coached in Chicago, and some guy named Michel Therrien - the guy currently coaching the Penguins.Don't be surprised if Stevens has a trick or two up his sleeve for the Pens in this series that Therrien may have missed in his preparation.