By Chef Dave
I wanted to share with you some thoughts regarding the upcoming season and your approach to the situation that Glen Sather has created for you.
Your approach to coaching has of course been somewhat diametric to your predecessor, particularly in your motivational strategies. While your passion for your team to perform is undeniable and respectable, it may also lead to players being kept on a very short leash that can affect their chemistry on the ice. Chemistry, as you of course know, is not always instantaneous and often requires patience to fully develop. I believe that your approach regarding the frequency of your line changes thus deserves reevaluation.
Toward the end of last season you admitted that it was "frustrating" that you were still making line adjustments in April. While that was of course a valid frustration it is a situation that need not repeat itself this season.
This season the Rangers may bring back as many as 16 skaters from last year, many of who have been with the team for several seasons. This is a gift for a coach like you. Chemistry between these players should already be largely developed. However simply because a player, line or team has one or two bad nights this should not facilitate the rippling effect of the constant tinkering we saw last year. Tom Renney stuck with his line combinations too much, and that needed correction. This season should be the one where the pendulum that swung so far away from Renneys statical approach should come back to a more constructive middle.
The notion of chemistry, perhaps even at the occasional expense of performance, could possibly be the most important tenant of success for this team in the playoffs. The reason is because this team will most likely not challenge for The Presidents Trophy this year, but can have playoff success if it peaks at the right time. Incessant line changes to what has been a relatively healthy team will not facilitate the necessary chemistry at the end of the season, thus offering us a solemn repeat of last year.