Is Gordon setting himself -- and Islanders fans -- up for a fall?
On balance, newly appointed New York Islanders coach
Gordon talking about desire, that's good. Talking about having a belief in self, that's really good and necessary. Talking about growing along with the team and developing players, well that's a given.
But when Gordon, to date a career coach who's taking his first tentative steps into the NHL, mentioned the words "Stanley Cup" and the Islanders in the same sentence it was a big mistake.
It's not that he wasn't correct when he said, "You have to have the belief that you're going to win the Stanley Cup." And he wasn't off base when he clarified by adding, "To do that, you have to believe that you could win every game. Whatever the situation is, you go into every game believing you could win."
But Gordon could have made that point without mentioning the Cup, something Islander fans haven't seen in decades. Those are the kind of words that tend to doom coaches once the final accounts on a season are taken.
It happens all the time, but for reference purposes let's just go back to last fall when
As we all know, the Leafs missed the postseason for a third straight time, and though one could make the argument that Maurice turned in the best coaching performance of his three years in Toronto, he was still dismissed.
Dicey thing, that Cup speech. It's designed to pump up morale and help players believe they can compete for the game's ultimate prize. At the same time, it's the lightning rod that often carries the current of disappointment for fans and media, who, in the end, make it easier for the general manager to place blame on one easily replaced person when everyone knows the real problem is a poor team that not even the second coming of
Given that we all know the Islanders, in their current state, are that kind of a failed franchise, invoking the Cup is dangerous. Islanders ownership is, well, inept. General manager
It shouldn't be that way, but then if you look at the Islanders,
It's not like any of those men didn't know how to coach. (OK, take your best shot on Milbury, but I'll argue he knew coaching -- it was just managing where he might been a little eccentric.) It's just that nearly all of them faced the same problem that Gordon faces now: not enough talent.
Now, every NHL team seems to face that
This is a team that simply isn't run well, hasn't been for years. It's the kind of place where experienced coaches like
Gordon, no doubt, understands that. He didn't get this job because he was the best man available. He got it because he's an up-and-coming coach who deserves his shot at the NHL -- and also because of the combination of having more experienced men not wanting it and a general manager who probably wouldn't be comfortable with them if they had.
It's possible it could all work out for Gordon. Owner
But at the end of the day, Gordon signed on to coach a poor hockey team that struggles to attract talent from the ownership office on down. Want proof? Just dig up that picture of just two seasons ago when Wang was surrounded by Nolan, Milbury, former GM
It may well be that Leafs defenseman
Florida could be that team, but McCabe's Toronto ticket is high, in excess of $6 million for the upcoming season and $4.15 million in each of the two remaining years after this one. The New York Islanders are said to be interested if they can make the contract work and convince McCabe that his offseason home would also be a great place to play his remaining hockey years.
The New York Rangers are said to be interested if they can create cap space, and that's close to his offseason home as well. Boston might have interest but there is doubt that McCabe has interest in the Bruins. He might take a look at the Philadelphia Flyers if the Flyers can make cap space.