Friday, December 10, 2010

Signs your players have quit on you

Maybe I should start a blog so that
they'll ban me from the building.
We're well into the season's second quarter, and that means we can finally stop with the caveats about how it's too early to make any firm judgements and get down to reckless speculation about which coaches are about to be fired.

The season has already seen one coach lose his job, with the Islanders relieving Scott Gordon of his duties in November. There's also been plenty of early-season speculation around Toronto's Ron Wilson and New Jersey's John Maclean, and the circling vultures have also been spotted in cities like Calgary, Buffalo and Ottawa.

As soon as a coach's job seems to be in jeopardy, attention inevitably turns to the players. How are they reacting? Do they seem to be working harder to save his job? Or have they committed the ultimate sin and quit on their coach in an effort to speed his exit?

Accusing players of giving less than their best can be a touchy subject, but there are some telltale signs that it could be happening. So if you happen to be an NHL coach of a struggling team, you'll want to keep an eye out for these subtle sign that your players want you out.
  • The chants for you to be fired are getting louder and louder, which seems like a bad sign since you're sitting on the team bus on the way to the game.

  • Every time you try to address the team during a timeout, you can't help but notice the players all looking at their "What Would Ken Hitchcock Do?" bracelets.

  • Star players are occasionally deviating from their assignments during the crucial final minutes of close games; for example, instead of your first line winger being one stick length from the top of the faceoff circle with backside coverage of the point man and an active stick clogging the passing lane, he's in the dressing room playing Xbox with the starting goaltender.

  • In addition to "Jim from High River" and "Bill from Strathmore", the post-game radio show has started getting calls demanding your firing from "Jarome from the first line".

  • When the team captain says "We're all doing our best to win for our coach" during a post-game interview, he makes those finger quotes for the words "best", "win" and "coach".

  • When you angrily tell your lazy star player that he can either do things your way or pack his bags, he just looks up from the pages of his 15-year $100 million contract and asks "Sorry, do I know you?".

  • During the team Christmas party, all the players' children keep climbing up on Santa's lap, pointing in your direction, and making a throat slash gesture.

  • After you call a player into your office to discuss a mistake they made in the previous period, he replies "Gosh, I hope you're not that critical of me next game when you're on the TSN intermission panel."

  • During practice, Jason Spezza and Alexei Kovalev aren't trying as hard as usual during the "commit a lazy neutral zone turnover then nonchalantly circle back without bothering to cover anyone" drills, although come to think of it why do we even have those in the first place?

  • While you realize that an occasional accidental puck shot into the bench is an occupational hazard that you just have to deal with, it still seems excessive to have it happen thirty or forty times during the pregame warm-up.

  • Nobody has come right out and told you that you're about to be replaced by some unqualified rookie who talks a big game but is in way over his head, but they've already arranged for Don Cherry to introduce him.


  1. Can't we all stick to hockey and not politics DGB. No need for cheap shots at politicians it's below you and too easy cause they are all scum. Aside from that Hilarious

  2. I just love all these Kovalchuk jokes the most...great stuff...keep up the good work!!!

    Greets from Switzerland!

  3. I totally agree with Dr. Awesome: no need for cheap shots at politicians. However, well-deserved spearing of buffoons and demagogues is welcome. The last one was the best joke in the piece.

  4. if you can harpoon hockey players and politicians in the same joke, two thumbs up.

  5. pure, 24-karat gold, DGB! all of it. yes, including the apt foray into toronto politics.

  6. Yeah, screw Ford. Screw democracy! Much better to elect commies and pinkos! Whats the city budget look like after years of Miller?

  7. Sorry, folks, but that shot at Mayor Buffoon was both well-deserved and timely- the perfect end point of a great post. Funny how no one's chiding Cherry for not doing the same thing, that is, keeping his nose out of politics, especially when he makes a living off of taxpayer money.

  8. GREAT stuff Sean. Some of your best.

  9. This is obviously fake - I've actually heard Jim from High River and Bill from Strathmore make those calls, but Jarome from the first line actually seems to be happy plodding along without any chance at a Stanley Cup - ever.

    And c'mon "Anonymous", that could be ANY 15 year $100M guy - lay off poor Kovy...he's just going thru a rough patch.

    And since I have no inclinations regarding Toronto's pinko politics, easily the best part was the throat slash Santa pose - think I can get a pic of that for one of those picture ornaments to hang on my tree?

  10. "•During the team Christmas party, all the players' children keep climbing up on Santa's lap, pointing in your direction, and making a throat slash gesture." HA Pure Gold.

  11. Yeah, that last joke was great.

    Oh, and AZR: the answer to your question is "balanced."

  12. the throat slash line was phunnie but we liked this >>>

    ... he makes those finger quotes for the words "best", "win" and "coach".

    the best. good stuff right there, yes sir, good stuff.

  13. 'Yeah, screw Ford. Screw democracy! Much better to elect commies and pinkos! Whats the city budget look like after years of Miller?"

    He left a surplus.

  14. I don't live in Toronto, so I'm avoiding the Mayor Ford joke all together. :)
    Anyways, I loved the part about the player using finger quotes.

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  16. Dear Easily Offended:

    A) You do realize that Don Cherry also introduces some of the top ten overall picks in the upcoming draft during his last Coach's Corner of the season? Because, you see, they're likely to be playing in the NHL next season, despite being in wildly over their heads.
    B) It's a joke, for Christ's sake. Laugh a little.

  17. Excellent article and the "political" joke was awesome. My fave was probably the Spezza/Kovalev drill example but that's because I'm a Sens fan and it's all too sadly true.

  18. Maybe it's just me, but Rob Ford and George Smitherman strapping on the skates and then dropping the gloves?

    I'd pay to watch that.

  19. Rob Ford was my football coach. He ain't all that bright. The shot he took at him was totally minor anyway. "over his head". The Toronto Star said a lot worse about him than DGB. It was more of a shot at Cherry I think.

    DGB no offense but I haven't seen you write too many serious things lately. I know your forte is sports comedy but I used to enjoy your serious opinion too. I haven't been reading too much lately. I'll check the archives.

  20. "Jarome from the first line" cracked me up.

  21. I dunno about buffoon, but anti-immigrant, anti-gay, and clueless about public transportation are pretty accurate descriptions of Racist Rob. XD