Observations From the Rink: Who Are You Coming Back With?

You can learn a lot about certain coaches by who they choose to come back to. Time and time again coaches are as predictable as any battle tested veteran’s pregame rituals and routines. In some cases fans, hockey parents and even the players can read a coach and their decisions in certain situations like a book.

There’s predictable, strategic, philosophical and then there’s just plain relying on an hunch. Most coaches like to gamble, they play hunches all of the time. Obviously, some hunches don’t always pan out. Where do those hunches come from? Experience, being burned or learning an incredibly important lesson. That’s where the hunches come from for those on the bolt.

From a far, sometimes coaches do some shit that just doesn’t make sense especially after gaining or losing momentum.

If you were the coach who would you come back with?

Clearly some coaches play favourites and always go back to certain lines or “D” Pairings no matter what or they make critical mistakes whether on hunches or preconceived experience and decision making.

There’s a fine line between regaining momentum or losing it.

Obviously, every coach needs to have the pulse of their hockey club.

They need to know what buttons to push to ensure every player performs at their best given their role and identity with the team.

That’s why some decisions from a far just doesn’t make sense. You see all the best coaches are two or three shifts ahead in their mind given the situation or scenario being played out in front of them. The best coaches can play their hockey clubs like a conductor would a symphony. They can tweak the lines or momentum ever slightly or as we seen at any level mess up the entire works.

Coaching the game of hockey is incredibly difficult, but at the same incredibly simplistic. In game adjustments and fine tuning can be complex, but only if you haven’t done the work in practice to prepare your team for anything.

As far as who goes over the boards when, well that’s the entire point of being the bench boss. Knowing full well coaches have a massive hand in changing the course of every game they coach is a shit ton of pressure, but that’s the reality of it.

When coaches rely to heavily on hunches, it’s like what my former coach and mentor(God rest his soul) use to say.

“We can go out there on a wish and prayer.”

As a coach, every shift is calculated, especially in a tight game or series. We all know every game and shift matters, but come playoff time, everything gets magnified.

Who a coach comes back to, speaks volumes to who they trust and ultimately who they will try to win with.

There’s no question coaches can over coach. Ironically, it happens all of the time, they get inside their own heads so much especially when trying to line match that they take away from the nature flow of the game. In these instances they completely ruin any chance of their team settling into a game or maintain momentum within the game. Up two goals or down two goals? Just got scored or just scored?

A shift after the power play or penalty kill, or a shift after being hemmed in, in their own zone. All of the best coaches know exactly who to comeback with.

With the playoffs in the QMJHL in full swing and the NHL playoffs fast approaching, try to watch the game within the game. The chess match between coaches is always intriguing. Obviously, the game is played on the ice, but the intensity and pressure of the playoffs can be felt everywhere.

Why the hell are they coming back with that line?

Why are they double shifting that player?

Why in the hell would they put those players out to key a penalty right now?

Who would you come back with?

Hope you’re enjoying the playoffs?

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