Jack Capuano and the Coaching Paradigm Revolution

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(Ed. Note: This FanPost was submitted by community member JT's Dynasty, who ran into a bit of technical difficulty. It's being posted here by the staff.)

Stop me if you've heard this one before: the coach plays a grizzled "veteran" instead of a young up-and-comer. He cites the hard work that player does, and how they "need more" out of the young guys. He plays Brian Strait, causing you to chug your second bottle of whiskey. This isn't just a Jack Capuano problem, this is something that happens with every coach in the league. Rangers fans are bothered that Glass gets ice time over Lindberg and Girardi gets way too many minutes. Jonathan Drouin wasn't given much by Jon Cooper. Even Mike Babcock, the ultimate NHL CoachTM, has scratched the veteran for the kid, regardless of talent level. But how come? Can't they see that the young kid is just a better player than the old man?

Honestly, they can't. The paradigm of "veteran > youth" is something that's been with them their whole lives. These guys started out in juniors, than the American league, and then the NHL, where the coaches always preached to them the ideals of hard work over talent, and of the power of veterans over the up-and-comer. And when someone repeats concepts to you—particularly a coach you're expecting to learn from—those concepts become reality. Everyone around you believes it, so there's no reason to doubt it. So these paradigms hold as these players become coaches, and they pass them on. It frustrates fans of every team, and if we want better hockey teams, then we need to demand change.

What do brilliant people, the ones that achieve world-shaking greatness, do better than anyone else? It isn't just work ethic—all successful people have that. It's that they are able to look at their paradigms, question them, and move past them. I'm a fan of Jack Capuano. He clearly has a way with the players, his breakouts are beautiful when well-executed, and when the team plays aggressively they're one of the best in the league. But he seems to be unable to address his faults, such as letting his emotions for certain players (such as Brian Strait) override playing someone with more of an upside. The same issue seems to plague Vigneault and Cooper, among others. I'm not advocating for a new coach right now, because I don't know what NHL coach DOESN'T have these paradigms engrained in them. They all seem to have the "veteran mentality", and not only does that weaken the chances of a team's success, it affects the entertainment of the product, as high-talent players are denied both ice time and roster spots.

If we want our team to get better, the answer isn't to fire the coach, it's to have someone in the organization help the coach to improve . NHL coaches already understand strategy and shift times, and all the micro things to help them succeed in the sport. It's time someone helps show them the macro issues with their way of thinking. Much like there was an analytics revolution for front offices, there needs to be a paradigm revolution for coaches.

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