For players and coaches, Phases 3 and 4 of the NHL’s return-to-play plan represents an unprecedented challenge. After four months of inaction, 24 teams will have two weeks of training camp before heading to one of the two hub cities, where they will continue to practice and play two exhibition games each before beginning the qualifying round on Aug. 1.
What’s it like when NHL bench bosses catch up in the off-season? See the comradery between our coaches when they’re not battling it out behind the bench.
NHL coaches go into every game with a plan.
Line combinations, pre-scouts of the opponent, weighing matchups and trying to sift through probabilities are all part of laying that groundwork.
On Wednesday’s episode of In Conversation, Ron MacLean was joined by Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice and Sportsnet broadcaster Cassie Campbell-Pascall.
“I was wondering when you were going to call.”
Paul Maurice heard those words on numerous occasions over the years after dialling the number belonging to Tom Webster, who died of brain cancer earlier this month at the age of 71.
Access all of the webinars in the NHLCA Mentorship Program here!
“When you stand behind the bench… you can tell a guy that sees the game like a coach.” -Maurice
NHL coaches can’t really coach right now, since hockey isn’t being played. So they’re spending their newfound time coaching one another. The NHL Coaches’ Association expedited the launch of its mentorship program by six months to accommodate the thousands of coaches stuck inside and looking for enrichment.
“Todd Woodcroft is just a really nice man,” Maurice told me. “He’s the guy that makes sure people who do nice things get a thank you card. He’s the guy in our group that takes care of all of those things.”
Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice chats with Global News morning about being way from the team, spending more time with his kids and learning how to shoot a bow while social distancing.
The type of coaching carnage that has gone on in the NHL the past few years is borderline historic. Then you have the Lightning’s Jon Cooper and the Jets’ Paul Maurice, the standard-bearers for the lost art of longevity behind the bench. How did they do it?
Ask any Winnipeg Jets fan and they will tell you that a team is only as good as their coach. The moment Paul Maurice stepped up to fill Claude Noel’s position, there was an immediate and noticeable change.