By Sean McIndoe (The Athletic)
NHL teams love hiring former players as coaches. You could argue that makes perfect sense, since nobody is better suited to understand the details of the game than somebody who spent years learning it up close. You could also argue that this is just more evidence of hockey’s old boys club, with the same names recycling through the league because their buddies keep hiring them. Whichever side you’re on, you could certainly find a few coaching stints that would support your view.
Today, we’re going to try a different angle, with a pair of rosters made up of modern-era NHL stars who became coaches. Who you got? Guys who went on to coach one of their former teams, or guys who coached elsewhere?
I kind of love this concept, because in theory it shouldn’t be close. We’re talking about an era with more than 20 franchises, so even if the average star suits up for a few teams in their career, the odds are solidly stacked against the “own team” side. The numbers are just overwhelmingly against them. But of course, we know it won’t work out that way, because star players always seem to wind up coaching the same team they played for.
Or do they? It’s not universal, and you can probably already think of one star who’s going to wind up on the “other teams” squad that could tilt the balance. I’m genuinely curious how this will turn out.