Skip to content

The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Holding coaches responsible, it’s not Ovechkin’s fault, CSI: Ottawa, and more!

Jan 22, 2014, 2:46 PM EDT

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

Every Wednesday we publish a little back-and-forth we have via email. We call it the Chip ‘n’ Chase. Yes, it’s a terrible name. Enjoy.

Jason Brough: Hey buddy, so I gotta ask — what did you think of Bill Daly’s comments about the Bob Hartley fine and whether that could open the door for more coaches to be held “responsible” for the actions of their players? I’m not gonna go all conspiracy theory here, but it seems to me coaches just have to grin and bear it when the league hits them in the wallet. So what’s stopping the NHL from holding coaches responsible for more than just guys who start line brawls? After all, coaches are the ones who send the players out on the ice. If a player does something bad out there, isn’t the coach, in a way, responsible? It’s like the argument that parents should have to pay for the crimes that their kids commit. Even though it wasn’t the parent who spray-painted the school (or whatever it is that bad kids do these days), in some cases the parent is held responsible.

Mike Halford: Thanks for that link. Now I know that, in Oregon, parents are liable when their child commits an intentional or reckless tort. “Oh for God’s sake, Billy, another reckless tort? You need to find some new friends, young man.” Anyway, there’s definite Pandora’s Box potential here — picture an NHL where the coach bears greater responsibility for his players. Now picture the Toronto Maple Leafs, who’ve racked up 22 games worth of suspensions this year. Don’t you think the Leafs would be a lot more cognizant of their actions if the guy controlling their ice times could be affected monetarily? Imagine costing Randy Carlyle, I dunno, $25K because you got ticked off and nailed some guy in the head. He wouldn’t even have to tell you that you’re a healthy scratch next game. He’d just do the universal “rubbing fingers” money gesture, and you’d slink off to the press box.

JB: Yeah, the most disciplined teams in the NHL would be the ones with the cheapest coaches. Based on the time Darryl Sutter’s day was ruined by the outrageous price he had to pay for new reading glasses, I figure we’d see a slightly less edgy Kings team. Now, I do have to clarify something: I don’t believe the Hartley fine is necessarily a harbinger of things to come. In that particular case, I think it was a matter of the league not being able to prove that Hartley told Westgarth to start something, so they went with an intentionally vague explanation. Still, Daly’s wording leaves the door open: “I would say that there are certain things that happen on the ice that we will automatically ascribe a certain level of responsibility to the coach, and there are other things that happen, where we don’t use that presumption.” Talk about vague. If I’m a coach, I’d want more defined guidelines than that. OK, change of subject. The Washington Capitals. How much trouble are these guys in?

source: Getty ImagesMH: They’re in a lot of trouble, for the following reasons: 1. Outside of Alex Ovechkin, they’re really struggling to score. Washington has just seven goals over its current six-game losing streak, and of their 134 goals this season, 35 have come from Ovi (which is 26 percent of the Caps’ offense, or just over 1/4 for you fractional enthusiasts.) 2. They stink on the road (8-11-4) and are about to embark on a five-game trip. 3. They’re dysfunctional. When’s the last time a team had three separate trade demands in the first half of the season? I know Dmitry Orlov has since backed off, but the Caps still have unhappy campers in Martin Erat and Michal Neuvirth, and those are just the ones we know about. But let’s circle back to Ovechkin, because he’s in a fascinating situation as the star of two teams with high expectations. We’ve already discussed Russia’s potential shortcomings heading into Sochi, and you just know Ovechkin’s going to shoulder some, or quite possibly a lot, of the blame if those high expectations aren’t met.

JB: Look, I don’t believe Ovechkin is beyond criticism, but he’s not the problem in Washington. The Capitals have a flawed roster, and that ultimately falls on general manager George McPhee. If the Caps miss the playoffs, I find it hard to see McPhee back next season. I understand you can’t completely rip the guy for not going out and getting what his roster so dearly lacks — in my opinion, that’s an elite two-way center and an elite two-way defenseman, and those types of players don’t grow on trees — but the fact is, Washington hasn’t made it past the second round of the playoffs since making the finals in 1998. Numerous coaches have come and gone since then, but the GM has stayed the same. And that Erat trade — if you’re a Caps fans, that’s even more infuriating the way things are going now. Even if Filip Forsberg doesn’t pan out, what a complete waste of a top prospect. Heck, the Caps would’ve been better off if McPhee had just given Forsberg to the Preds.

MH: You might say McPhee made an *puts on sunglasses* Erat-ional decision. YEEAAAHHHH! That’s my CSI: Miami segue into Eugene Melnyk, because we really need to talk about his forensic investigation into the Matt Cooke-Erik Karlsson incident. Specifically, the fact it’s still a thing! Honestly, what’s the point in all this? Cooke reportedly won’t be affected, and neither will the Wild. I would love to have been a fly on the wall when Melnyk presented Gary Bettman with his findings. I like to think Bettman responded as if he was judging a 6th-grade science fair. “That is a very nice diagram, Eugene. Now if you’ll excuse me, Daryl Katz wants to show me his baking soda volcano.”

source: Getty ImagesJB: Did Katz’s volcano work? I bet it didn’t. As for Melnyk, I get the sense even Karlsson thinks this whole investigation is kinda crazy. For the life of me, I just can’t fathom how Melnyk’s going to to prove Cooke intended to injure Karlsson. Maybe he’s discovered a way to read people’s minds? If he has, I think the Sens’ money issues are over, because that’s a profitable invention right there. Like most people, I don’t think Cooke had any malicious intent when he hit Karlsson. In a weird way, though, I enjoy imagining he totally meant to do it. It would be like a great twist at the end of a thriller, when everyone realizes the crazy guy was right all along.

MH: Fade out on Melnyk in a padded room, wearing a straitjacket, as he watches a small black-and-white TV showing Cooke being handed the Lady Byng Trophy.

JB: I just got the chills.

  1. sjsharks66 - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    I was nearing towards the end of the article, sad I had not laughed yet. Then I hit the science fair comment. Good stuff guys.

    • thailer35 - Jan 22, 2014 at 4:17 PM

      “You might say McPhee made an *puts on sunglasses* Erat-ional decision. YEEAAAHHHH! That’s my CSI: Miami segue into Eugene Melnyk…”

      Perfection!

    • imleftcoast - Jan 22, 2014 at 5:16 PM

      Tough crowd. I laughed at the reckless tort, Carlyle finger rub and Sutter’s cheap joke. Isn’t a Brian Burke joke mandatory? Laughing at Melnyk seems cruel, although laughing at Burke could land you in BC provincial court.

  2. faceoff77 - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    This section should be called the “Dump and Chase”. It is essentially the equivalent of a big dump.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jan 22, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      Now that was the funniest party of reading this…

    • micasa81 - Jan 23, 2014 at 2:00 AM

      I.e. very enjoyable…

  3. patthehockeyfan - Jan 22, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    “Yeah, the most disciplined teams in the NHL would be the ones with the cheapest coaches. Based on the time Darryl Sutter’s day was ruined by the outrageous price he had to pay for new reading glasses, I figure we’d see a slightly less edgy Kings team.”

    Classic!!

    And, although sjsharks mentioned the science fair comment, it get’s a second mention here. Hilarious!

    Sometimes I think Brough and Halford are smoking something funny. Thank goodness.

  4. goodellisruiningtheleague - Jan 22, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    Nice to see the Capitals are being as big of a letdown as their neighboring Redskins were this season.

  5. taytay099 - Jan 22, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    I love this Chip ‘n’ Chase segment. Glad you guys are doing some old Kurtenblog style articles again. Reminds me of the Friday Messenger.

Featured video

Illegal hits are down -- but will it last?

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. E. Staal (3240)
  2. C. Crawford (3044)
  3. P. Stastny (2401)
  4. M. Gaborik (2399)
  5. E. Kane (2282)
  1. A. Kopitar (2137)
  2. V. Hedman (2064)
  3. D. Heatley (2008)
  4. J. Franzen (1877)
  5. N. Foligno (1850)