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.

Latest Posts
  1. That didn’t take long: Datsyuk hurt in preseason opener

    Sep 23, 2014, 8:57 AM EDT

    Pavel Datsyuk Getty Images

    Is Detroit in for another injury-filled year?

  2. PHT Morning Skate: D2: Mighty Ducks cast brings back Flying V

    Sep 23, 2014, 7:53 AM EDT

    Marguerite Moreau Marguerite Moreau

    That’s a picture of Marguerite Moreau, who played Connie.

  3. Malone scores in Rangers debut

    Sep 22, 2014, 9:16 PM EDT

    RyanMalone

    Good start for a guy on a two-way deal.

  4. No timetable for Pastrnak (shoulder) to return to B’s

    Sep 22, 2014, 6:53 PM EDT

    David Pastrnak Getty Images

    “We’ve got to wait to see how it heals.”

  5. Flames ‘worried’ about Backlund’s abdominal injury

    Sep 22, 2014, 5:53 PM EDT

    Mikael Backlund Getty Images

    He’s been unable to skate since camp started.

  6. Dillon says contract stalemate with Dallas ‘sucks’

    Sep 22, 2014, 5:11 PM EDT

    BrendenDillonGetty Getty Images

    “You grow up playing hockey and you’re thinking ‘oh, I just want to play the game, it’s so much fun.’ Then you realize it is your job.”

  7. Drouin (upper body) shelved at Bolts camp

    Sep 22, 2014, 4:49 PM EDT

    Jonathan Drouin AP

    But it “shouldn’t be a long-term, lingering thing.”

  8. Will less ‘swarming’ help the Leafs in the defensive zone?

    Sep 22, 2014, 3:41 PM EDT

    Randy Carlyle AP

    Randy Carlyle is making some changes to the way Toronto defends.

  9. Bettman: NHL won’t expand ‘just to fulfill somebody’s notion of symmetry’

    Sep 22, 2014, 2:20 PM EDT

    Bettman

    Currently there are 16 teams in the East and 14 in the West.

  10. Even some agents don’t get what Overhardt is doing with Johansen demands

    Sep 22, 2014, 2:02 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Six Getty Images

    “I think it’s been terribly mishandled by the player and the agent.”

  11. Report: Johansen lowers demands, but not low enough

    Sep 22, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Ryan Johansen AP

    Meanwhile, Kurt Overhardt has a warning for the frustrated Blue Jackets management.

  12. Despite power-play prowess, Yannick Weber has to ‘contribute five-on-five’

    Sep 22, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT

    Vancouver Canucks v Calgary Flames Getty Images

    “We know he has a great shot and that’s a bonus for him.”

  13. Hurricanes owner seeking investor to commit ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’

    Sep 22, 2014, 12:11 PM EDT

    Hurricanes Front Office Shakeup Hockey AP

    But Peter Karmanos wants to retain control of the team.

  14. Johnston’s system is ‘less strict’ than Bylsma’s

    Sep 22, 2014, 11:39 AM EDT

    Mike Johnston AP

    “It’s nice having a little more freedom, in that regard, especially for the creativity that’s on our team,” says Beau Bennett.

  15. The Caps have a plan to rejuvenate Mike Green

    Sep 22, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT

    Mike Green Getty Images

    “I think what we’re going to do as a team will be right up his alley.”

  16. Flyers counting on MacDonald to play huge role

    Sep 22, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT

    Andrew MacDonald Getty Images

    He’ll get tougher assignments with Kimmo Timonen sidelined indefinitely.

  17. Iginla has ‘real good chemistry’ with Duchene

    Sep 22, 2014, 8:58 AM EDT

    Matt Duchene, Jarome Iginla AP

    Colorado is counting on the duo to be very effective this season.

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. R. Johansen (2797)
  2. J. Harding (2269)
  3. S. Crosby (1909)
  4. B. Ryan (1473)
  5. J. Drouin (1435)
  1. D. Kuemper (1194)
  2. C. Giroux (1191)
  3. N. Horton (1089)
  4. E. Malkin (1062)
  5. D. Alfredsson (1041)