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 CookeErik 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. Report: Wild’s Backstrom suffered serious nerve damage in elbow

    Jul 6, 2015, 11:22 PM EDT

    Niklas Backstrom AP

    “It happened pretty fast. All of a sudden two fingers are not working.”

  2. Oilers taking Schultz to arbitration

    Jul 6, 2015, 9:59 PM EDT

    Justin Schultz Getty Images

    25-year-old defenseman struggled mightily last season.

  3. Coyotes sign No. 3 overall pick Strome to entry-level deal

    Jul 6, 2015, 8:48 PM EDT

    Dylan Strome Dylan Strome

    Connor McDavid’s running mate in Erie was the OHL’s leading scorer last season.

  4. Expansion process underway as NHL sends out applications

    Jul 6, 2015, 7:25 PM EDT

    OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 26:  NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman addresses the media prior to Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Canadian Tire Centre on April 26, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens eliminated the Ottawa Senators by defeating them 2-0 and move to the next round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Quebec City and Las Vegas have already expressed interest.

  5. Caps ink Kuznetsov to two-year, $6 million extension

    Jul 6, 2015, 6:08 PM EDT

    Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    Russian forward is coming off a solid rookie campaign.

  6. Bishop Effect: 6-foot-9 goalie ‘trying to make a name for myself’ at Vancouver’s prospect camp

    Jul 6, 2015, 4:29 PM EDT

    JohnMcLean

    That’s him in the blue shirt, standing next to ex-NHL goalie Dan Cloutier… who is 6’1.

  7. Veteran d-man Gervais signs in German League

    Jul 6, 2015, 3:13 PM EDT

    Spent last year with Colorado’s AHL affiliate.

  8. Sabres fill out Bylsma’s staff, hire Lambert away from WHL team

    Jul 6, 2015, 2:17 PM EDT

    2015 Memorial Cup - Championship Getty Images

    His Kelowna Rockets went to the 2015 Memorial Cup.

  9. In pitching free agents, honesty is best policy for Coyotes

    Jul 6, 2015, 12:55 PM EDT

    Don Maloney AP

    “You basically say, ‘I have no idea what’s going on, but it’s a great place to play and we have great fans and a great stadium.'”

  10. Blues add depth on D, sign Benoit

    Jul 6, 2015, 12:02 PM EDT

    Buffalo Sabres v Dallas Stars Getty Images

    Played 59 games for the Sabres last season.

  11. Babcock expects Kadri to be ‘an elite player’

    Jul 6, 2015, 11:23 AM EDT

    Nazem Kadri Getty Images

    “He gets to come in and have a heck of a year and put the screws to us.”

  12. No expansion bid expected from Kansas City

    Jul 6, 2015, 10:52 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v St. Louis Blues Getty Images

    They have the arena, but not the potential owner.

  13. Leafs sign Matthias — one year, $2.3 million

    Jul 6, 2015, 10:12 AM EDT

    Tuukka Rask, Shawn Matthias, Dennis Seidenberg AP

    Finished with a career-high 18 goals last season in Vancouver.

  14. Report: Caps, Kuznetsov working on a 2-3 year extension

    Jul 6, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    The 23-year-old could be in line for a significant raise.

  15. Jackets’ prospect Oscar Dansk loaned to Swedish club

    Jul 5, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    Montreal Canadiens v Columbus Blue Jackets Montreal Canadiens v Columbus Blue Jackets

    He struggled in his first year pro split between the AHL and ECHL.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Voynov (2925)
  2. B. Saad (2853)
  3. R. O'Reilly (2557)
  4. B. Richards (2497)
  5. Z. Kassian (2492)
  1. M. St. Louis (2373)
  2. P. Kessel (2361)
  3. M. Green (2330)
  4. M. Richards (1946)
  5. C. McDavid (1899)