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Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth


[Note: I've talked with Chemmy and PPP, and they've agreed to open up the comments section on this post only as a show of good faith because we have the best commenters in the world!]

As the saying goes "Too many cooks spoil the broth". As the Toronto Maple Leafs go, too many coaches spoil the on-ice product. In his announcement that he will be leaving the organization and his position as goaltending consultant/coach, Francoise Allaire was very adamant about how he felt the Leafs were mismanaged with regards to the goaltender coaching duties.

"To be honest, I don’t think the Leafs need a goalie coach," Allaire, whose contract expired at the end of the season, said in a phone interview on Monday. "I think they have enough of them. They have two or three guys who were making decisions with the goalies. In the NHL, that’s not the way it works.


"I didn’t feel like I could do my job last year," he said. "I wasn’t getting enough ice time. I wasn’t the only guy with [the goalies]. It’s not fair to the kids, not fair to me, not fair to anybody … I didn’t feel like I could work in this situation."

Looking at the Leafs' coaching roster, this "other guy" would most likely have been Scott Gordon, the former NY Islanders head coach and "professional" goaltender who never had a single pro season in any league with a sv% over .900. In his coaching duties, he was a member of the Providence Bruins staff for eight seasons and in his last (as head coach), he coached Tuukka Rask to his worst full professional season to date where Rask finished with a .905 sv%. If Gorden is the third man in this, it'd be akin to Uwe Boll showing up on the set of Saving Private Ryan and trying to take things over for Spielberg. It's just absurd and I can see why Allaire felt jaded and unwanted on the Leafs.

I have a similar story from my coaching days. Follow me after the jump for that and more.

Three years ago I joined the New Canaan Winter Club as an assistant coach for their Squirt C (the lowest travel tier in the state) hockey team. It was a blast, and the team was very successful winning about 80% of their games. The kids had a great time and the focus on hockey fundamentals by the head coach and myself really furthered their development as hockey players.

Since it was so much fun, and since the opportunity arose the next season, I told the league I would like the vacant head coaching position for the Squirt C team (the head coach moved on to PeeWees). They said yes and were very enthusiastic about it, except without my knowledge they told one of the parents on the team that he could also be head coach. As you can imagine, this led to a lot of confusion on the team among the coaches, parents, and players. It also led to a heated discussion in the lobby that almost led to my leaving the team half way through the season. Whereas the previous year the team thrived by being coached on hockey fundamentals and were let to figure out how to "play" the game of hockey on their own (breakouts, PPs, PKs, etc...), the parent "head coach" wanted to waste the kids' time practicing complicated breakouts and cycling. Something that proved near impossible for kids who for the most part were wearing skates for the first time in their lives. The team suffered and lost the vast majority of their games with nobody having a good time. At the end of the season, I made it very clear how unhappy I was with the league's decision to have two head coaches and told them that I would be parting ways with the organization.

This is essentially what just happened to Francois Allaire. Now, I'm not putting my own coaching skills on par with his, that would be ludicrous, but when you taken a proven formula like Allaire's butterfly or teaching hockey fundamentals to 9 year olds and try to change that, well you get mixed messages that no one can understand and performance suffers.

Also, as birky points out on Twitter, this brings up yet another point of concern for the size of the Leafs front office. It's well known that the Leafs have the largest front office in the league that is overflowing with former GMs and coaches. If a coaching legend sees the excess coaches as being detrimental to the team, I wonder if any of our GMs feel the same way. Just a thought.

What's your take on all this?