Admit it, Gentle Reader — you’re bored. Somewhere between the 2006 playoffs and today the NHL evolved from being the most exciting thing in sports to being an unholy, ice-skating cross between the NL and the NFC. As we creep up on the quarter-way mark for the year, mediocrity abounds. Oh, sure, there are a few teams that are doing great, and bully for them. But the rest of us? We’re all sharing the same sad song, the one about how our teams are wallowing in the stagnant, fetid pool of not being encouragingly good, but not being outright vomitously awful either. So, after a few drinks and a marathon of uninspired, yawn-tastic games this weekend we think we’ve come up with a solution that can’t fail to inject some life into this moribund season: a league-wide coach swap.
Here’s how this brilliant idea would work: Every team’s name and every coach’s name would be put into hats — or better yet, those air-cannon ping-pong ball machines they use for local lotteries. Then, in a gala, televised event the commissioner — or better yet, some showgirls — would randomly draw one coach’s name and one team’s name, and from that moment on the team would be coached by that guy. For some teams this would lead to a marked improvement, for others it would be unmitigated disaster. Those teams that need a change but are too polite to fire the coach will get the shot in the arm they need; those teams that don’t need a coaching change will get a chance to test how their players address adversity; those teams — okay, really just the Devils — who suck regardless of who their coach is will just keep trucking along. In any event, it will make for at least a few weeks of excitement for the fans.
We know, we know, this sounds like just some more reactionary “blame the coach” blather from Devils fans, but what if we promise that Keenan and Crawford aren’t invited to play along? Now aren’t you excited for this? Imagine Brian Campbell and rest of the Sabres “defense” being whipped into shape by Jacques Lemaire! Imagine the injury-ridden Canucks getting a coach with experience handling line-up juggling a team into the Conference Finals in Lindy Ruff! Imagine the Rangers getting skated into the ice by Brent Sutter day in and day out! Come on, we dare you to tell us this isn’t a brilliant idea.