A top-level coach can make a huge difference in the NHL.
At the very least, the coach will set the tone for his team by the drills he runs in practice and the insights he gains on an opponent through videotape sessions prior to games.
A smart coach is always working to give his team the best chance to win. Preparation is one of the top keys to being a successful NHL coach. After studying the strengths, weaknesses and tendencies of his team's upcoming opponent, he can provide a road map to victory.
Understanding the opponent is just one aspect. A coach has to know his own players' strengths and weaknesses and the outside factors that may impact their game.
He has to use all of those factors when setting his lineup on a nightly basis. Here's a look at the seven smartest coaches in the league.