Where are the coaches in all this? They are outside the lines in this stalemate, but that has hardly barred them from generating headlines and human-interest stories of late.
At least a handful of NHL skippers have handled the lockout in the best, most logical way possible. Boston’s Claude Julien, Philadelphia’s Peter Laviolette, St. Louis’ Ken Hitchcock and Winnipeg’s Claude Noel have all been among those spotted lending their tutelage to local youth or high school teams.
Other foremen have taken an extra breather from the rink and let their followers in on their outside interests, which have inevitably garnered more attention due to a dearth of on-ice news.
Whether it pertains to another sport, a change of pace in the entire staff’s regimen or a getaway, here are 10 NHL coaches warding off tediousness in a unique manner.
Not sure how many of the Tampa Bay Lightning staffers ever had a class retreat in high school, but Boucher and eight colleagues shared one two weeks ago at nearby Fort De Soto.
Recounting the journey and explaining the rationale, assistant skipper Marty Raymond told the Tampa Bay Times that, in preparation for a possible condensed, compressed 2012-13 schedule, “we have to stay connected…We have to build relationships.”
Perhaps the highlight of Times beat writer Damian Cristodero’s secondhand account of the journey is the paragraph that reads: “Bold, food-stealing raccoons were a problem, and high winds made fishing miserable. But talk around the campfire was jovial and food was plentiful.”
Joined by broadcaster John Ahlers and former player Scott Neidermayer, the Anaheim Ducks coach did more than stoke interest in the sport and his team with a group of youths in November.
Boudreau was on hand amidst the opening of an outdoor street hockey surface on the school grounds of Maxwell Elementary, where he and the other guests also took part in reading programs and spruced up the campus by planting and painting.
In late November, Jonas Siegel of TSN 1050 reported that the Maple Leafs’ coach “owns a cottage on what is known to be the biggest lake island on the planet and with the NHL lockout dragging on he's had the chance to pay it an uncommon winter visit.”
That island, by the way, is Manitoulin Island on the Canadian side of Lake Huron.
If Toronto’s fortunes do not change in a timely manner once the team resumes play, Carlyle just might want to retreat back there once more.
Boucher’s intrastate rival has likewise indulged in the unique arrangement of working, or really just trying to fill an undernourished schedule, in a less-than-conventional hockey region amidst a stalled NHL season.
The would-be second-year Florida Panthers bench boss finished first in a charity fly fishing competition.
Between the official start of the lockout and what should have been the start of training camp, the Flyers’ skipper was on hand when his wife, Kristen, was named one of the “most fashionable women in Philadelphia" and then had enough time to pen his own recap of the event.
This from the New York Times in a brief mention of the Sharks’ coach, among many other NHL skippers: “McLellan is scheduled as a guest speaker at a workshop for hockey and figure skating coaches that seeks to combine winning with teaching life lessons.”
Sounds like a logical way to avoid losing touch with one’s own sport while still broadening one’s horizons a little.
On Dec. 1, the Chicago Blackhawks should have been between each installment of a brief homestand, putting the previous night’s bout with the Calgary Flames on the shelf and transitioning to the San Jose Sharks for the next day.
Since that was not to be, Quenneville had more time to be on hand when the town of Grayslake, Ill. celebrated the grand opening of the Light the Lamp Brewery. His presence was appropriate enough as the bar was influenced by the Blackhawks’ recently replenished relevance that began when he was hired in 2008-09.
The Buffalo front office established “Sabres University” for itself and, most naturally, put Ruff in charge of the game-related courses.
According to the Associated Press account, “The university-style project was so well received that the Sabres are planning to conduct similar sessions annually during the offseason.”
The coach of the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings has returned to his roots to do farm work in his native Viking, Alberta.
Perhaps what makes this report interesting in any fashion is that Los Angeles Times beat writer Helene Elliott was quick to underline Detroit executive Jim Devellano’s controversial remarks about NHL players being “cattle.”
Naturally, she subsequently noted that Sutter really is working with bovines while he and his human pupils are away from the rink.
As noble as it is has been for other NHL coaches to spend their extra free time working with youth players, the Minnesota Wild coach was equally generous in joining a group of equally worthy hockey enthusiasts.
Last week, Yeo conducted a practice with the Minnesota Warriors, a team of former members of the armed forces who sustained an injury while at war.
In addition, in a comprehensive compilation of coaches’ lockout activities, the New York Times noted that Yeo has taken a boxing class.