Moment of Truth for John Stevens

The Frozen FanCorrespondent INovember 13, 2008

John Stevens, coach of the Philadelphia FlyersYou can’t deny that John Steven’s temporary demotion of Joffrey Lupul to the fourth line and third period benching of Scott Hartnell has driven conversation among the journalists and bloggers. Both Sam Cachidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Daily News penned stories on the topic. Blogging heads Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com and Bill Meltzer of Hockeybuzz.com followed suit. It also caught the attention of The 700 Level and a few passing words from WE HATE TO LOSE.

Here’s the bottom line: John Stevens is an NHL coach. His entire job is to manage and motivate the players as he see fits to generate the maximum number of victories possible. He is not the first coach to shuffle the lines or bench a player, and he will not be the last. He utilized a few tricks from the bag, and it resulted in 2 points for his club. That’s good coaching.

This story mattered because this was the first time John Stevens pulled those tricks at the NHL level. But the bigger tale here is that demotions and benching only matter if the results extend beyond one game. Sure, the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the New York Islanders. One quick comparison of the rosters will tell you that is but a small feat. It hardly represents a step on the mountain the Flyers have yet to climb.

Tonight the Flyers enter the Mellon Arena with something to prove. Are they an unmotivated, lackluster squad who only play to their potential for brief spans of time and the occasional game against a weaker rival? Or can they rise to the occasion with a team-wide sustained effort—and reproduce that effort regularly?

The difference between those two teams is the difference between good coaching and great coaching. This is where we see what John Stevens is really made of.

      

Related

    Miscast Ryan Strome only started to find his groove with the Edmonton Oilers toward the season's end

    Edmonton Oilers logo
    Edmonton Oilers

    Miscast Ryan Strome only started to find his groove with the Edmonton Oilers toward the season's end

    Kurt Leavins
    via Edmonton Journal

    How Lou Lamoriello can save Islanders from years of excuses

    New York Islanders logo
    New York Islanders

    How Lou Lamoriello can save Islanders from years of excuses

    New York Post
    via New York Post

    Caps Force Game 7 After Shutout Win

    NHL logo
    NHL

    Caps Force Game 7 After Shutout Win

    Joseph Zucker
    via Bleacher Report

    Edmonton Oilers Stats from the World Hockey Championships

    Edmonton Oilers logo
    Edmonton Oilers

    Edmonton Oilers Stats from the World Hockey Championships

    Nation World HQ
    via OILERSNATION