« MORE MEAT!!! | Main | Schottenheimer Avoids Most Coaches' Fate »

Ted Nolan Is No Fan Of Bobby Fischer

When you've been blacklisted from the NHL coaching fraternity for almost a decade, and the only way to end it is to take a job with the Islanders, you shouldn't be poking fun at anyone. I won't go through the litany of foolish decisions the Islanders have made in the last year alone; let's just say they're not the most competent team in the league.

And I actually like Ted Nolan, their coach, and thought the blacklist against him was ridiculous. I was glad to see him finally get a job. But Nolan, you mess with the Devils and you get the horns (how awesome is it that that pun works even when substituting "bull" with "Devils"? Because, you know, devils have horns and all.). Following a 2-1 loss to the Devils a few days ago, Nolan had this to say about the Devils' system:

I don't think it's very entertaining. It's like watching chess.

The Devils have always been known as a defensive-oriented team, and they're almost always the best in the league at it. But surely the logical reader is asking him or herself, "Well if Nolan has so much to say, why doesn't he coach around it? Don't the great coaches overcome the opponent's gameplan?" And you'd be asking a good question. If you don't like playing chess because it's boring, knock all the pieces off of the board and insist on Connect Four (or whatever your game of choice) instead.

The Star-Ledger gets Claude Julien's response:

...after reading Islanders counterpart Ted Nolan's complaint that watching the Devils play is like "watching chess," Julien pointed out the Islanders played the same kind of conservative, defensive-minded game.

Some would call it trapping. Julien called it being patient. "He's entitled to his opinion," Julien said of Nolan. "I'm not big on commenting on other people's views, (but) I thought they were very patient. Sometimes it takes two to tango."

Maybe it's just sour grapes. When Nolan was still in exile, he expressed interest in two separate Devils' coaching vacancies and got rebuffed for both. Sort of like how Magnus is Max Fischer's enemy simply because he's always wanted to be in one of his plays.