Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Nolan's frustrations come out in print

You might have heard Don Cherry refer to a Globe and Mail article from yesterday on Coach's Corner Tuesday night. The article featuring Memorial cup coach Ted Nolan, recounted some of the recent and past history of the former NHL coach of the year.

It examined the themes of racism as it pertains to Nolan's stagnation at the professional levels, a theme that Cherry wasn't particularly fond of, suggesting that Nolan's fate of late had more to do with his troubles with John Muckler from the Buffalo days and a job offer from Tampa Bay a number of years ago refused by Nolan for family reasons.

It's a fairly concise recording of the last nine years of Nolans hockey and personal travels, from his work with aboriginal communities, to his job interviews with NHL teams to his return to Junior hockey and the remarkable run of the Moncton Wildcats.

There's probably little doubt that Nolan has the talent to run an NHL squad, there are any number of floundering NHL teams out there that could use his smarts and motivational skills to bring their franchises back into the NHL mainstream. Any team with a young lineup and needing some steady guidance would surely benefit from Nolan's experiences both on and off the ice.

The only question is has Nolan further harmed his chances by speaking out as he has and will his ruminations on race get blown up further. He's been dealing with racism through his time in hockey, including an ugly situation in the Quebec league this year. By speaking his mind perhaps he confronts those issues upfront and lays it all out on the table.

By Sunday there's a very good chance his Wildcats will be the Memorial Cup champions, the second squad that Nolan would have guided to a national championship in his coaching career. Pretty good stats for any GM to consider, in the NHL it's all about winning, Nolan seems to be pretty good at achieving that goal, somewhere in the NHL there's a team looking for that kind of success. Many of those teams could do a lot worse (and many do) than hiring a guy that knows where he's come from and where he wants to go!

The Globe and Mail article is here, it's well worth a look to try and figure out one of the great coaching mysteries of the NHL in the last ten years. It helps explain why he's gone from the ranks and how he can get back to where he belongs.

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