Home » More & Less Hockey » To Have or Have Not: A Coach by Any Other Name

To Have or Have Not: A Coach by Any Other Name

I believe in the power of coaching.  I believe in the power of a cheering section.  Both are good, for everyone, in every way, every day.  Some days I’m just not in the mood to join the latter.

I have wondered and occasionally asked casually how common it is for a team to not have anyone on payroll with the title “Goaltending Coach.”  This became more important when the Sharks hired two goalies who had goaltending coaches last year.  I finally decided to look it up.  This is what I found:

Teams that have someone listed with the title “Goaltending Coach,”  “Goaltending Consultant,” or “Assistant Coach” with a goaltending background in bio:

Predators
Blackhawks
Lightning
Flyers
Ducks
Flames (They have an ex-goalie as an Assistant Coach but don’t call him a Goalie Coach.)
Avalanche
Blue Jackets
Stars
Red Wings
Oilers
Kings
Wild
Coyotes
Blues
Sabres
Hurricanes (GT coach not his title now but that was his title before present position)
Bruins
Panthers (Because they really need one)
Habs (They sort of have two: their head coach was a goaltender but they also have someone with the title)
Islanders (They have both a coach and a consultant, both ex goalies and one with an emphasis on technological aids)
Devils
Rangers
Penguins
Maple Leafs
Capitals

Teams that have no one listed with the title “Goaltending Coach,” “Goaltending Consultant”, or “Assistant Coach” with goaltending background in bio:

Thrashers
Senators

I honestly don’t know where to put the Sharks on this list because what they say on their website is so screwy. I know the Sharks don’t belong in the “haves” section, but they may not exactly belong in the “have nots” section either.  They don’t list anyone with the title of goaltending coach for the Sharks NHL team, but they do say that:

[Corey] Schwab, 39, handles the bulk of the goaltending coaching duties for Sharks prospects in Worcester (AHL), Kalamazoo (ECHL) and amateur leagues and will work closely with Wayne Thomas, whose responsibilities as the vice president and assistant general manager of the San Jose Sharks and general manager of the Worcester Sharks include coaching the goaltenders at the NHL level….

That made me say “He will what with who?  Where?  When will this happen?  Huh?” So I went back to the list of Front Office Staff where I found Wayne Thomas:

For the past seven seasons, Thomas has also taken on a more advanced, day-to-day role in working with the Sharks goaltenders on-and-off the ice. He also oversees the work of Goaltending Development Coach Corey Schwab, who handles goaltending coaching duties for Sharks prospects in Worcester, Stockton and other amateur leagues.

I can’t even tell what state Schwab resides in, never mind if Thomas is actually working with our Finns.  Also highly dubious is the fact that Mr. Thomas is not even listed among the hockey operations staff. What the….?

I have no idea how many of those GT Coaches and Consultants do a good job.  I don’t really care.  Beggars can’t be choosers.  Does a title mean anything?  Hell yes it does.  It means that the organization thinks that it is good to have someone in that role.  It means they like having that title on their coaching staff list. It means that the guy who does that job considers it to be important, more important than some executive management front office staff suit, tie and polished loafers ballyhoo title.

Does a goaltending background mean that an Assistant Coach is being used as a GT coach?  Does it mean he is any good at it?  Again, I don’t care.  When the Sharks give someone that title, then I will care.  Until then, I remain baffled by the arrogance of an organization that thinks it can get by without something that the vast majority of the teams in the NHL recognize to be very important.  Especially when so many drank the “we don’t need no fancy goaltender” kool-aid in the offseason.

Guess what all those less than fancy winning goaltenders had in common?  Goalies like Niemi, Leighton, Anderson, that kid in LA… Here’s a hint: they were not Sharks, Thrashers or Senators.  They were all haves, not have nots.


1 Comment

  1. […] goaltending coach back with him from Finland. This touches on something I wonder about a lot, and have wondered about for years.  Why is the NHL so slow to recognize the importance of goaltending coaches?  I would add to […]

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