Coaching excellence is sometimes difficult to quantify. At what point does superior coaching and, in this day and age, man-management contribute to the success of a club or is the head man a glorified ring master who can book the acts but can’t tell the acrobats which way to jump? Failure is much easier to spot as four coaches have already found out one quarter of the way into the NHL season. It is certainly interesting to monitor for NHL betting tips.
1. Mike Yeo – Minnesota Wild
What’s not to like about the rookie head coach in Minnesota? Yeo has taken a changed roster that saw the introduction of Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi over the summer and added in rookies Nick Johnson and the under rated Marco Scandella to a mix that featured quality, grit and leadership. That’s either a recipe for disaster or the best record in the NHL.
2. Ken Hitchcock – St. Louis Blues
A former Stanley Cup winning coach in Dallas, Hitchcock had less success in Philadelphia and Columbus although he did reach the conference finals with the Flyers in 2004. Hired by St. Louis after Davis Payne became the first coaching casualty of the season, Hitchcock has the Blues playing well and back in the playoff hunt behind the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings in the Central division.
3. Claude Julien – Boston Bruins
Now in his fifth year with the defending Stanley Cup champions, Julien gets much credit for what he didn’t do as much as what he did. Mired in a horrible post championship slump to start the season, Julien has guided the Bruins back to the top of the division to challenge the Pittsburgh Penguins for the best record in the Eastern Conference and cement them in a good position for NHL picks.
4. Dan Bylsma – Pittsburgh Penguins
Speaking of those Penguins, the current holder of the Jack Adams award may be doing a better job this year than last. The return of Sidney Crosby has been managed well and Pittsburgh’s fast start to the season was all the more impressive given the superstar’s absence.