Could Scott Stevens Coach New Jersey?

It has been a question asked for some time. Scott Stevens is a no nonsense person period. In his playing days, he was one touch S.O.B. When he was an assistant coach in New Jersey, he was much the same just maybe a touch more subdued. However, when he got hot, the former defenseman got hot! In the meantime, please read this.

Again the question has to be asked. Is ownership more interested in bottom line than on ice product? Look at the other product that is owned by this group. The Philadelphia 76’ers have not won a single game yet and who knows when they will. However, it is a more “fan friendly experience”. New Jersey has the money and resources to do something for the first time in forever and this is what fans get?

If it pains a guy like Scott Stevens, imagine what it is doing to Ken Daneyko. Daneyko cannot say as much because of his position in the organization but this has to be killing him beyond what words could express. People are tired of nice guys. Do you want to know why Jacques Lemaire got results? It is because he had earned the right to rip into players how, when, and where he wanted to. Scott Stevens has also earned that right by virtue of what he has accomplished in New Jersey.

The Scott Stevens Way

People often ask what is the Scott Stevens Way? There is a no bullshit method to how Stevens works and yet off the ice he is one of the most frank yet nice people you ever would meet. He never hesitated to work with a player but did not restrain from using tough love when it was warranted. This is from a guy who once threw a skate in the locker room to make a point crystal clear.

Dan Rosen did an excellent job of coaxing this out of Stevens in a five question interview seen here. You could see the coach in the former player but that there was still a lot of player in him. For example…

If a goal needed to be scored, somehow Stevens did it. If a big hit needed to be delivered, Stevens found a way. If a message needed to be sent, Stevens sent it with first class postage! As an assistant coach, the former defenseman was much the same. That did create its own problems obviously. Whether anyone wants to admit or not, he took a below average defense and turned them into a pretty solid, low event unit. The penalty kill was one of the best in the last five years. He dealt well with the hand that was often reshuffled many times.

Ultimately, he moved on not because he wanted to “go home” but because he likely wanted a bigger role. Let’s be honest! This cannot be sugarcoated and his appearance on NHL Live yesterday illustrated that fact.

His entire appearance drove home one point. He did not want to just go home. Whatever was said between Lou Lamoriello and Scott Stevens, god only knows but it was not the amicable roses and unicorns story that was shoved in our faces.

It simply comes down to this very fact. Whether you want to disagree with that is up to you.


 

Final Thoughts

There is where I fault a coach like Peter DeBoer. Yes he has been dealt a crappy hand. The groceries are not very good and some are past expiration but some positive things can still be squeezed out of this team. Lou Lamoriello could still make a few moves to salvage something here. However, it appears like “status quo” and “slowly going nowhere” are the mantras we see.

It is unfortunate. Scott Stevens could have been a heck of a head coach in New Jersey. Bryce Salvador might have been sent the way of the pony express already. Players would have been benched and messages would have been made crystal clear. Simply, Stevens would not have been a “yes” man and would not have endured the crap and almost laissez-faire attitude. Everything was set up almost perfectly for him to coach. However, we will likely never know. One thing is for sure. It would have been different right now.