Communication has never been more important in coaching than it is today.
Three coaches who know that as well as anyone are Rod Brind’Amour, Peter DeBoer, and Jon Cooper, who were joined by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman for an NHL Coaches’ Association panel discussion about coaching today’s players.
“If you screw up, they know it before you do, I find. The players are super intelligent now,” said Brind’Amour about the importance of being honest with his Carolina Hurricanes players. “I think the worst thing you can do is try to cover it up… They appreciate honesty… No different from any job.”
“You have to walk in and say ‘that’s on us, boys,'” added Cooper, as the Tampa Bay Lightning coach recalled the time he missed an offside challenge. “Those are tough ones because those are times when you have to eat it for the team.”
On the topic of disciplining players, DeBoer recalled the time he benched Barclay Goodrow in Game 7 during the 2019 playoffs, when the pair were with the San Jose Sharks. Goodrow had made a mistake, costing his team a goal against. But DeBoer gave Goodrow another opportunity to redeem himself later in the game, and boy did he deliver, scoring the double overtime winner.
“The message there is yes, you have to discipline players at different points, for different things. But they have to know that they’re going to get another chance to fix it,” said DeBoer, who has since become the head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights.
“They have to know that there’s an answer there. You have to show it to him… and then you have to give him the opportunity to fix it.”
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