Monday, November 7, 2011

Was Gretzky really a bad coach?

It came out recently that Georges Laraque says in his new book that Wayne Gretzky was the "worst coach he ever played for". The question is should we care what Laraque thinks and if so, is his criticism valid?

Gretzky's four year coaching record was 143-161-24 for a Winning Pct. of .473 and of course he never managed to get the Coyotes into the post season. In addition to Gretz, Laraque played for Ron Low, Kevin Lowe, Craig MacTavish, Michael Therrien, Guy Carbonneau, Bob Gainey and Jacques Martin. Of these guys, only Ron Low had a lower Winning Pct. than Wayner, but he made the playoffs three of the seven years and won two different playoff rounds.

Gretzky ranks 91st in coaching victories and there have been exactly 100 coaches with at least 135 career wins. Out of these 100, Gretzky ranks 84th in Career Winning Pct. AND he is the only one of the 100 to have never made the playoffs. Even Doug Carpenter made the playoffs once (losing with Toronto 4 games to 1 in 1989/90).

So, if Gretzky isn't the worst coach ever, he is definitely a candidate. Others would be Carpenter with a .403 Winning Pct and his one playoff win, Tom Watt and his .422 Pct and one playoff win in ten games. Milt Schmidt would be another candidate with a .406 Pct but he did have two playoff round wins and a second overall league finish.

Maybe Laraque had a point.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check out the roster he had to work with though. How many of those players are still in the NHL? Most are either retired or are playing in Europe/AHL. His biggest star players were probably Doan, Nolan and Roenick and two out of those three were on the verge of retirement.

Everyone always blames their lack of success on Gretzky but honestly, I don't think the best coach in the world could do much better with those tools.

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