Whether it’s coming from George McPhee himself or anyone else in the organization there’s been one constant requirement for any candidate to be the Vegas Golden Knights first head coach. Experience.
We’ve always kind of assumed it was a just a philosophy McPhee preferred after learning from his days in Washington (more on that in a second), but when given the opportunity to elaborate, he explained it had more to do with expansion than anything.
It’s not an easy process to evaluate players when you are just getting going like we are and I don’t want to be evaluating a coach and players at the same time. I’d rather have the coach be someone who we know has done the job and can do the job and we’ll be focusing on players for the next few years. -McPhee
That quote is from an interview on Sirius XM NHL’s Stellick & Simmer and subsequently repeated something similar in a few other interviews on Wednesday as well.
I’ve always been in the corner of a younger coach who could possibly be with the organization for decades, but when I heard George put it this way my mind was changed. This makes perfect sense to me.
It’s also a great selling point to any potential coach… talking to you Sir Gallant. How often do coaches get to walk into a situation and be told, “we aren’t evaluating you?” Stability is one of the toughest things to come by in professional sports, and especially in coaching. This job offers at least one season of a free pass. Has to be enticing.
McPhee also took a bit of a swipe at some of the guys he’s hired in the past.
In Washington I went with a lot of guys it was their first time around, my preference would be an experienced guy. -McPhee
While with the Capitals, McPhee hired six coaches, five of which were first time guys. I’m sure he’d never say it, but I think there’s a certain Adam Oates effect that’s going into the decision to hire a more experienced coach this time around.
The coach certainly has to fit the model we are looking for. I’ve liked putting together high scoring entertaining teams. It’s a fun way to play the game and a fun way to watch the game. -McPhee
That comment points in a direction away from Gerard Gallant, who has been quoted as saying he prefers “a bit more size.”
The question remains though, how long is it going to take to build the roster McPhee is talking about? And will the experienced coach that “fits the model” still be around at that point?