The Hardware Factor

Something has been gnawing away at me for a couple of weeks and it’s not when did “The Office” turn from one of the few can’t miss shows on television into just another mediocre sitcom. 

When we wrote our article for “The Committed Indian” last week, we examined the relationship between Stanley Cup winners and their head coaches.  To recap, we found that almost every head coach had at least won a conference championship by his fifth year of coaching.  

In the aforementioned article, I went as far back as 1980 to discover Jacques Demers and Al Arbour were the only coaches of Cup champions with more than five years experience who hadn’t at least a conference championship. 

This time, I went as far back as the 1967-68 campaign a.k.a. when the NHL expanded from six to twelve teams and discovered the number of coaches stays the same.  Demers and Arbour were still the only coaches in the exclusive club. 

Now before I go any further, let me make this clear- This isn’t meant to be an indictment of Joel Quenneville. 

What I’m really interested in figuring out is why this seems to be the case.  Why is it that the head coaches of Stanley Cup winners, as a rule, had to have won at least a conference championship by their fifth year?

Let’s try and clear up the obvious first.  The fact that the NHL was dynasty driven from the late 60’s to late 80’s plays a fairly large role.  The Montreal Canadiens won 8 Cups in the 70’s with Scotty Bowman directing them to 6 of them.  The New York Islanders and Arbour won 4 to start the 80’s and the Edmonton Oilers with Glen Sather (coach for 4) and John Muckler (1) closed out the decade with 5 of their own.  

In 42 years, that’s 17 Cups won by only three teams.  Not to mention, Bowman also won 4 more Cups with Pittsburgh and Detroit.   

That still leaves 21 other Cup winners, so the lingering question remains, and to be perfectly honest…….I don’t have a slightest clue as to why this is the case.  Sure, there are a few cogent theories.

The life span of NHL coaches is relatively short to begin with.  There aren’t many coaches that get more than five years to prove their chops.  In most cases, if a coach hasn’t righted the ship by his third year, then he’s going to get canned and he may not get another shot at redemption.      

The more playoff failure a coach experiences, the harder it is for him to shake it.  Joel Quenneville is actually a pretty good example here.  Last year in the playoffs, Hawk fans were given an up-close and personal view on some of Coach Q’s warts.  His incessant line-matching can be maddening and his epic meltdown in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals didn’t exactly help the situation.  The longer it takes for a coach to win, the more they try to force the issue.

Scotty Bowman.  Nowadays, Scotty has assumed the position of Black Hand within the Blackhawks organization previously held by Bob Pulford.  Before that, he was, without question, the best coach in NHL history.  Of the 42 Cup Champions since league expansion, Scotty was a part of a ridiculous 24% of them.  How many coaches lost their chance at immortality because of him?  At least 10, including Joel Quenneville.

For the most part, though, there is no concrete evidence as to why coaches need to win at least win a conference championship by their fifth year.  It really shouldn’t make a difference, but just a mere glance at 40 of the last 42 years proves otherwise.

With Joel Quennville never winning more than 9 games in a playoff campaign throughout his 13-year coaching career, it would certainly behoove him to start reversing this trend as soon as he can.

*On the Farm*

–Byron Froese scored a goal and was a +2 in Everett’s 3-1 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers on Tuesday.

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20 Responses to The Hardware Factor

  1. dave anton says:

    VERY INTERESTING…and yet somehow depressing and worrisome…

  2. Lou says:

    one day at a time

    On a different front, there is some interesting scuttle on the buzz about hawks trades. Good commentary by our friend Dave as well.

    Any update on how our Captain is doing? He is on the trip.

  3. Patrick says:

    Just curious – what trade rumoers are you hearing?

  4. Lou says:

    go to and look at Jaeckels hawks blog. easiest way to to do it

  5. John says:

    I like how he starts off his article by saying a reliable source tells him the Hawks have been discussing trades with Carolina and Toronto and then spends the rest of the article wildly speculating about which players are involved based on zero information.

    If rumor porn is something you enjoy, then go check it out. Otherwise, don’t waste your time.

  6. Lou says:

    @ John, I agree but JJ doesn’t wildly speculate as much as EK does and it tends to be more entertaining than the I heard crap from EK that starts blog riots b/w the Canadian fans who basically bash each other.

    It is always intersting to see who the hawks are shipping in and out.

  7. John says:

    Considering he names Brian Campbell in his article as someone who may get moved and then later in the comments says he wasn’t told any names, just throwing someone out there, then yeah, he’s wildly speculating.

    Also, I’ve noticed rumor mongerers have quite a limited imagination. Why are the Hawks constantly trading for Tomas Kaberle, or Frolov or Kopitar? Just like the White Sox are constantly trading for Chone Figgins, Casey Kotchman, and Orlando Hudson. Or the Cubs are getting Brian Roberts and Jake Peavy. If we’re just throwing names out there, can’t they be different every once in awhile?

  8. Patrick says:

    Nothing to see here – move along.

    No need ot make any moves right now…

  9. Lou says:

    The Frolov thing cracks me up. Kaberle too.

    It is always nice to be humored but I agree. Time to move on.

  10. Lou says:

    Toews is skating and the Hawks-leafs rumor has made local radio. of course no names…

  11. John says:

    Easy to give legs to a silly rumor during a down time in the schedule.

  12. Lou says:

    most likely so but one never knows the secret life of Stan Bowman.

    I myself think it is too early to trade. I think we have to see what Hossa brings. I also do think many of the spectulated names on our end our probably guys they can move and that includes Bolland.

    @John, what’s you thoughts on Ebbett?

  13. John says:

    Same as when they picked him up. He’s a nice depth player who gives them insurance should anything else happen.

    I’ve seen some pointed criticism about him but people should remember he’s only been here a couple weeks and he’s never played with anyone on this roster. Sometime, it takes a little time to click.

  14. Dave Morris says:

    Rudy Pilous.

    Last Hawk coach to win Stanley.

    What was his ‘Hardware Factor’?


  15. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou> liked my trade scuttlebutt, eh. I’d better watch myself.

    PS Toews and Eager on the ice today. Per Blackhawks Official Twitter.

    PPS I did another Hawks article on KK today…this one about the ‘Cap Crisis’. And if you thought my last one was a novel, consider yourselves forewarned. I even quote ‘Uncle Mike’ Kiley at length.

    Proceed at your own risk.

  16. John says:

    Rudy Pilous won the Stanley Cup in his fourth season of coaching.

  17. Sloop says:

    I think perhaps Einstein’s quote is appropriate here:

    “Not everything that can be counted, counts and not everything that counts can be counted.”

    While the correlation is remarkable, i’m not sure it means a whole lot. (as you kind of indicate yourself)

  18. Lou says:

    @Sloop. That is a good quote to contemplate over adult beverages.

  19. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou> I’ll drink to that!

    @John>thanks…that kind of knowledge from you gentlemen is why I am proud to be loyal reader of Fifth Feather.

    Did you know Rudy Pilous was the first GM of the Oakland Seals? And that he went on to coach Bobby Hull with the WHA Winnipeg Jets?

    Plus, he had *serious* eyebrows.

  20. Dave Morris says:

    PS the Hawks-Leafs rumor is apparently total BS. Sassone got an e-mail from Brian Burke today.

    More here:

    Per Sassone: “Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, who said in an e-mail to the Toronto Sun and relayed to the Daily Herald about Wednesday’s rumor, ‘No legs. Have never discussed Kaberle with either team.'”

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