clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What Ex-Player Would Make the Best Coach? A Point-Counterpoint of Sorts.

Getty Images

(Lanny was excluded, as it would've been too easy.)

Scott Lepp:

When Arik sent out the article idea on a fan-fave former Flame to hypothetically replace Brent Sutter, my thoughts instantly raced to a certain someone.

Now, there are probably former Flames players who would be better suited to coach and have actual coaching experience (ie. Bob Boughner), but we're talking fan favorites, and outside of Iggy - ain't no one that was here during the Young Guns era considered a fan fave.

When looking at the current makeup of the Flames, I'd argue that, on paper - they're a club that could finish as high as 6th in the West if they played to their potential. One of my huge problems with the team is the inconsistency and the lack of effort on any given night. There's no urgency to their game and they're over-thinking everything, leading to lackluster games with mind-boggling plays. I want someone who could come in and attempt to whip them into shape.

Enter Gary Roberts. Brilliant, Stanley Cup winning career, that spanned long out after his time with the Flames. He suffered from chronic back injuries that were going to end his career... but he battled through it. Remember his first game (or one of the first... anyone?) back with the Flames from that long stretch of injury around '95? Oh yeah, 4 goals and an assist against the Lightning. Then, he won the Masterton, went to the ‘Canes and continued on for TWELVE more seasons! Why? Because he demanded the most out of himself physically and mentally and was far more determined than your average NHLer.

Roberts, much like Dale Hunter in Washington, would command respect the second he walked into the dressing room. Sure, he hasn't coached, but he's been training the heck out of players in junior and the pros - good players, too. Roberts isn't going to allow the players to take a night off, and if they do... look the F out. Surround him with some other X and O guys like maybe even a Boughner and you've got yourself a staff. And, off the ice - I would've liked to see Darryl Sutter run his Dion Phaneuf trade past Gary Roberts... guaranteed fisty-cuffs I tell ya! Hell - had Roberts been around when Dion was still here he wouldn't have let him play like such a bum!

You know what? Screw Bob Boughner. I've just talked myself into Gary Roberts.


Justin Azevedo:

While Scott's suggestion is a good one, obviously the answer here is Ronnie Stern. Kidding haha god that guy sucks. I also considered German Titov, because I love that guy, but I couldn't think of a reason. Thus...

The answer is Dallas Eakins. While Eakins only played 20 games for the Flames-totaling a whopping one point-he had a big impact on the ice.

Of course, the impact I'm talking about is when (then-captain) Steve Smith, of "put the puck into my own net like a dumbass" fame, broke his neck while playing for the Flames due to Eakins' stick being caught up in his skates. Smith missed a bunch of time with the injury, obviously.

So there's one check-Eakins obviously isn't afraid to, uh, discipline if a team isn't performing up to standards.

Practically, Eakins has head coaching experience at a pretty high level as he is currently the coach of the AHL's Toronto Marlies, where he's amassed a record of 85-74-27 in two and a bit years-and up until this year, he's been stuck with a lot of John Ferguson Jr. draftees. Pretty decent, at least in my mind. RIght now the Marlies are 15-7-4, even though players like Joe Colborne, Matt Frattin and Ben Scrivens have all spent major time with the big club this year.

Eakins is known as a "real player's coach", and he's married to this chick. (Atta boy.) Eakins also has the fitness Scott talked about, at least according to this article. Lastly, he also spent almost three years as an assistant for the Maple Leafs.

Agree? Disagree? Other Suggestions? Sound off in the comments.