Why can't you trade coaches?

EARL MCRAE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

The phone rings in Bryan Murray's office, Steve Tambellini, general manager of the Edmonton Oilers calling.

“Bryan, I’ve got a trade offer for you.”

“Shoot.”

“Pat Quinn straight up for Cory Clouston.”

“Are you nuts?”

“Pat Quinn, an assistant coach, and a first-round draft pick for him.”

“What are you on, Steve?”

“Pat Quinn, an assistant coach, first-round draft pick, and a million bucks.”

“Thanks for calling, I’ve gotta go.”

“Bryan, Bryan, we can make it a rental deal. After we make the playoffs with Cory, you can get him back again. We need him, you don’t. Unlike our bums, your team is on such a hot roll, you’ll make the playoffs even without Cory behind the bench.”

“Bye, Steve.”

Being the deep thinker that I am, it amazes me that NHL teams don’t trade coaches for coaches. What, is there some rule against it? No, there isn’t.

Trading players for players doesn’t always work for the teams that make the trades. That’s because the problem isn’t always the players, it’s sometimes the coaches. A new coaching face, a new coaching strategy, a new coaching personality can make a difference.

Take the Senators. The team was going nowhere but down under Craig Hartsburg, he’s fired and replaced by Cory Clouston who takes over coaching the same bunch, and suddenly they’re rising and rocking. The Inspector was the reason.

Trading coaches for coaches would be a lot better mentally and financially for coaches. Right now, a coach gets fired and the poor guy can be in the wilderness for years, hoping and praying to get back to the Big Time that might come, might not.

Michel Bergeron. Remember him? Le Petit Tigre. Coached the NHL’s Quebec Nordiques from 1980-87, made the playoffs each season, twice reaching the third round.

Michel Bergeron, to this day, holds the distinction of being the only coach in the history of the NHL to be traded as a coach to another team. Despite coming off another successful season with the Nords, he and GM Maurice Filion didn’t get along, and Le Petit Tigre was traded to the New York Rangers for a first-round draft pick and $75,000, the Blueshirts’ GM Phil Esposito believing the fiery, motivational, Bergeron was the key to his club winning its first Stanley Cup since 1940.

Nice try, didn’t happen. The Rangers missed the playoffs Bergeron’s first season, made it the second, Esposito having taken over with two games left after firing him. The Nords missed the playoffs their next season under his replacements, Andre Savard and then Ron Lapointe.

Baseball has more of a history of trading managers. In 1976 the Oakland A’s traded manager Chuck Tanner to the Pittsburgh Pirates for player Manny Sanguillen and $100,000.

In 2003, the Seattle Mariners traded manager Lou Piniella and outfielder Antonio Perez to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for outfielder Randy Winn.

In 1959, the Cleveland Indians traded manager Joe Gordon to the Detroit Tigers for manager Jimmie Dykes.

So, why not more of it in hockey?

Coaches for coaches, coaches for players, coaches for coaches and players. Why should coaches be exempt? Might not always work, but doesn’t always work with players for players.

If you could trade a coach for a coach, who would they be?

Or how about a GM for a GM?

The phone rings in Bryan Murray’s office, Brian Burke, general manager of the Toronto Maple Leaves calling.

“Brian here Bryan, I’ve got a trade offer for you.”

“Shoot.”

“Ron Wilson straight up for Cory Clouston.”

“Are you nuts?”

“Wilson for Clouston, plus me for you.”

“Thanks for calling, I’ve gotta go.”

“Bryan, Bryan, hear me out. We’re the city of Toronto. We’re Canada’s Team. You and Cory are Canadian. Ron and I are American. Look what you’ve both done with the Sens this year. Toronto desperately needs you to do it here. For the city. For the nation.

“Look, we’ll find Paul Morris and throw him in. Nobody can say ‘Last minute to play in this period’ like the legendary Paul Morris. Flat, dull, monotonal, so Canadian. Ottawa’s the perfect place for him. How about it, Bryan, do we have a deal?”

“Bye, Brian.”


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