Here is more on Scotty Bowman's book, published by the KHL, called "The Art of Coaching the Team During the Game". It got our attention when we posted the translation of Pavel Lysenkov's interview with the Head Coach of team Russia:
Coach Bill is reading Scotty Bowman's book in Russian: "Искусство руководить командой во время матча"
Well, Pavel went on and published some excerpts from Bowman's book with the comments of the former team Russia coach Vladimir Krikunov. His team beat Canadian Olympic team in Turin when Ovi scored GWG and then, of course, they lost the next game to Finland. Unfortunately it was too much to translate, so only Bowman's part was translated. Kind of funny, Bowman was translated into Russian and then from Russian into English. Imagine that and how much was probably lost in translation. :-)
Here are Bowman's 10 commandments:
1. CHOOSING A GOALKEEPER
A lot of goalkeepers want to know whether they will be playing a day before the game starts. That's right, goalkeepers should have time to prepare. But there are those who, after they learn that they are not playing, allow themselves to relax, and it hurts the team. They're not ready to go out if change is needed. In my experience there was never a rigid rule to inform about the decision, for example, exactly 24 hours before the game. I'm talking about it when I see that it is the right time. The ideal time is before the morning skate.
2. COMMUNICATION WITH THE MEDIA
For the players the media is a source of a feedback. It is therefore important not to tell reporters anything from what they can make a story. From my experience if a reporter got something from you about someone, she can immediately go to that hockey player and ask to comment on it. All this can cause a controversy, that's why you need to be very careful to say something. It is suffice not to say something disrespectful.
3. HOW THE LINE COMBINATIONS ARE CREATED
Creating a line means to identify the two players who will play well together. It is important to let these two forwards to get to know each other, how the other forward will play in certain situation. Well, the third player may vary. Depending on how the game develops the line can be completed with a speedy player or with a power forward.
4. PLAYING TIME
There never been a team where every hockey player was happy with his role. When a player complains, the most common complaint would be "I could have played much better if I had more ice time." The coach won't be able to avoid such complaints. But we must make sure that the best players will have the most ice time.
5. SPECIAL TEAMS ON POWER PLAY
We need two types of the players that will be decisive on proving the effectiveness of the power play; the hockey player with a good slapshot from the blue line and a strong fearless player who is blocking the view for the goalie. For Detroit these positions are often occupied by Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom. In general we searched for a balance between right handed and left handed players, the dispatcher and players who could score. Everyone must carry a large amount of work and the skill to operate along the boards.
6. COACHES & STAFF
It takes a well-coordinated work for the coaching staff during the games to succeed. Nowadays there are 3 coaches that are present on the bench in the NHL. In addition there is a coach who is engaged in video recording, there is a statistician and an extra coach who is watching the game from the stands.
7. PLAYING THE STAR PLAYER SHORT HANDED
When I was coaching Pittsburgh Mario Lemieux was always shadowed and covered by the other team. But when I would let him play short handed, it would change the mentality of an opponent. He couldn't carry the same offense, his job was to play defense to kill the penalty. Because of that Lemieux was not covered as much as 5 on 5, and that would give us an opportunity to counterattack.
8. THE LENGTH OF A SHIFT
If I would set the ideal length of the shift, then it would be about 40 seconds 5 on 5. Slightly longer on power play, slightly shorter when killing a penalty. Many teams tend to have 4 shifts during one penalty killing. And if you can change after 20 seconds, you should do it.
There are two rules: the best defensemen should play against the best opponent's forwards, and the best forwards should match against their weakest defensemen. This requires a lot of effort, and the entire coaching staff should work with the players together.
10. WHERE TO GET THE ENERGY
In the English language we often use the word "momentum" to describe the force that drives the team to victory. Also we often say that if the team demonstrates the speed and pressure, it brings success and luck. If you raise the level of energy the same way as the flywheel gains momentum, the team will be accelerated by itself. The energy can be found by doing short shifts, scoring an important goal, outhitting the opponent...
Check #7. This is what I was preaching the whole year. Put Ovechkin in short handed situations. In addition to what Bowman is saying it will increase his ice time and will make him to play better defensively. However neither Boudreau nor Hunter have listened to it. :-)
So why this book can not be found anywhere in North America? I suspect it was Scotty Bowman's presentation given in Russia. He was involved a lot in consulting Russians when the KHL was created. Check principle #10:
In the English language we often use the word "momentum"...That sounds like an American speaker giving a speech in non English speaking country...
It is interesting to see how Bowman's ten commandments fit into what Dale Hunter is doing. Here's how Bowman's rule #2 was "followed" after a tonight's loss to Senators. "Most of Hunter’s comments criticizing his No. 1 goaltender — or at least presumed No. 1 goaltender — came without any reporter mentioning Vokoun’s name," writes Stephen Whyno. "Vokoun was not requested to talk by media members, but his agent, Allan Walsh, pointed out that his client’s had a 1.92 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in his previous 13 starts."
“I’m not going to comment directly on what someone may have said after a game,” Walsh said in a text message. “I will point out though that hockey’s great coaches throughout history never resorted to publicly singling out a particular player, blaming him for a loss. Where I come from, you win as a team and lose as a team. The oldest, most tired excuse in the book is to blame the goalie.”
As Bowman said the reporters would go out and ask to comment. Not only they've asked to comment Vokoun's agent, they've asked Vokoun's fellow Czech Neuvirth. "I don’t think it was Vokey’s fault. That’s the way it goes sometimes," Neuvirth said. "Two tough goals, and they didn’t have a lot of shots."