Any hockey fan, anywhere, should be able to appreciate the coaching career of Phoenix’s Dave Tippett. Tippett won the Jack Adams Award two years ago, and I think it’s a crime that he wasn’t one of the three finalists this year. A Kings assistant coach from 1999-2002, he then got hired as head coach in Dallas and promptly led the Stars to a division title. After six seasons and five playoff appearances, including one trip to the Western Conference Finals, Tippett was inexplicably fired in Dallas and remained unemployed for all of 105 days. Phoenix hired him shortly before the start of the 2009-10 season. A Phoenix team that had not totaled more than 83 points in its previous six seasons has now totaled 107, 99 and 97 points, respectively, in three seasons with Tippett.
Moreover, Tippett has coached the Coyotes through a period of ridiculous front-office confusion. The league has been running the Coyotes during Tippett’s tenure, and doubts about ownership and the long-term viability in the market have led to tiny crowds at many home games throughout the last couple years. Through all that, and some notable year-to-year roster turnover, Tippett has thrived. Darryl Sutter said Tippett’s ability has transcended any off-the-ice concerns.
SUTTER: “I don’t think the ownership, or the uncertain situation, has anything to do with coaching. I think when you’re a top coach and you’re an experienced coach, and you have a really strong veteran group, I think you’re able to manage through that. Dave has certainly been able to do that. He’s been a solid coach in the league for a long time, and that’s the biggest reason why, is that outside activities or outside distractions don’t have much impact on veteran coaches.”