New coach Gordon aims to bring Boston attitude to Islanders

 

Scott Gordon might be lacking NHL coaching experience, but he’s certainly become the master of analogy in short order.

 
 
 
Scott Gordon might be lacking NHL coaching experience, but he’s certainly become the master of analogy in short order.

The new head coach for the New York Islanders was introduced to the media on Wednesday and didn’t hesitate in pulling out a couple of comparisons when asked how he plans on turning around a stagnant hockey operation.

Gordon, a proud Bostonian, said surrounding yourself with excellence is the first step towards success.

“I don’t think I could have had a better first-hand experience of what it takes to be successful than what goes on in that town with the Celtics, Red Sox and Patriots,” he said. “You live there and you hear about what the players talk about being successful and I think it’s a great place to see what it takes to win.”

Gordon, who coached the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins to a league-best record of 55-18-3-4 last season, drew on another comparison, on another team, from another town in another sport to underline his philosophy.

“The first step is our team is going to have the belief that you’re going to win the Stanley Cup,” he said. “And to do that, you have to believe that you can win every game. I don’t think we have to look any further than down the road and the New York Giants, who were .500 at the middle of the season and they were in a must-win situation, and all the adversities they had and they defeat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

“I think that speaks volumes about what any team can do when they pull together.”

The 45-year-old spent more than five seasons in charge of the Boston Bruins’ affiliate. He was named coach of the year after last season and becomes the seventh former Pieri Award winner in the NHL, joining Chicago assistant Mike Haviland (2007), Atlanta assistant Randy Cunneyworth (2005), Columbus assistant Claude Noel (2004), Boston head coach Claude Julien (2003), Carolina head coach Peter Laviolette (1999) and Nashville head coach Barry Trotz (1994).

As well, the NHL’s reigning coach of the year, Bruce Boudreau, spent the previous nine seasons behind the bench in the AHL.

The AHL experience, Gordon said, helped him get a better understanding of what the Islanders have as far as prospects.

“The players I’ve seen down in Bridgeport (the Islanders’ affiliate) . . . the one thing I was encouraged with is the element of speed that is in their game,” he said.

 Gordon though will need something along the lines of a Boudreau-esque effort to turn around the fortunes of a team that was once dominated the league, but has since fallen on hard times. In the past 13 seasons, the Islanders have missed the playoffs nine times. In the four years they did advance, the team was eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs.

Islanders general manager Garth Snow maintained that Gordon was up to the task.

“There were a lot of great candidates, but as the process unfolded Scott to me became clearly was the right coach for our team,” said Snow.
 
 
 
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