Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Maybe it's the name...
Seems a couple of hockey players sharing that name had -- or at least are reported to have had -- less than sugary relationships with the coaches they left behind in being traded for one another.
On the one hand, we have Matt Cooke, late of the Vancouver Canucks and now wearing (well, soon to be wearing) the red, white, and blue of the Caps. Cooke is reported to have not quite seen eye-to-eye with his coach in Vancouver -- Alain Vigneault -- and traces this to two years ago. This is Vigneault's second season behind the Canucks' bench. There is at least a suggestion that Cooke did not fight well enough or often enough to suit management.
Then there is the matter of Matt Pettinger, who left Washington in the Cooke trade. Pettinger, who worked his way up the ranks of the organization as a high-energy "crash-and-bang" style of player, had his coming out year of sorts in 2005-2006, when he scored 20 goals in 71 games. He followed that up with a 16-goal effort in the 2006-2007 campaign. It appeared he was poised to provide oomph and offense from the left side of the checking line for the Caps.
Instead of "oomph," the Caps ended up with "oops." Pettinger, for reasons that will probably remain a mystery until the sun goes dark, started this season slowly (1-2-3, +3 in his first 11 games), then got slower (1-1-2, -9 in his next 21 games), before coming to a halt (0-2-2, -5 in his last 24 games). Upon arriving in Vancouver, he commented that "[He and head coach Bruce Boudreau] sort of butted heads a little bit and my ice time wasn't where it was the last few years. Some coaches get along with players and some coaches don't." He did go on to say that his performance was something for which he must accept the blame, but it doesn't sound like he was a happy camper leaving town, either.
We are reminded of the wise words of Mark Twain...
"When angry, count four...when very angry, swear."
Leave your coaches out of it.