Frei: Granato's Coaching Ability Is "Suspect"

I like doing traditional media-style headlines.  You cherry pick a single word from the article you're headlining, and then build a false impression of what the article is about using just that one word.  This will all make sense, so stick with me.

Terry Frei, one of "our" reporters, posted a piece yesterday on ESPN.com that ranks---kind of---the NHL coaches according to ability and reputation.  It's not a 1-30 list, but a grouping of categories that ranges from "The Elite" to "The Suspect" and three additional coaches who have never coached in the NHL before.

Of course, cruising at the top of the list is that one guy Mike Babcock, who tops "The Elite" category and shares it with Jacques Lemaire, Barry Trotz and Lindy Ruff.  Following that group is the second category, called "The Proven."  There we find guys like Randy Carlyle, Ken Hitchcock and Ron Wilson.  After them comes "The Jury's Still Out," which includes recent Jack Adams winner Bruce Boudreau, Wayne Gretzky and Denis Savard.

Finally, at the bottom of the heap, is the category called "The Suspect," which features the old new Avalanche head coach, Tony Granato:

One of the strangest situations in the league. Despite some ridiculous parroted criticisms of his work during his first stint behind the Avalanche bench, he still has the best winning percentage of any Colorado coach ... ever. But now he gets a second chance, and under conditions that might make winning difficult. He bought into the company line that it was time to trust the organization's own young talent, and this might be a team headed for a fall -- no matter who is coaching.

I'm not sure if this is a criticism of Granato or a defense.  It reads a lot like a defense.  Criticisms of Granato are "ridiculous" and "parroted," he has the best winning percentage ever (complete with elipses for effect), and if the team sucks it probably won't be his fault.  Sounds to me like Frei thinks the Avalanche organization is a lot more suspect than the head coach.

Personally, based only on what Frei wrote, I'd think Granato would be more appropriately ranked in the "Jury's Still Out" group.  Granato has been a coach before, after all, and if Frei's contention really is that the odds are stacked against him by a weak team and a misguided organization, then you can't fault Granato's ability, can you?

Anyway, I love writing disingenuous headlines.  I wonder if Politico will hire me.

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