So maybe the Buffalo Sabres shouldn’t be looking at all of the coaches behind the bench for Team Canada in this years World Championships which start today in Finland. But they should be looking at at least one of them.
For every player not partaking in the Stanley Cup playoffs – there is a tournament of champions that they can play in – that is bigger than the Stanley Cup – but often overshadowed by it.
The lineup of coaching staff’s is typically rounded out by top tier coaches who don’t have the luck to be coaching in the Stanley Cup Finals. Looking behind team Canada’s bench – our neighbors to the North will be coached by none other than Lindy Ruff. Assisting him will be fellow NHL coaches Barry Trotz, now the longest tenured coach in the NHL, and Pheonix Coyotes head coach Dave Tippet.
Where the Buffalo Sabres should be watching the World Championship is Team Canada’s third assistant coach – Doug Shedden.
Shedden is a former product of the National Hockey League, having played 416 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Quebec Nordiques, and Toronto Maple Leafs from 1981-1992.
He has coached at every level – successfully.
He has coached for four CHL championship teams; back to back championships with the Wichita Thunder and Memphis RiverKings, and a UHL championship with the Flint Generals in between.
He coached the St. John’s Maple Leafs of the American Hockey League – before the Leafs moved and became the Toronto Marlies. After his second season with the Maple Leafs where he lost in the first round of the playoffs – he moved to Finland and has been coaching there.
The Buffalo Sabres – in the midst of a rebuild, need a coach with Shedden’s track record to lead the youngest team in the National Hockey League to maturity.
Now – if Ron Rolston is the coach of the immediate future – I woudl still have a conversation with Shedden about an assistant coach position, or even the head spot in Rochester.
In 1991-1992 he was named the coach of the Wichita Thunder, and his team missed the playoffs. They went on to win the next two CHL Championships. His next four years wth the Louisiana IceGators resulted in four playoff appearances, to include one finals appearance.
1999-2000 saw him change teams and leagues, and in one season with the Flint Generals – won a UHL Championship. Back into the CHL as the head coach of the Memphis River Kings, 2000-2001 saw an early post season exit as they lost in round one, but he was back the next two years for back to back championships
The Toronto Maple Leafs would tap him then for a two year stint with St. John’s. Prior to his joining the team, the Maple Leafs couldn’t get out of 3rd place in the Canadien division, and end up in 7th place in the North his first season. The Maple Leafs jumped to 2nd in his final year with the team, but lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Point being – Doug Shedden can take a team of young players – and win with them quickly. The question is – would the Buffalo Sabres be interested in trying to lure him back to the North American game – and would he be interested in joining the Buffalo Sabres for a grueling rebuild.
It might not be a bad idea to plant the seed in his head, and let him talk to Lindy about his time in Buffalo while they coach together in Finland.