On Tuesday, the Islanders made the hiring of Scott Gordon as their head coach official. For many, the decision to hire Gordon came as no surprise because of his reputation of developing younger players.
Gordon was a finalist along with Paul Maurice and Bob Hartley, both of whom have a ton of experience of coaching in the NHL. Gordon has had plenty of experience and success in the AHL, and is poised to bring the same things to the table in the NHL.
But experience aside, in my opinion Gordon was the perfect choice for this team right now. The Islanders needed someone who was going to work with younger players. They needed someone with a solid system. That's exactly what they got in Gordon.
I don't have anything personal against Maurice or Hartley. I think both were unfairly canned from their previous jobs, considering their respective GM's track records. But when you really look at it, there were some questions surrounding both. I do think any one of the final three would have worked out, however I was really high on Gordon for this job.
Known to be a defense first guy, Gordon explained that the best defense is a great offense, and explained that he likes to use a constant forecheck. he also acknowledged that he likes to utilize his teams speed and preaches "overspeed." That should be a welcome sight for fans who have watched the Isles under Nolan the last few seasons. It was going to undoubtedly be a much faster team with all the youth coming in, but the departure of Nolan and the entrance of Gordon ensured that the younger players might be used more than they were under Nolan.
The Islanders couldn't have gone wrong in my opinion with either of the 3 finalists. While many would say it is a gamble because of the inexperience, Gordon is part of a new idea that many NHL teams are using. Ottawa, Atlanta and San Jose all hired unproven coaches this offseason.
Time will tell how this works. I think Gordon will be just fine and I'm very excited to see what he does with this team. The important thing is that the Islanders must give him plenty of time.