So we have our first in-house controversy of the season. As you'd expect, Ted Nolan handled it perfectly.
To recap, with the Islanders about to start a brief 5-on-3 power play in the final minutes of Wednesday's game in Atlanta, what would usually be a harmless Fox shot of the Islanders bench became something more. Assistant coach Gerard Gallant was seen making a very emphatic point to dman Marc-Andre Bergeron. Many have assumed MAB might have protested because he didn't like being on the bench for the power play.
One of the many cool things about Ted: while Gallant and Bergeron smiled off Greg Logan's questions about it yesterday after practice and said everything was coming up roses, Ted gave one of those answers that had Logan and Mears and King and the ITV crew and even the PR guy looking at each other like, "This is good."
The head coach didn't laugh it off or try to sweep it under the rug. He made it clear he was not happy with what transpired and he intended to talk to BOTH parties about it.
I really liked that. It's so easy for head coaches to jump on players. Ted's position was that he was going to get to the bottom of it but make no mistake - everyone was wrong. Of course, if this was Isiah and Eddy Curry, it might have bumped the latest faux-Yankees rumors off the back page.
(Did you see the one today about how the San Fran Giants might take Matsui's contract off the Yankees' hands and trade a 27-year old lefty who went 14-7 last year for him? Man, no wonder New Yorkers get a reputation for thinking they can have everything).
Anyway, back to Ted. He handled the situation with MAB and the assistant they call "Turk" honestly and directly. There's only one hockey coach I know who would have handled it the same way. That was the guy with 739, I mean 740 wins and four Cup rings as Islanders coach.