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Great run lately for some North Bay head coaches

'It's interesting having this opportunity to come in under the circumstances, and you don't know how it's going to go or how you're going to feel when you're presented with it'
Postgame NSH at CHI, Taylor
Karl Taylor during Friday's post-game press conference. Photo courtesy

It has been quite a special time for three well-known local coaches.  

Of course Mike O'Shea, the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers took home his second straight Grey Cup title recently. 

O'Shea, who was also named the CFL coach of the year on Grey Cup Sunday, does not feel or consider this a back-to-back championship.  

"We never thought of it as a repeat anyway as 2020 was a very tough year on the players as they sacrificed a ton in that year and a lot to come back to get this season going so praises to the players really for allowing this season and getting this season going and the CFL too to get a plan," O'Shea said post-game.  

See related: Back to back Grey Cups for O'Shea

Earlier in the month, Mike Yeo, an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers, was promoted to interim head coach with the Flyers after the organization fired Alain Vigneault due to the recent struggles on the ice with the hockey team. 

See related: Mike Yeo named interim coach of Flyers

Then most recently, Karl Taylor got a unique opportunity to coach the Nashville Predators to a pair of wins. 

Taylor has always dreamed about an opportunity to coach at the National Hockey League level. 

I am sure in his wildest dreams, he never figured his first opportunity to coach in the National Hockey League would be as a relief coach during a pandemic. 

Well, that's exactly how Taylor got his opportunity late last week when on December 16, the Nashville Predators called up four players and two coaches from the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals [Preds affiliate team] for their game at the Bridgestone arena against the Colorado Avalanche. 

The Predators were without seven players and their entire five-man coaching staff, all in NHL COVID-19 protocol. 

However, that didn't stop the Predators led by the 2019-20 AHL coach of the year and former North Bay Trapper to beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 on Thursday and then followed that up with a big 3-2 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.   

"This team has got the right energy, the right mentality," Taylor said after the Thursday win over Colorado.

"We just tried to come in and not get in the way, make sure we just rode the wave they're on right now. Add a few things here and there, make sure they had direction, make sure we executed the game plan properly."

While COVID-19 took away a promising potential playoff run for Taylor's Admirals in 2019-20, this week it worked the other way creating an opportunity he won't soon forget. 

"It's interesting having this opportunity to come in under the circumstances, and you don't know how it's going to go or how you're going to feel when you're presented with it, but the comfort level I have and being able to enjoy it with Scott Ford and go through the process, it just feels right," Taylor told about sharing the coaching duties with his assistant in Milwaukee. 

See related: Karl Taylor still chasing his NHL Dream

"It just feels like the place where I'm able to do my job well and focus on what I can do. And as a group, let's be honest, the players are playing great. So, it's an easy team to coach right now and very enjoyable."

Back in 2020, Taylor admitted he was not sure that NHL opportunity would present itself.  

"I think there is the realization a few years back that I can coach at the NHL level, but I have no idea if that is ever going to happen for me but that is okay," he told BayToday in the spring of 2020. 

Taylor and Ford will return to Milwaukee now as the Nashville Predators have cancelled their next three contests due to COVID-19. 

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Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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