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Toe to Toe – Kerr the right coach and the Crosby show

Two combatants from Cogeco’s Sports Firing line Frank “The Toe” Caruso (left), and Chris Dawson (right) now take their arguments to the web with a new BayToday.ca weekly sports opinion feature called, “Toe to Toe.” Photo by Lee Anne Dawson.



Two combatants from Cogeco’s Sports Firing line Frank “The Toe” Caruso (left), and Chris Dawson (right) now take their arguments to the web with a new BayToday.ca weekly sports opinion feature called, “Toe to Toe.” Photo by Lee Anne Dawson.

The North Bay Skyhawks announced that minor pro superstar Kevin Kerr will take the job behind the Skyhawks bench this season. With little coaching experience is he the right man to lead the three-time defending NOJHL champions?


Chris:

"Usually the guy with the most coaching experience is the guy who gets the head coaching position. But in this instance the Skyhawks go with an inexperienced head coach (Kevin Kerr) with some assistant coaching experience as a player/assistant and hire an assistant coach in Ray Flaherty who has nearly two decades worth of experience coaching Junior A hockey in arguably the best Junior A league in the country. Here he is taking a back seat, which I give Flaherty credit for.

"I just don’t know if this makes sense because Kerr doesn’t expect to be here more than 2 years, I think Kerr should take the back seat and let Flaherty be the man because he’s the only one of the two that has the potential to be around for the long haul.

"Remember when Randy Edmonds came on board he called it his three year plan which is the timetable to build a team with that coaches trademark on it. If that trademark will be different every year that can be a formula for hockey disaster."


Frank:

"You know Chris, many people have been saying that, and you’re not the only one that’s been saying that but I like Kevin Kerr being head coach and I’ll tell you why. I think Flaherty now in this aspect of things can be the guy behind the scenes, he’s also the assistant general manager don’t forget. There’s going to be times when he’s going to have to go out instead of Guy Blanchard and take a look at some kids, giving Kevin Kerr the reigns. Also I think Guy Blanchard is doing a favour for Kevin, I think for Kevin it’s going to look good on his resume that he has coached junior hockey somewhere before so for wherever he goes in the next couple of years he’ll have that in his resume. But for Flaherty from his perspective can sit back, take a look and let’s be honest, some pressure will be off of him, he could take a look at what’s going on with the organization and the team and it will make the Skyhawks better for the future.”

Friday July 22nd is a special day, as the hockey world will find out what team will draft Sidney Crosby, as the NHL holds its draft lottery. But how good will this kid be?

Frank:

"Do I think Crosby is going to be an incredible player this year? No, I don’t. The main reason is this. I’ve seen him over the last two years at the World Juniors, he’s a terrific hockey player, he’s got more power than people think, but the game in the NHL is a lot different, people come out gunning at you and you know what there’s no games that you can take off in the NHL, the competition is way too good. Do I think he’s going to have a good year though, the answer is yes, because he’s going to be given the opportunity because he’s going to be playing on a terrible team, given the opportunity to play a lot of power plays with some top notch players, so point wise he’s going to be okay. The NHL game is a lot faster and most of all it’s a lot more physical and if he thought the punishment at the Memorial Cup was big wait until he sees his first ten games in the NHL. Crosby is an incredible hockey player, he’s not Gretzky, let’s get that out of the way, he’s not Mario Lemieux, let’s get that out of the way but he’s going to be a terrific hockey player a la Joe Sakic. Let’s be honest and don’t put too much pressure on this kid but he is a boost to the NHL, I think the NHL is going to improve because of Sidney Crosby but I think Crosby this year he’s going to have a lot of ups and downs.”

Chris:

"Frank, sorry buddy but you’re underestimating the young phenom. He’s going to finish with 35 – 40 goals and 80 points in his rookie season barring injury. He will win the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, in a season which he’s got some other tremendous rookie competition in Jeff Carter and Alexander Ovechkin. He will also get an invitation to play for Team Canada at the Olympics if they are allowed to make substitutes (Crosby wasn’t invited to the Team Canada camp this summer).

"I’ve had the honor of watching him first hand in his first ever regular season junior hockey game. He was making another huge transition, from High School hockey in the U.S. to the Quebec league. In that game in Rouyn-Noranda, he was mauled by the opposition but he kept going and finished the game with a third period hat trick. He is smart enough and strong enough on his feet to adapt to the NHL style of play, and if the officials are going to be cracking down on obstruction as many of us hope they do, then that will work to his advantage as well. You’re right Frank, he is no Wayne Gretzky, but Sidney Crosby will prove that he is in a league of his own sooner than you think."


Toe to Toe can be seen every Friday on BayToday.ca.



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Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with BayToday.ca 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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