Friday, 13 September 2013

Sylvain Lefebvre is coaching to develop players, and not necessarily to win games for the Hamilton Bulldogs.

    À Hamilton, j'avais le choix entre placer des vétérans qui nous auraient permis de gagner ou des jeunes qui nous assureraient de progresser à long terme. J'ai opté pour une jeune équipe. L'entraîneur Sylvain Lefebvre, qui est une personne extraordinaire, a compris le message. On lui a enlevé Brendan Gallagher à la mi-janvier et il est devenu un candidat au trophée Calder. Quand Jarred Tinordi a été rappelé, il a fait des pas de géant. Puis, il y a eu Nathan Beaulieu et Greg Pateryn dont on a été témoin de la progression. On parle rarement de Sylvain Lefebvre, mais c'est un bon homme de hockey qui sait exactement pourquoi il est là.

Translation:  "In Hamilton, we had the choice between getting veterans who would have allowed us to win or youngsters who would progress for the long term.  I opted for a young team.  Coach Sylvain Lefebvre, who is a great person, got the message.  We took away Brendan Gallagher in January and he became a Calder Trophy candidate.  When Jarred Tinordi was recalled, he took some giant step.  Also, there was Nathan Beaulieu and Greg Pateryn who we witnessed their progression.  We rarely speak of Sylvain Lefebvre, but he a good hockey man who knows exactly why he's there."

There was some griping last season about some puzzling decisions by Sylvain Lefebvre, in terms of how he used some players, in what combinations or roles, and how the offence stagnated.  We suspected that he wasn't necessarily trying to win at all costs, but rather putting the kids out there and making them play and learn and progress, and that is corroborated by the quote above.  It's also apparent that he has the confidence of his GM.

Having said that, this season he'll have a much deeper team, with some talented AHL veterans brought in, and his youngsters being more battle-hardened and more mature.  We can expect this team to be more competitive, and not be outgunned and overmatched for almost every game they show up for.

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