Rolston fine confuses, angers anonymous NHL coaches

Thomas Drance

Several anonymous coaches were contacted by QMI to discuss the "player selection and team conduct" fine the league handed out to Sabres coach Ron Rolston this week. Rolston was fined for leaving John Scott on the ice (with first change).

The consensus? Mass confusion and anger over the entire thing.

"So what am I supposed to do now? Do I call the ref over and call timeout so I can call (league vice-president of hockey operations) Colie Campbell and ask him who I can put on the ice?"

This particular coach was upset enough about the fine that he was considering refusing in-game interviews as a protest. But think about all the useful information those in-game interviews provide the fans! 

Another coach was similarly perplexed: "What (Rolston) did was pretty much what a lot of us would have done in those circumstances. Now the league is going to tell who we can and who can’t put on the ice? I have no problem with discipline for our actions, but dictating ‘player selection’ crosses a line in my mind."

A third coach also chimed in and spoke about the pressures on coaches to adhere to "the code" and "protect" his players. "If I’m in that kind of situation and I don’t put a guy out there to protect my players, the guys on the bench are going to look at me and say to themselves, ‘what’s this guy doing?’" 

"My manager is going to ask me why I’m not protecting my players and the owner is going to ask my manager why I’m not protecting my players. The next thing you know, those guys are going to decide they are going to get somebody who is going to protect their players."