Tag: Arturs Irbe

Ted Nolan, Darcy Burchell

Trottier, Irbe highlight Ted Nolan’s Sabres coaching staff


Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan has filled out his coaching staff and it has a few familiar faces on it.

The Sabres announced they have hired Bryan Trottier, Danny Flynn, Tom Coolen as assistant coaches and Arturs Irbe as the goalie coach. As you might expect, Nolan is excited about the group he’s put together.

“I’m very happy with the group of talented hockey minds we were able to assemble for our coaching staff,” Nolan said. “Each one of these coaches brings an extensive and different background from the hockey world and I’m confident they will help get our team to where it needs to go this season.”

Trottier we’d heard rumors about him being brought on board from before. Same goes for Flynn, as Bill Hoppe at Buffalo Hockey Beat shared, who once worked with Nolan in junior hockey with the Soo Greyhounds and Moncton Wildcats.

Coolen was a part of Nolan’s staff with Team Latvia and was also a former head coach in Moncton, as Willy Pavlov at The Chronicle Herald shared.

Irbe should be familiar to NHL fans. He spent 13 seasons in the NHL most famously with the San Jose Sharks and Carolina Hurricanes. He led the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup Final in 2002 before losing to the Detroit Red Wings. He was also the Washington Capitals’ goalie coach from 2009-2011 where he worked with current Sabres goalie Michal Neuvirth.

Best and worst sweaters of all-time: San Jose Sharks

Jeff Friesen

It’s not easy wearing teal but the San Jose Sharks have made it look good for over 20 seasons in the NHL. Of course, sometimes teal doesn’t always look so nice and when you’re perpetually coming up short of the Stanley Cup that stings a bit. Regardless, the Sharks stick with it through good and bad and look good while doing so.

Best: Ahh the Sharks. Forever in teal since their inception (hey, everyone needed a team in teal) and always with a menacing shark adorning their sweaters. Chances are you either love the design and the look or you hate it. As for me, my favorite remains the original road teal sweater. It’s the one they wore during their crowning moment as a franchise in beating the Detroit Red Wings in 1994 and it’s forever etched into everyone’s memory thanks to Arturs Irbe and Jamie Baker. Love teal or hate it, it set the tone for how to embrace such an odd sports color.

Worst: That said, sometimes teal is a bad thing and when the Sharks updated their look to make it look a bit more modern, it turned the classic road teal sweater into a teal, black, and gray clusterbomb of color. Sure the shark on the front stayed the same, but the dorsal fin patch that looked so good on the original sweater was gone and the font on the numbers and letters was switched up to make names look muddled on the back. Messing with a good thing is wrong. Making Owen Nolan look bad is never a good thing.

Embracing orange: Oddly enough, when the Sharks redid their look with the RBK Edge system sweaters, they added a color to help make things pop. Out went the gray and in came the hint of orange. By adding orange to their look and numbers to the front of the sweater along with a tweaked out new-ish logo, the Sharks were able to make something virtually brand new and old-school looking. The love for orange was official when fans were given orange rally towels during the playoffs last season. Respect earned.

Assessment: The Sharks current sweaters are nice. Well, except for the overly dull “BlackArmor” third sweater that sucks all the color and life out of their look. Being ashamed of who you are (and that’s a team whose main color is still teal) doesn’t invoke any sort pride at all. If you want to find something silly and nonsensical to blame the Sharks playoff loss to Vancouver on last season, blame it on the BlackArmor. If the Sharks did away with that, they’d be sitting pretty.

Arturs Irbe left Capitals job as goalie coach because he wanted to do more


Having an NHL-experienced goalie on your staff as the team’s goalie coach is a great thing to have, especially when you’ve got a host of young guys in net to coach. For the Washington Capitals, they had former San Jose Sharks star and Latvian superman Arturs Irbe to handle those duties.

This summer, however, Irbe decided to leave his position with the Capitals unexpectedly in early June. With having guys like Semyon Varlamov, Michal Neuvirth, and Braden Holtby to help mold into becoming stud goalies in the NHL, you’d think Irbe had the dream job to have. After all, it’s not as if the Caps were a losing team and Irbe’s tutelage was going to be useful with such a young stable of goalies.

As it turns out, Irbe had his eyes on something more like the American dream. Slava Malamud reports in The Washington Post that Irbe was looking to stretch his coaching abilities a bit further out than just with goalies.

“There were many positives in working for Washington,” Irbe added. “But If I continued to coach goalies there, sooner or later it would have turned into a routine. Plus, there were no opportunities for career growth at all.”

When asked what kind of opportunities he was looking for, Irbe shared this: “I had asked George McPhee whether I could hope for any kind of career growth over an indefinite period of time, to become an assistant coach, to increase my responsibility. But he answered that a goalie coach is the most secure job. They counted on my working with Capitals goalies for many years and that I would be satisfied with that. … Washington offered me a new deal but after a lot of thinking I had decided not to sign it.”

Sounds like Arturs may have had some unrealistic expectations about the NHL coaching market.

Looking to grow and expand your opportunities is something we can all identify with. Think of how many times you’ve found yourself at a job you liked and wanted to do more with what you were doing. Sometimes when you’re at one of the first jobs in your career you feel like you can contribute things to cure any and all the ills going on or add something more to the process to make things better.

Sounds like Irbe didn’t want to be shackled down by his position and held in place by the whims of “the man” and set himself free so as to not wind up being stereotyped the rest of his post-playing career. It sounds like something out of deep literature in how it transpired for Irbe and perhaps one day he’ll wind up being an assistant or head coach, but making that jump right away is almost impossible for anyone to do. Everyone  has to get their start someplace and for Irbe, starting out as a goalie coach is a nice beginning.

That said, McPhee was right in telling him that being a goalie coach is the most secure job to have in that market but coaching a position is vastly different than coaching a team when you’re juggling strategies and lines. You can’t begrudge a guy wanting to do more with his life and Irbe will hopefully get to live his hopes out somehow.