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ROSE: Tough pill to swallow for Isles' fans

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foxsports admin

 
   
 
Ever since Bryan Trottier's playing career ended, his main aspiration has been to become a head coach in the National Hockey League. He's now going to realize that dream with the New York Rangers. As an ex-Islander, some will speculate that he is a traitor for coaching the Rangers. That's ridiculous. Loyalty went out the window in sports a long time ago. Bryan needs to think of himself first in this situation. He's one of the assistant coaches around the NHL who has paid his dues, sat patiently by the phone, gone through the interview process and has been frustrated annually by his inability to get a head coaching job. This is his time and he deserves it. Besides, the last time Trottier suited up in an Islanders uniform to play against the Rangers was more than 10 years ago. I would be disappointed if the Ranger fans didn't get behind Trottier. The Rangers haven't made the playoffs in five straight years, and unfortunately Scotty Bowman and Al Arbour aren't available right now. So the Garden faithful must get behind whomever Glen Sather perceives as the best candidate out there. The name of the person behind the bench isn't nearly as important to the fans as winning. They will accept Trottier as long as the team does well. I'm sure if the Rangers struggle, and Trottier is perceived as part of the reason for it, then he'll hear some nasty stuff relative to his days with the Islanders. But that has to be considered absolutely inconsequential. His background is totally irrelevant. All that matters is that he's the right man at the right time. If you look at this situation from a historical perspective, if the Rangers fans accepted hated Bruin Phil Esposito, they'll accept anybody. As for the Islanders fans, Trottier's new post will be a harder pill to swallow. But they have to accept that Bryan is getting to realize his dream. People who care about Bryan, not just because he wore the Islanders sweater, but as a person, will hopefully feel happy for him. The beauty of Trottier coaching the Rangers is that it is only going to add another dimension to the Rangers-Islanders rivalry and make it more intense. The important question here isn't whether or not the Rangers or Islanders fans will get behind Trottier; it's whether or not he will be a good coach. Trottier is one of several coaches hired by Glen Sather who did not have any real track record as an NHL coach. John Muckler, Ted Green and Ron Low are some others that come to mind. This suggests that Sather might be more comfortable if he can cast a very large shadow over his coaches. Bryan is not only going to have to negotiate his own players but also the relationship with his GM. All coaches do, but it's more difficult when you're in a situation like Bryan's, where you're first looking to make your mark. But I have every faith in Trottier. First of all, he is as competitive as anyone I have ever met in professional sports. Also, he understands the New York market, and since he played with a lot of big-time, high-profile players with the Islanders, he understands the ego of successful athletes. With all of those traits, I think the Rangers have made a good choice and I believe this is a win-win situation for all hockey fans in the New York area. Howie Rose recently completed his sixth season as play-by-play announcer for Islanders telecasts on FOX Sports New York. During the hockey off-season Rose serves in the same capacity for Mets telecasts, a position he has held for the past five seasons. His columns appear regularly on MSGNetwork.com.
Tagged: Islanders, Rangers

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