Not only goalies wear masks: NHL coaches must cover faces

Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette, center left, talks to his players during NHL hockey practice at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via AP)Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette, center left, talks to his players during NHL hockey practice at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via AP)
Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour conducts drills during NHL hockey training camp in Morrisville, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour conducts drills during NHL hockey training camp in Morrisville, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton sets up a drill during an NHL hockey training camp practice Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton sets up a drill during an NHL hockey training camp practice Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice struggled to blow a whistle while wearing a mask. Barry Trotz couldn’t see if one of his New York Islanders players was skating toward him because his mask had helped fog up his glasses.

“It was ugly there for a while,” Maurice said. “There’s some challenges to it.”

One of the new challenges for NHL coaches this season is the requirement to wear a mask behind the bench during games and on the ice for practices. Now that goaltenders won’t be the only masked men around the rink, coaches will learn and adjust on the fly like those in other sports have had to in recent months.

“Just being around the rink all day wearing one is an adjustment, but we’ll work it out,” Joel Quenneville of the Florida Panthers said. “Sometimes when you really want to get your point across, you might have to pull your mask down to make yourself clear. But I’ve never changed lines with a face mask on.”

Hockey coaches are more responsible than their counterparts in baseball, football or basketball to bark out directions in real time at a fast pace, which makes this an even steeper learning curve. Get ready for loud yelling and maybe a few more bench minor penalties for too many men on the ice.

“I used to have a big moustache, maybe that was kind of like a mask,” Dave Tippett of the Edmonton Oilers said. “I’m a mumbler at the best of times. You’ll have to be really clear with who’s going on line changes.”

One thing that’s clear is most coaches won’t complain about the extra safety measure to prevent virus spread. Quenneville and his staff have talked about NFL coaches being fined for not wearing face coverings correctly and how they’ve adapted.

Commissioner Gary Bettman told coaches and executives that protocols “are not a suggestion or a recommendation” and the NHL “will vigorously enforce them.”

“I’m going to have to do my absolute best to make sure it stays on and stays right,” D.J. Smith of the Ottawa Senators said. “Ultimately the league’s doing it for a reason, and it’s the safety, and I’ll abide by all the rules.”

So will John Tortorella, who told the Columbus Blue Jackets on the first day of camp he doesn’t want to hear any complaining about health and safety protocols. He said wearing a mask is important and added: “It doesn’t affect me, it will not affect the other coaches.”

Colleagues also see it as personal responsibility.

“It’s the right move under these circumstances,” David Quinn of the New York Rangers said. “If it helps a little bit, we should all do it, so certainly our staff is embracing it. Our organization’s embracing it and we’re just going to have to manage it.”

There are some benefits. Maurice suggested keeping the television cameras off him during games because they won’t be able to pick up anything he’s saying anyway.

Gone — for now — are the days of reading lips of coaches swearing at officials or each other.

“Probably be good for me,” Peter Laviolette of the Washington Capitals said. “Nobody will see what’s coming out of my mouth. My mother will be happy.”

READ MORE: NHLers know not everyone’s happy they’re playing: ‘We’re not blind’

___

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.

___

___

Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusNHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

Damien Kurek on a Zoom call with Bashaw chamber members Jan. 13, 2021.
Brainstorming for businesses: Zoom meeting held to discuss supports

Chamber members were joined by business owners and elected officials for session

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw
Alberta eases some COVID-19 restrictions

Salons, barbershops and other personal and wellness services will be open by appointment only

Lesser Slave Lake UCP MLA Pat Rehn. (Facebook)
Kenney kicks Pat Rehn out of UCP caucus after municipal complaints

Rehn had been criticized by municipal leaders in his constituency

(Via the Canadian Press)
Alberta monolith comes with message to save eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains

‘They deserve our attention. They warrant our protection. They are under threat’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

blessing
Bentley Blessing Pantry continues to faithfully serve the community

‘We just wanted to make everyone aware that we are still here to serve you throughout this coming year.’

A Suncor logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 2, 2019. A worker is missing after a dozer broke through ice on an inactive Suncor tailings pond in northern Alberta.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Worker missing after dozer breaks through frozen tailings pond in northern Alberta

The worker was an employee of Christina River Construction

File Photo
‘You took away some real joy,’ Sylvan Lake Winter Village turned off after vandalism

Sometime during the night of Jan, 12 the light display at the pier was vandalized and damaged

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID clarity: Feds say 42-day gap for 2-dose vaccines OK as provinces race to immunity

‘Realities on the ground’ means that provinces, territories will have difficult choices to make

Most Read