April 23, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Phoenix Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett (right) and assistant coach Jim Playfair talk during the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks in game six of the 2012 Western Conference quarterfinals at the United Center. The Coyotes beat the Blackhawks 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE
We have examined a lot of aspects of the Phoenix Coyotes and Nashville Predators in preparation for the coming series, we've looked at the goaltenders, the defensemen, the forwards, and the special teams. Coaching is a little more difficult to analyze, what variables should you look at? Perhaps the best indication for the coaches success is how far they have taken teams in the past, the number of seasons they have taken a team to the playoffs, and their success with their current and past teams.
Coach Tippett began his NHL coaching career as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Kings between 1999-2002, with the Kings going to the playoffs every year, and making it to the second round during the 2000-2001 season. Tippett was than hired as the head coach of the Dallas Stars in 2002, where he lead the team to 2 Pacific Division Titles and to the conference finals in 2007-2008 and the semifinals his first year in 2002-2003. Dallas replaced Tippett with Marc Crawford after he failed to make the playoffs in 2008-2009, Crawford has yet to lead the Stars to the playoffs, and he became the head coach for the Phoenix Coyotes, where he has yet to miss the playoffs in his 3 seasons as head coach.
Coach Trotz began his NHL coaching career as the first coach of the Nashville Predators, in fact he has been the only head coach of the Predators. Under Trotz the team has missed the playoffs 6 years, his first 5 seasons as coach and during the 2008-2009 season. This is the Predator's 7th year in the playoffs, and they made it to the second round of the playoffs for the first time last season, where they 2nd in the Central Division. Trotz also was the assistant coach for Team Canada at the IIHF World Championship, including the 2003 Gold medal winning team.
Times in the Playoffs:
8 times as head coach, 3 times as assistant coach
6 times as head coach
Deepest Gone in the Playoffs:
Conference Finals with the 2007-2008 Dallas Stars
Conference Semifinals with the 2010-2011 Nashville Predators
I would give the advantage to Coach Tippett just because he has spent more times in the playoffs and he has gone deeper.