Wednesday, November 30, 2011

There's no accounting for accountability

There's a new buzzword making the rounds in the National Hockey League. It's "accountability," and it means...nothing.
Kirk Muller was talking about accountability Monday at his first news conference as the new head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, and he might as well have been reciting the Moose Lodge oath of allegiance or whistling Dixie. Bruce Boudreau talked about accountability right up until he was fired Monday as head coach in Washington because the Capitals quit on him. Boudreau's fate was sealed when he held Alexander Ovechkin accountable by benching his best player in the late stages of a tie game earlier this month. Ovechkin paid lip service to accountability at the time but continued to tune out the coach and perform well below his pay scale, and Boudreau paid the price.
Accountability means something in the real world and even to the low level grunts among professional athletes, but the nature of the business is such that players of Ovechkin's status are not accountable. Scott Gomez is another glaring example. If Gomez were held accountable for his shortcomings, he'd be playing on the third line for the Toledo Walleye of the East Coast Hockey League.
Muller and Boudreau and the rest of the coaching fraternity can talk all they want about accountability, but they should understand that they're the only ones who will ultimately be held accoutable - not just for their own failures, but for the failures of fat cat prima donnas whose God-given ability insulates against accountability, whether or not they're carrying their weight.

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