Hey fans, when we watch a game it's the players who get all of our attention.  After all, they're the guys who make the big plays, score the goals and every once in a while drop the gloves!  Not that I'm recommending that any of you should do that.

But sometimes it's the guys who are walking behind the bench who really influence the game. They're the coaches and one of the most innovative was Roger Neilsen.

Roger was great.  He knew the rule book better than anyone else in the game. 

Lots of coaches pull their goalie when the game is almost over to get another forward on the ice. Roger added a bit of a twist to that plan. He told his goalie to leave his stick on the ice in the crease. There was no goalie in the net, but his stick would still stop the puck. Pretty smart, eh! 

Well, other coaches got all upset because they didn't think this was fair, so what happened? The league re-wrote the rule. That was Roger, always finding a way to get an edge.

He was also the first coach to spend hour after hour watching the game on tape.  He was looking for weaknesses that his team could take advantage of. Now everyone does it.

So when you see a game, take a second to think of the coaches like Roger Neilsen. They have more control than you might think.