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Coaches' Codes

At last, hockey's secret code has been cracked.

Everyone knows hockey coaches speak in code. Finally, after years of exhaustive study, that code has been broken. Usually, the coach speaks in code when he's trying to sugar-coat his assessment of a player or his team. We now know the difference between "what a coach says" and "what a coach really means."

Here's a list of the most common "code" phrases used by coaches:

  • Code: He's a role player.
    Translation: We think he can play a role, we just haven't figure out what that role is yet.
  • Code: He's a "character" guy.
    Translation: Makes us laugh, tells jokes and does impressions.
  • Code: He's good in the room.
    Translation: We should leave him in the room because he's useless on the ice.
  • Code: He brings intangibles.
    Translation: We're not sure what he brings to the team.
  • Code: He's a competitor.
    Translation: He competes every night, he just doesn't win very often.
  • Code: He's gritty.
    Translation: He needs a bath.
  • Code: He's hard-nosed.
    Translation: He's dumb enough to lead with his face.
  • Code: He's good in the corners.
    Translation: He belongs in the corner -- with a dunce cap on.
  • Code: He gives us physical presence.
    Translation: He takes up space.
  • Code: He's a technically-sound goalie.
    Translation: His reflexes are lousy.
  • Code: He's a reflex goalie.
    Translation: He hasn't got a clue how to play the angles.
  • Code: He's a power-play specialist.
    Translation: I like having an extra man out there to cover up for his screw-ups.
  • Code: He's a stay-at-home defenseman.
    Translation: He can't skate and carry the puck at the same time.
  • Code: He's an offensive defenseman.
    Translation: He can't play defense.
  • Code: He adds toughness.
    Translation: He's here for two shifts a night and start fights on both of them.
  • Code: He's an all-round player.
    Translation: He doesn't do anything particularly well.
  • Code: He's feisty.
    Translation: He chirps at the opposition and takes dumb penalties at crucial times.
  • Code: He's got experience.
    Translation: He's lost with better teams.
  • Code: He has tremendous upside.
    Translation: He can't get any worse.
  • Code: He's a "project".
    Translation: This guy was abandoned in the jungle as a small boy and taught to play hockey by the family of gorillas who adopted him. And I'm supposed to coach this?
  • Code: He's a grinder.
    Translation: It's 50-50 he'll miss an empty net from three feet.
  • Code: He's got good work ethic.
    Translation: He works hard but accomplishes little.
  • Code: He's a playmaker.
    Translation: He had better pass because he shoots like my grandmother.
  • Code: We've got good chemistry.
    Translation: We may be lousy but we all get along.
  • Code: We're rebuilding.
    Translation: We stink this year and we probably will the year after that too
  • Code: We're shaking up the lines to add offense
    Translation: I'm pulling names out of a hat and hoping it works.
  • Code: We're letting him see the game from above so he can learn.
    Translation: He pissed me off so much the last game I want him as far away from me as possible
  • Code: We only had a few bright spots tonight
    Translation: I watched my career as a coach go down the crapper
  • Code: Things are turning around for us now
    Translation: We don't suck as much as before and I can keep my dinner down watching these losers
  • Code: He's our star
    Translation: He can actually play hockey
  • Code: We don't want to rush him
    Translation: He sucks
  • Code: We played undisciplined hockey
    Translation: The ref sucked
  • Code: We were not as good as we should be
    Translation: How can these high school dropouts get paid millions for that crap they spewed on the ice tonight?
  • Code: We need to work harder
    Translation: No all night benders the night before the next game.
  • Code: I am in the best shape of my career
    Translation: I have a no trade clause in my contract
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