Tuesday, May 13, 2008

All aboard the NHL's coaching carousel

Anyone tired of all the coaching conversation?

It's old news now, even though it happened late last night, that Ron Wilson's exit in San Jose created the sixth opening behind an NHL bench. And if rumours around the league are to be believed, that's a figure that could jump as high as nine in the new few weeks.

Teams without a coach
Atlanta, Colorado, Florida, Ottawa, San Jose, Toronto

Teams that may make a move
Carolina, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay

(Personally, I think Alain Vigneault's safe until October in Vancouver, but some have speculated otherwise.)

From six to nine openings, and way more candidates than that to fill those jobs. Here's my list of potential NHL head coaches as per personal research and those named in media reports (feel free to add names to the list if you've seen them mentioned):

Former NHL coaches of note
Ron Wilson
Joel Quenneville
Bob Hartley
Pat Quinn
Pat Burns
Paul Maurice

Assistant coaches
Detroit's Todd McLellan
Dallas' Rick Wilson
N.Y. Rangers' Perry Pearn
Colorado's Tony Granato
Florida's Mike Kitchen
Penguins' Andre Savard

AHL coaches
Portland's Kevin Dineen
Providence's Scott Gordon
Chicago Wolves' John Anderson
Rochester's Randy Cunneyworth
Hamilton's Don Lever
Lake Erie's Joe Sacco

Junior coaches
Peter DeBoer
Craig Hartsburgh
Patrick Roy

"Other" candidates
Barry Melrose

I put together a look at the so-called Bruce Boudreau types in The Globe on Saturday, trying to find a few of the less heralded names who have put in some time in the minors.

Pat Quinn and Pat Burns generate headlines, but fellows like Scott Gordon and John Anderson could easily be the next Jack Adams winner. More on that later.
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28 Comments:

At 3:16 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger Andrew Bucholtz said...

St. Patrick seems pretty likely to wind up in Denver: that would explain the Quenneville firing a lot more than any of the reasons given to date. I'd like to see Hartsburg get another shot at the NHL too: he's done a great job with the Greyhounds and the World Junior team. He also was a long-serving journeyman defenceman, and plenty of good coaches have come in from that route.

 
At 3:37 PM, May 13, 2008, Anonymous Selanne said...

Ummm... you have Tony Granato under "Other," but he's actually an assistant coach for the Colorado Avalanche.

 
At 3:42 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

You're right, and Kitchen's an assistant in Florida. I'll fix it.

Poor Barry's the last one left as an "other."

 
At 3:56 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger Jonathan said...

No love for Jim Playfair or John Paddock, hmm?

 
At 3:58 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Those two aren't getting hired for head coaching jobs this summer.

 
At 4:02 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Guess Marc Habscheid is out of vogue now, huh?

With so many openings, you'd hope to see some European names in the mix, but alas, that barrier still exists.

 
At 4:10 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger therealdeal said...

I'd put money on Burns being back.

 
At 5:03 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger Jonathan said...

With so many openings, you'd hope to see some European names in the mix, but alas, that barrier still exists.

Well, Alpo Suhonen sure didn't help matters.

After reading Dave King's book (King of Russia), I really get the feeling that it isn't going to change anytime soon. King describes coaches who have no idea about matching lines, which is pretty elementary over here, and some of the bizarre ideas practiced over in the Russian Super League. Maybe it's better in the Sm-Liiga?

 
At 5:05 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

More and more, you're seeing Canadian coaches like Doug Shedden in the European leagues.

I think we're a ways off of a European coaching in the NHL, simply because the game is so much different. The only way it can happen is if a former player moves into an assistant role and excels, and we aren't even seeing that at the moment.

 
At 5:15 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger Michael said...

I am starting to like Robie Ftorek after turning around a young Erie Otters franchise. But I hope he stays in Erie for a while to develop that team back into a winner again.

Maybe Ftorek gets another chance in the NHL down the line,... somehow.

 
At 5:36 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger breed16 said...

No way Tortorella keeps his job. They're tired of his shtick and I doubt he wants to stick around for a long rebuild there. They're just waiting for the Worlds to end to make a move.

 
At 5:39 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

After reading Dave King's book (King of Russia), I really get the feeling that it isn't going to change anytime soon. King describes coaches who have no idea about matching lines, which is pretty elementary over here, and some of the bizarre ideas practiced over in the Russian Super League. Maybe it's better in the Sm-Liiga?
Russian coaching is notorious for that, so yes, I would say it's better in the SM-Liga, Elitseren, and the Swiss league.

And James brings up an interesting point... a lot of ex-European NHLers stay involved with hockey, but none seem to be offered jobs in the NHL or AHL. I can only really think of Ulf Samuelsson as a coach right now in North America.

 
At 7:06 PM, May 13, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Detroit Asst. Coach, PAUL MACLEAN?? He was a great NHL player and has had success as a minor league head coach; and he has been with Babcock since day 1 in Anahiem...

 
At 7:15 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Haven't seen his name come up anywhere yet.

 
At 7:46 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger dfsdao said...

Peter DeBoer will end up in the league soon enough, but I don't see it happening this summer.

He's making really good money in Kitchener, plus he's gotta be the top choice to coach Canada at the U20's in December.

 
At 7:54 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger Jonathan said...

I can't agree with all of the analysis, but there are a few names listed here looking for a head coaching job.

 
At 7:58 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger K said...

FYI- Rob Daum has yet to receive a new contract.

Buchberger supposedly mentioned as possible replacement.

 
At 9:21 PM, May 13, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was something on Kukla about Jacques Martin getting in touch with Penguins asst. coach Andre Savard...

 
At 9:55 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Yes, Savard's a good one to add.

And I'm not tracking assistants — that'd be far too difficult given we don't even know who the head coaches are for 20 per cent of the league.

 
At 4:09 AM, May 14, 2008, Blogger Shawn said...

What about Doug Mac? Woeful GM sure, but there was talk he wanted to get back into coaching.

 
At 11:45 AM, May 14, 2008, Anonymous the sieve said...

I'm curious about the Vigneault comment. Why do you say you think he's safe until October? I can't see Mike Gillis waiting until October to make a coaching change, assuming he is going to.

 
At 12:39 PM, May 14, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I think he's safe until he gives Gillis a reason to not be safe — i.e. he coaches a few games.

 
At 12:50 PM, May 14, 2008, Blogger AJ said...

Where's the love for Mike Sullivan? He did pretty well for his time there until the Bruins threw him under the bus... after they traded Thornton of course.

 
At 3:57 PM, May 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On that list, for assistants, where is Ducks Assistant DAVE FARRISH?

For AHL Coaches, where is MIKE HAVILAND?

 
At 5:59 PM, May 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hired to be fired... jeez, is there any other profession where you can be serially fired & then happily hired by someone else, often not missing a 'day at work' (season)?

 
At 6:50 PM, May 14, 2008, Blogger bbison said...

How come no one has ever given Bill Barber a second shot? He did pretty well in that three-ring circus Clarke was running.

 
At 12:48 PM, May 20, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone who is getting no love in the press, but should be... is current Albany River Rats coach Tom Rowe. Has never truly had a star studded lineup (minus the lockout year)and his teams are always competitive.

 
At 8:45 PM, May 20, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Doug Shedden, who coached finland to a bronze medal

 

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