Tag: assistant coaches


Buffalo Sabres promote Kevyn Adams to assistant coach

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Generally speaking, the 2006 Stanley Cup-winning Carolina Hurricanes weren’t exactly known for their defense-minded play or excelling at “doing the small things.” If you ask me, that team won because it sent wave after wave of dangerous forwards after opponents, pushed the pace from their defense and leaned heavily on then-rookie goalie Cam Ward.

Yet even an oddball team like that post-lockout Canes squad had its fair share of blue collar workers, from Mike Commodore and his giant red afro to the two Adams: Kevyn and Craig. They weren’t siblings, but sometimes it seemed that way considering how willing they were to do the dirty work to help that team win.

While Craig continues to ply his versatile, lime-light-deflecting trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kevyn Adams retired in 2009 and joined the Buffalo Sabres organization as a player development coach. Apparently the Sabres are liking what they’re seeing with him because they announced that Adams will be an assistant coach for Lindy Ruff next season.

Ruff will probably need some good assistants to lean on in 2011-12 because there will be plenty of pressure to succeed after Buffalo spent big (and often) during its first off-season with Terry Pegula as their owner. It sounds like Adams will probably work primarily with forwards, which makes perfect sense considering the fact that he has 10 years of NHL experience to back up his points.

“Kevyn is going to work with the forwards, and be involved in the special teams, and continue the development work with the players. I’ve got some different thoughts on our special teams, and I’d like to utilize all three coaches. I think that’s how you develop,” Ruff explains. “Kevyn may be a voice in one or the other, and I’ve talked to him about it. I don’t think solely do I want either coach just to run either (the power play or penalty kill).

In a strange way, this must be a dream come true (or at least half-true) because Adams grew up as a Sabres fan but never played for Buffalo during his journeyman NHL career.

A native of Clarence, NY, Adams is thrilled about having the opportunity to further his coaching career with his hometown team. Adams even mentioned how his father reminisced with him yesterday about the two of them sitting with in the last row of the orange seats at The Aud while he was growing up. Not having played with the Sabres during his 10-year NHL career, Adams relishes the chance to finally be part of the team’s success.

“The one thing that I have is there was a passion in me from the time I was four or five years old being a Sabres fan. Then you lose that when you playing because all you want to do is win, wherever you are. When Darcy and Lindy called me a couple of years ago and this first opportunity came, I was so eager to get started and so excited about it, and it’s built from there. This next step is something I can’t wait to wrap my arms around and go after.”

(Screen shot via Buffalo Sabres.com.)

Red Wings expected to name Western Michigan coach Jeff Blashill as one of their assistants

Mike Babcock, Drew Miller

The Detroit Red Wings have been on the hunt for assistant coaches for quite a while now, especially after wonderfully mustached right hand man Paul MacLean fled for the Ottawa Senators’ head post. Word circulated that the Red Wings would hire two now assistants for bench boss Mike Babcock (pictured) today; the Detroit Free Press reports that Western Michigan coach Jeff Blashill will be one of them.

Blashill only spent one season as the head coach at Western Michigan, leading the team to its first NCAA tournament berth since 1996 after putting together a 19-13-10 record. Here is a little more coaching background on Blashill, according to a profile by Graham Couch of MLive.com.

Assistant coach at Ferris State (1998-2002)
Assistant coach at Miami of Ohio (2002-2008)
Head coach of USHL’s Indiana Ice (2008-2010)
Head coach of Western Michigan (2010-11)

Want some anecdotal discussion of what Blashill brings to the table? Here’s more from Couch’s profile.

“He’s a guy who demands the best out of you all the time and he gets it out of you,” said Michigan State freshman defenseman Torey Krug, who played for Blashill a year ago with the United States Hockey League’s Indiana Ice. “It might be a Monday morning practice after a long weekend and he’ll get in your face and tell you what is.

“One of the things I appreciated with coach Blashill is he’s going to make sure you’re there (mentally). As a player, you appreciate that, maybe not at the moment because he’s in your face screaming at you, but you appreciate it in the end.”

The Red Wings are expected to make Blashill and one other assistant coaching hire official later today. We’ll let you know who the other assistant ends up being (and confirm Blashill’s hire) once that happens.

Maple Leafs shuffle assistant coaches; Is Ron Wilson on thin ice?

Ron Wilson
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When it comes to following personnel decisions, there are many times when it’s tough not to read between the lines. Perhaps the most famous moment of a press conference telling the exact opposite of the story happened when Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson hammed it up about the coach’s departure when it was clear Jones jettisoned Johnson after a clash of egos.

While it’s not something that the team admitted to, many people are reading between the lines regarding the changes that have been made to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ coaching staff. The team added two new assistant coaches (Scott Gordon and Greg Cronin) while parting ways with two old ones (Keith Acton and Tim Hunter).

Most precisely, people are wondering if head coach Ron Wilson’s job might be in danger. Leafs GM Brian Burke either hasn’t decided to give Wilson a contract extension (Wilson’s deal expires after the 2011-12 season) or wasn’t given the power to do so.

Here is Wilson’s three year run with the Maple Leafs:

2008-09 season: 34-35-13 (81 pts)
2009-10 season: 30-38-14 (74 pts)
2010-11 season: 37-34-11 (85 pts)

On one hand, Toronto made a dramatic (but unsuccessful) late run for a playoff spot in 10-11 and showed some promise along the way. That being said, Wilson is about to enter his fourth season as Toronto’s coach without producing a single playoff run. In fact, the team hasn’t made the playoffs in the post-lockout era and that franchise/fan base isn’t exactly known for its patience. One must wonder if Wilson will be in danger of losing his job if the team has a bad start or misses the postseason once more.

A quick bit of info about the new assistants

Gordon is the former head coach of the New York Islanders and served as an assistant coach for the 2010 U.S. Olympic team under Wilson and Burke. Cronin was most recently a college hockey head coach at Northeastern University.

Bob Boughner resigns from assistant coach position after one season with Columbus


The Columbus Blue Jackets announced that Bob Boughner stepped down from his assistant coaching position after just one season today.

It seems like Boughner was trying to juggle too many things at once between his NHL job and other commitments. Tom Reed of the Columbus Post-Dispatch described Boughner’s “double life” that consisted of his assistant job and his other big hockey role as co-owner and president of the wildly successful Windsor Spitfires junior team. Aaron Portzline points out that it’s likely that Boughner resigned to spend more time dealing with various business situations in Windsor, so one can assume that focusing more on the Spitfires might be one of the points of emphasis.

Mike MacLean of The Cannon backs up this thought process, but also wonders if he would have spent more time in Columbus if the team had better prospects for success and points out that Dale Hawerchuk might be a potential replacement option for Boughner.

Bougher and Arniel discussed the assistant coach’s departure in the Blue Jackets’ press release on the matter.

“I want to thank Scott Howson, Scott Arniel and the McConnell family for the opportunity to work with the Blue Jackets last season,” said Boughner. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Columbus and regret that I am not going to be there to see this team continue to develop and accomplish the goals we’ve set for it. This was a very difficult decision, but with my family and business commitments in Windsor it was in our best interest as a family.”

“While I am disappointed that Bob is leaving our staff, I completely understand and support his decision to put his family first,” said Blue Jackets Head Coach Scott Arniel. “He worked extremely hard last season and was a great asset to myself, the coaching staff and our players. For that, I am very thankful and I wish him all the best moving forward.”