Tonight, USA Hockey will announce its head coach for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, so let’s start speculating.
At first glance, the most likely candidates are two of the NHL’s most well-regarded bench bosses: Nashville’s Peter Laviolette, a reigning Jack Adams nominee, and Columbus’ Todd Richards, who led the U.S. to bronze at this year’s World Championships.
Another pair of veteran NHLers could be in the mix: Isles bench boss Jack Capuano (who, it must be mentioned, is the fourth-longest tenured head coach in the league) and Buffalo’s Dan Bylsma, who seems an unlikely fit after leading the Americans to a disappointing fourth-place finish at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
As for darkhorses?
New Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill could be considered, though it’d be a real surprise given his only experience at the NHL level was one year as Mike Babcock’s assistant (in 2011-12).
On that note, we should mention new Devils coach John Hynes, who’s even less experienced at the NHL level; prior to the New Jersey job, Hynes had spent six years as the head coach in AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Anyway, have at the poll. Feel free to add unlisted candidates in the comments section and, just so we’re clear, this whole conversation is based on the assumption an American will be the head coach.