With the Chicago Blackhawks’ season now over, it’s assumed assistant coach Kevin Dineen will be asked to interview for vacant head coaching gigs across the NHL.
Of course there’s only one gig currently vacant — Ottawa’s.
Because Dineen’s season ended Tuesday in a Game 7 loss to the Blues, [Sens GM Pierre] Dorion should soon be expected to ask permission from the Blackhawks to speak with him.
Dineen, 52, checks a lot of boxes.
He’s familiar with the organization, having played the 1999-2000 campaign in Ottawa. He was a teammate of Daniel Alfredsson — who, last year, was named the Sens’ senior advisor of hockey ops — and has a ton of coaching experience: six years as a head coach in the AHL, three as a head coach in the NHL (with Florida) and the last two working as Joel Quenneville’s right-hand man in Chicago.
Dineen’s also done international duty, having coached Canada’s women’s team to gold in Sochi, at the Canadian U18s to bronze in 2014.
Dorion’s on record saying he wants to bring in an experienced head coach, rather than someone cutting their teeth at the NHL level. The club has gone the latter route in its recent hires — Dave Cameron, Paul MacLean, Cory Clouston — which could be why the Sens have already spoken to ex-Wild bench boss Mike Yeo.
(It’s also partly why Ottawa released respected AHL bench boss Luke Richardson, who wasn’t in line for the big-league gig.)
Of course, if the Sens want Dineen, they’ll have to pry him out of Chicago — and, according to the Tribune, Quenneville said he expected his coaching staff to return next season.
“I like our staff in all areas,” Quenneville said. “(We’re) very fortunate with the group we have around us and … you’re looking at special teams, goalies, I think they did a really good job.”