Rod Brind’Amour told the News and Observer last month that his learning capacity as an assistant coach had maxed out and he was ready for the next step: to become an NHL head coach.
After working with two Carolina Hurricanes head coaches since 2012, Brind’Amour will finally get that shot.
The Hurricanes announced on Tuesday that Brind’Amour will be their new new head coach. It continues the off-season of change in Carolina that saw Bill Peters leave for the Calgary Flames and Ron Francis get fired from his job as president of hockey operations and replaced by longtime NHL executive Rick Dudley.
Also in the press release was the little nugget that Don Waddell, who had been serving as interim general manager since Francis was canned, has the role full-time now as well as the title of president.
“Rod is the greatest leader in the history of this franchise, and has earned the opportunity to take charge of our locker room,” said Waddell in a statement. “We spoke to a number of candidates for this position, but our conversations with staff and players consistently returned to the same person. Rod’s fresh ideas, ability to motivate and understanding of what it takes to bring a championship to Raleigh will help our young team take the next step toward competing to bring the Cup back to North Carolina.
“If you never try, you’ll never know,” Brind’Amour said last month. “The reason for saying ‘why not?’ is I’ve been doing it for eight years and I really believe I can help out one way or the other and see if I can put us over the hump.”
Brind’Amour, 47, spent parts of 10 seasons playing for the Hurricanes and captained them beginning with the 2005-06 season, which ended with the franchise winning its first and only Stanley Cup. Once retired, he also worked in player development with the team.
For Tom Dundon, these are safe picks. There’s familiarity with the organization and the fact that both are on-board with the overhaul the new owner is overseeing. But are they the right ones for the current state of the franchise?
The Hurricanes have not made the playoffs since 2010. After coming up short the last few seasons as many thought they would take big steps forward, change was definitely needed. So out goes Francis and Peters and talk of a new identity and culture bubbles up. A fresh start was on the horizon, but then Dudley, who is longtime buddies with the new GM, is hired. Now you have Brind’Amour, who has been on the non-playing side of the franchise’s failures for nearly the last decade, is promoted.
If you’re trying to establish a new identity then why are you holding on to pieces of the past? You now have a franchise legend behind the bench on a team that has continually disappointed. You now have a GM who hasn’t served as a GM since 2011 when the Atlanta Thrashers were still around.
The Metropolitan Division isn’t exactly getting any easier. The approach to free agency and fixing the holes on the roster will be fascinating. This has to work now.