The loss of Assistant General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff may not only leave a hole in the Blackhawks’ front office. It has been reported Cheveldayoff will soon begin an interview process to find a head coach.
From what I have been told, Hawks’ assistant coach Mike Haviland will almost certainly get a shot at the bench boss job in Winnipeg. Former Thrasher head coach Craig Ramsay will supposedly be included in the interviews but it seems probable Cheveldayoff will go in a different direction.
Maybe Ramsay will be offered another role with the new organization as he did do a fine job last season. But realistically his rehiring as a head coach appears unlikely, especially considering everyone from the Thrashers’ towel boy to Rick Dudley won’t be following the franchise to Winnipeg.
Being a NHL head coach is usually a tenuous position.
Experienced candidates like Haviland are sought after but not every head coaching job brings the same opportunity for success. The Winnipeg club is an interesting group that could be close to becoming a playoff participant.
Their next head coach should be more than a table setter for his replacement. Because of the new ownership, a fresh GM, a rabid fan base and a young talented squad Haviland may look to Winnipeg as a great opportunity. But there is no doubt he will be cautious.
After all Haviland saw first hand the consequences of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Haviland’s first position with the Blackhawks came as the head coach of their AHL affiliate at the time, the Norfolk Admirals. Haviland replaced Trent Yawney who was selected by rookie GM Dale Tallon to become the bench boss in Chicago. Yawney was dealt a bad hand by Tallon and was squeezed out of his job after only 103 games.
It didn’t matter Yawney was a tireless worker who had a strong influence on Duncan Keith and other Hawk youngsters. Yawney was put into a position to fail. The job opening in Winnipeg appears to be a much different situation. Yawney is currently an assistant with the San Jose Sharks and is in charge of steering the defense.
The strength of Cheveldayoff’s new club is their young blueliners. Zach Bogosian, Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom all have lessons to learn but are very talented.
When looking for a head coach Chevy may want to find someone who can positively influence his young defensemen. Having past experience coaching big Buff should really help a candidate.
If Byfuglien can improve his defense and remain an offensive force the chances of Winnipeg being successful greatly improves.
In my view the head coaching candidates in Winnipeg should include someone who knows defense and has had past success mentoring Byfuglien and other skilful young players.
That leaves a short list of Haviland and Yawney.
The playoffs are almost over so trade rumors and other personnel changes throughout the NHL will be the topic of conversation. As long time readers are aware I draw a distinct line between my own speculation and bona fide rumors which are received from legitimate sources.
Here is what I have heard (rumors), concerning other head coaching vacancies….
The front runner in Minnesota is Craig MacTavish.
The leading candidate to fill the bench boss role in Ottawa is Paul MacLean.
* Made official after blog was posted.
Both the Wild and the Senators could have a GM who might be selecting their last head coach with the organization. No mistakes allowed….
Ken Hitchcock is still on the radar for the New Jersey job. I hope he gets it as Hitch and Big Lou would be quite a show.
It has been reported the Dallas Stars will name Glen Gulutzan as their next head coach later this week. He has been gaining experience as the head coach of their AHL affiliate.
If what I’m hearing is correct, Kirk Muller isn’t in the hunt for a head coaching position. That may surprise some…
Muller gets a lot of attention most likely because he is an assistant with the Canadiens.
In reality, Muller has not been a head coach in the AHL or in Juniors which has to hurt his chances.
The model of going into the NHL as a bench boss without prior head coaching experience doesn’t work out well. See Wayne Gretzky and Denis Savard for examples.
As far as Hawk scuttlebutt is concerned my original thinking is still the same today.
Stan Bowman’s job this summer will get easier once Michael Frolik is resigned and his role with the team is defined.
If Frolik is inked to a favorable contract and becomes the center for Marian Hossa, Bowman can focus on other needs.
Interestingly Frolik’s agent is none other than Allan Walsh.
Hawk fans will remember the contentious go around Walsh had with the Blackhawks’ front office involving Marty Havlat.
Frolik is the only the Blackhawk restricted free agent who is not arbitration eligible. He is in the same position as Niklas Hjalmarsson before he received an offer sheet from Doug Wilson.
Almost every hockey fan in the US is pulling for the Boston Bruins and I’m in that group.
My own take is many in Canada wouldn’t mind if the Canucks spit the bit too. Those boys aren’t a likeable bunch.
The B’s are like the Eastern Conference cousins to the Blackhawks. They were always one of my favorite teams since the Esposito, Hodge and Stanfield trade.
For those who still wonder how a team which included Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Pierre Pilote and Glenn Hall could only win one Stanley Cup….
Well thank Tommy Ivan for making that horrible trade and Billy Reay for being one of the most overrated head coaches of all time.
If the Canucks do rebound in Game 7 the main reason they will win the Cup is because of their ability to win the close games. The Cauncks are 11-4 in one goal contests during the post season.
In my view the Bruins are on equal footing with last season’s Eastern Conference representative, the Philadelphia Flyers. The Bruins’ equalizer is Tim Thomas.
Only the staunchest Vancouver fan will conclude their current team is as strong as the Blackhawks were last year.
I realize my bias but ….The Hawks were a deep group and played at a top level more consistently throughout last year’s playoffs than the Canucks.
Will Roberto Luongo bounce back in Game 7 with a win?
Maybe….Luongo got by in the Gold Medal game with a shaky effort and still came out on top.
Losing in the Finals is never a good thing.
But if the Canucks blow a 2-0 lead the loss for the fan base, the franchise and Luongo would be devastating.
As a fan of the game there is nothing better than a Game 7 in the Finals.
Let’s hope for a well played and well officiated match.
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