Is Mike Haviland Headed North?

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.

Al’s Shots

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.

Stay tuned……..

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.

I digress….

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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  1. Living the Cup says:

    Hey Al – I would hate to lose Havvy. He did a great job in Q’s absence last year and you have to wonder at what point the loss of all these coaches/management people is going to catch up with the Hawks and effect their on ice product.

    They have been very deep in that regard but we’ve lost a lot of people going back to Dudley.

    Am I right to think that RFAs need to signed by today or wait until July 1st as there is a moratorium on signing RFAs between now and then?

  2. Al Cimaglia says:

    YES…….Starting tomorrow June 15-June 30…

    During that time new contracts can’t be signed.

    Both for RFA’s and UFA’s.

  3. Al Cimaglia says:

    I was hoping a few weeks ago Frolik would be resigned by now…

  4. Living the Cup says:

    Me too.

    I suppose Stan is waiting to hear the cap limit for this year or maybe there is a snag in the negotiations.

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      That has something to do with but up until last week there wasn’t much negotiation with any of the Hawks.

      At least that is what Bowman indicated…Adam Jahns had that story.

  5. Ty Cam says:

    I’m really starting to get nervous with Stan as GM the way his track record is going. I mean Frolik seems to be a no-brainer, I’m not sure what the hold up is there.

    Al – do you maybe get the sense now something bigger might be happening? Or does Stan maybe just operate at a slower pace, maybe a little timid to make a move this year to get the off-season underway.

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      Ty,

      I think there is an above average chance the Hawks will amke a significant trade….

      No whispers just a feeling.

  6. shruew says:

    I’m guessing the hold up is the money Frolik wants and what the Hawks are offering.

    They going to have upwards of $10MM to spend on people. They have a lot more options than last year so maybe they are more comfortable letting the market shake out some?

  7. Al Cimaglia says:

    I think Shreuw could be correct….

    Although sometimes it does appear the Hawks feel they have more leverage than they do.

    It wouldn’t surprise if more than one Hawk RFA goes to arbitration.

    Bowman said last week he wasn’t close to any deals…

    As far as Frolik…to hit a great payday he would have to hope for an offer sheet.

    But as I stated with the Andrew Ladd situation….

    Many times there isn’t a need to rush from the players standpoint. Frolik probably figures he should hang out and wait.

    An offer sheet for him isn’t likley, but why not hope….??

  8. Mr Ricochet says:

    Has anyone seen anything from Frolik that makes them think he can be a 2nd line center? IMO he fits nicely as a 3rd line winger, and looked great with Bolland there late last year..

    I think that may be where the hold up is with Frolik. I don’t think the Bowman’s see Frolik as a #2 center, and don’t want to pay him as such.

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      Frolik has said in the past he prefers to play wing…
      If Bowman feels the same why would there be cause for a delay?

      Unless the Hawks want to go in another direction at wing??

      I don’t think the audition time was sufficient to say Frolik couldn’t play center on a line with Hossa.

      Let’s face it…Really no center except Toews has meshed with Hossa.

  9. Dave Morris says:

    Al, thanks as always for this overview…

    Haviland (IF he is on Cheveldayoff’s list) would supposedly join Claude Noel and Craig Ramsay as coaching candidates in WIN. If Havvy does leave, there are plenty of well-qualified hockey men out there.

    The Winnipeg Whatevers figure to be more competitive next season, but with this new ‘parity’ in the NHL, who knows? At least they’ll be playing to a full house.

    Has any Stanley Cup Final been as baffling as this ‘homer’ series between the Nux and the B’s? Jekyll and Hyde performances, and anybody’s guess for Game 7.

    The levels of Cup-hysteria in Canada, fueled by the Canadian media, are laughable. Liquor stores have been closed early in VAN and fans are talking openly about getting counseling.

    If we’ve learned anything this past season about what it takes to win, it’s that having a least a few guys on your team who can effectively injure your opponent’s stars appears to be acceptable.

    The Blackhawks were one goal away from eliminating the VanNux. The irony of that gives new meaning to McD’s marketing slogan…which, by the way, was ripped off from a pathetic Florida Panthers ad campaign in the early 2000s.

    There are more than a few teams who will be cap-squeezed and FA-challenged come July 1. That group, thankfully, does not include CHI…for once.

    • rock says:

      “If we’ve learned anything this past season about what it takes to win, it’s that having a least a few guys on your team who can effectively injure your opponent’s stars appears to be acceptable.”

      That statement is so true, and it is very irritating. The nice thing about the Hawks is they haven’t had to make excuses for some idiot running around trying to legitimately “take out” the other teams players.

      I don’t see Frolik as being that essential to sign. A for-real center of some sorts would be better regardless of what line they play on.

      I’m more curious to see what risks Bowman will take or if he will have a more conservative approach to this off season.

    • djd says:

      “The levels of Cup-hysteria in Canada, fueled by the Canadian media, are laughable. Liquor stores have been closed early in VAN and fans are talking openly about getting counseling.”

      Dave,

      This (the rioting) was inevitable. Anyone could see it coming win or lose. It happened in ’94 after the Canucks lost on the road in NY. However, it was more sporadic and diffused quite quickly.

      The fact that Vancouver’s city hall closed the downtown core and provided viewing platforms for the fans merely invited the melée. 100,000 strong localized and a pacifist approach by the police force simply fanned the flames. The city governance is accountable here for grossly ignoring what every law-abiding citizen and true hockey fan knew was coming, win or lose.
      Sad day on the left coast. Safe to say you’ll never see such an open invitation for criminal minds and mass hysteria to gather again.

  10. Al Cimaglia says:

    Liquor stores have been closed early in VAN and fans are talking openly about getting counseling….LOL

    Noel was the leader among those speculating about the Winnipeg job the past few weeks…

    The question I have for you and everyone…

    If Arron Rome would have been Kesler or one of the Twins….

    Would they have received the same 4 game suspension?

    A topic for a coming blog….

  11. Al Cimaglia says:

    …Haviland (IF he is on Cheveldayoff’s list)

    My point in the blog is that I am hearing Haviland is on the list.

    But that doesn’t mean he will get the job….

    Or he may not want the position….Although I find that not likely.

  12. Mr Ricochet says:

    “If we’ve learned anything this past season about what it takes to win, it’s that having a least a few guys on your team who can effectively injure your opponent’s stars appears to be acceptable.”

    IMO this “tactic” goes back a few years and has been perfected by Kronwall and plenty of Penguins as well. With the instigator penalty there is very little deterrent to discourage such a style.

    It’s almost to the point where you better get one of their top 6 guys before they get yours.

    That’s where Raymond going out evens the playing field. Horton has been out for basically 4 games, while Raymond only a 2-1/2 periods, yet the Bruins have won 3 of those games…….. My hope is that will be a big key in Boston’s chances tonight.

  13. Mr Ricochet says:

    “If Arron Rome would have been Kesler or one of the Twins….

    Would they have received the same 4 game suspension?”

    I think Burroughs getting nothing for biting answers that question, Al…….

  14. Al Cimaglia says:

    My buddy Chris just reminded me…

    Moratorium on player signings begins 48 hours after the Finals end.

    Normally the Finals end by June 13th.

  15. Al Cimaglia says:

    According to a report from NHL.com on Wednesday evening….

    Mike Haviland will interview for the head coaching job in Winnipeg.

  16. Craig N says:

    I think frolik was a steal. He was a top 10 pick in 2006 and really played with a lot of hunger and passion against the Canucks. Why would Stan blow a good trade by not qualifying him. Campoli on the other hand is a nice 3rd pairing deeman, but with so much money tied up in the top 4, I really don’t see how that position can be slotted to take up 1.5 mil. I just assume see campoli moved for a draft pick and then see the hawks sign or trade for a right handed defenseman to play with leddy, somebody who would cost no more than 850000

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      Who said anything about not qualifying him?

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      Craig,

      The Hawks will qualify all of their RFA’s players….Otherwise they automatically become UFA’s.

      There isn’t anyone they would want to completely throw away.

  17. [...] Al Cimaglia takes a look at the possibility of ‘Hawks losing another to relocated Thrasher franchise. Hockey Independent [...]

  18. Living the Cup says:

    I almost feel sorry for Canuck fans that was such a pathetic effort by their team.

    8 goals in a 7 game series from the highest scoring team in the league and wild inconsistency from a supposedly elite goaltender.

    As for the Nuck players they deserved their heart wrenching defeat for all their arrogant antics.

    Way to go Bruins!

  19. djd says:

    So, the cap limit to hit 64M for next season. Things are looking a lot better cap-wise all of a sudden.

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