Tracking the Storm

Canes Make Good Coaches

Friday, 08.14.2009 / 11:53 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes Make Good Coaches
When the Washington Capitals hired longtime Hurricane Arturs Irbe as goaltending coach a few days ago, it got me thinking. For a relatively young franchise, Hartford/Carolina has produced more than its fair share of future coaches.

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Of all the players who have suited up for the franchise at least once, 81 have gone on to coach at least one game in some capacity at some level of the game, including junior hockey, the minor leagues and the NHL. Of course, there are varying degrees of success – some didn’t coach for longer than one season – but there are some notable alumni still manning benches around the hockey world.

With 21 former players currently employed somewhere, here are some of the more notable ones who spent significant time in a Whalers and/or Hurricanes uniform during their playing days. For the sake of narrowing down the field, I’m defining “significant time” with a minimum requirement of 150 games played or three seasons with the organization.  Canes/Whalers tenures are in parentheses.
  • Dave Tippett (483gp, 7 seasons): Head Coach, Dallas Stars
  • Joel Quenneville (457gp, 7 seasons): Head Coach, Chicago Blackhawks
  • John Anderson (215gp, 4 seasons): Head Coach, Atlanta Thrashers
  • John Stevens (44gp, 3 seasons): Head Coach, Philadelphia Flyers
  • Jeff Daniels (272gp, 6 seasons): Head Coach, Albany River Rats
  • Kevin Dineen (708gp, 12 seasons): Head Coach, Portland Pirates
  • Ron Francis (1,186gp, 16 seasons): Associate Head Coach, Carolina Hurricanes
  • Ulf Samuelsson (463gp, 7 seasons): Associate Coach, Phoenix Coyotes
  • Randy Cunneyworth (216gp, 5 seasons): Assistant Coach, Atlanta Thrashers
  • Dean Evason (412gp, 7 seasons): Assistant Coach, Washington Capitals
  • Tom Rowe (115gp, 3 seasons): Assistant Coach, Carolina Hurricanes
  • Steve Weeks (94gp, 4 seasons): Assistant Coach, Atlanta Thrashers
  • Brad Shaw (210gp, 6 seasons): Assistant Coach, St. Louis Blues
  • Brad McCrimmon (156gp, 3 seasons): Assistant Coach, Detroit Red Wings
  • Doug Sulliman (221gp, 3 seasons): Assistant Coach, Phoenix Coyotes
  • Doug Houda (142gp, 4 seasons): Assistant Coach, Boston Bruins
  • Arturs Irbe (309gp, 6 seasons): Goaltending Coach, Washington Capitals

Narrowly missing out on the list were Windsor Spitfires Head Coach Bob Boughner and our own Tom Barrasso (did not play with team for long enough), Doug Jarvis (recently dismissed as an assistant by the Montreal Canadiens) and Nelson Emerson (former assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings who was recently moved to a player development capacity).

With four NHL head coaches and some “rising stars” who may well achieve that status before too long, it’s a pretty impressive list. It’s tough to tell why it worked out that way, but the organization’s long-standing valuation of character may have something to do with it. It’s rare that a player of questionable temperament passes through.

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Of the above-mentioned players, most played exclusively for Hartford, which is understandable given that the Hurricanes are only approaching season number 12. The exceptions are Daniels, Dineen, Francis and Irbe, whose contributions fans in Raleigh will surely remember.

At the current rate, it’s only a matter of time before more join the coaching ranks. As for whom the next ones might be, I’ll open that up for discussion. Of the players currently on the Hurricanes roster, who might be the most likely to begin a coaching career at the conclusion of his playing days? Is there someone already departed or retired who you think could make a good leader?

Personally, it’s easy to point to veterans like Rod Brind’Amour and Ray Whitney, the latter of which Paul Maurice has often cited as being able to see the game through the eyes of a coach. However, and I don’t mean to put words in their mouths, but I’m not sure I envision either of them wanting to go that route.

For my pick, I’ll go off the board a little bit and pick a younger player – Tuomo Ruutu. He earned the media’s “Good Guy Award” this past season not just for his willingness to answer questions, but also for the highly analytical and insightful manner in which he goes about it. He seems to really have his finger on the pulse of what’s going on and what’s going wrong, when applicable, which is somewhat rare for someone who speaks something other than English as a primary language.

On a somewhat unrelated note, Cam Ward is my pick for future general manager. He works the phone on fantasy football trades like no other.

Have other picks? Fire away.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72