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Paul Maurice named new HC


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Source: Florida Panthers hiring ex-Jets coach Paul Maurice

11:19 AM ET
  • wyshynski_greg.png&h=80&w=80&scale=crop
    Greg WyshynskiESPN

TAMPA, Fla. -- Paul Maurice has been hired as the new head coach of the Florida Panthers, replacing interim coach Andrew Brunette, a source confirmed to ESPN.

 

Maurice, 55, stepped down from the Winnipeg Jets after 29 games this season, ending a nine-year stint with the franchise. He has coached 1,685 regular-season NHL games, the fourth most in NHL history, and is seventh in career wins with 775. He previously coached the Jets, Carolina Hurricanes, Hartford Whalers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

 

That experience was a key factor in his hiring in Florida, according to a source. While other coaching candidates were rumored, the Panthers zeroed in on Maurice when there was mutual interest, vetting him on everything from his player management to his on-ice tactics.

Brunette replaced Joel Quenneville as head coach on Oct. 29, 2021. Quenneville resigned after a report was released that detailed how the Chicago Blackhawks mishandled allegations that a player was sexually abused by an assistant coach in 2010, when Quenneville was the team's head coach.

 

Brunette was on track to receive a contract extension heading into the Stanley Cup playoffs. He led the Panthers to the franchise's first Presidents' Trophy as the top regular-season team in the league. They were the NHL's highest-scoring team since the 1995-96 season. Brunette became the first interim coach since Craig Berube of the St. Louis Blues in 2019 to earn a Jack Adams nomination.

 

The Panthers eliminated the Washington Capitals in six games for the franchise's first playoff series win since 1996. But the Panthers were swept by the rival Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round, scoring just three goals in the series. Brunette's coaching decisions were questioned, leading the Panthers to explore other options in the offseason.

 

It's expected that Brunette will be offered a chance to remain with the organization.

 

Maurice signed a multiyear contract.

 
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At first, I was thinking how short sighted the Panthers are for changing head coaches like this, when Brunette did so well (outside of being taken out by the defending champions like they did) with the team.
I completely forgot he was 'interim' the whole time though. I thought he had fully replaced Joel Quenneville.
So that interim tag leaves the organization the option to NOT keep on Brunette after all is said n done.

Since they are said to be offering Brunette a chance to stay on with the organization, it can't mean they are completely dissatisfied with Brunette's work. Fine work it was too especially given the conditions in which he was given the job.

But I have to wonder if there are hard feelings between Brunette and the Panthers where, despite the interim tag, he thought they would just give him the full reigns and the chance to complete what he started this past season.

As for the actual hire of Maurice....well, all I can say is, the Panthers hired a guy who has been around the block a time or two, has coached good teams (but hasn't won a title higher than a division title), but has also struggled mightily getting his teams to take "the next steps" to being Cup contenders.

If Florida was after an experienced guy who has a good track record and probably won't be phased by other coaches tactics, then I'd say they got their guy.
If they were looking for a guy to all but guarantee the Panthers take those "next steps" to Cup contention, then, ummm, they may NOT have their guy.

Personnel-wise, Florida has some things in need of fixing (looking at the overall defensive coverage), and that might require an upgrade in players there. 
Maurice has proven he can get much out of what he has to work with, but again, without really taking his team into Cup contention status, or even Conference Championship status, one has to wonder if Maurice is one of those "good coaches", but "not good enough" types that are often tagged for some teams who do well, make the playoffs, but that's about it.

As is, the Panthers may once again enjoy great offense, but poor to average defense, and their results may not be much different, whether Maurice or Brunette is behind the bench.
The Atlantic will remain as one of the tougher, if not THE toughest, division in hockey, and Florida will simply need some better blueliners....otherwise, Maurice won't really make that much of a difference.

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3 minutes ago, yave1964 said:

Brunette deserves another kick of the can after taking over in an impossible position and letting the players play and leading the cats to their best season ever. I think this is an awful move and sends a bad message all around.

 

Yep.
Which is why I hinted at hard feelings possibly between Brunette and the Panthers.

I mean, Brunette basically helped avert some sort of PR nightmare what with having an "enabler" as head coach in that Chicago criminal fiasco.
How? By having those Florida boys play damned good hockey that's how!

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26 minutes ago, yave1964 said:

Brunette deserves another kick of the can after taking over in an impossible position and letting the players play and leading the cats to their best season ever. I think this is an awful move and sends a bad message all around.

I agree.  But, I think this comes down to the way that Brunette appeared to completely lose the locker room against Tampa, and had absolutely no answer to change that.  Wouldn't be surprised to see Brunette return in an assistant role.  Especially if he's not getting any offers elsewhere after this Maurice announcement.

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