Coaching Search

I may be wrong. This could just be a hunch I have, this feeling everyone that wants John Maclean as a head coach. I can't think of anyone else I would rather have for the job. I don't believe there is anyone else out there that deserves this job more. Not even considering 'being familiar with the system' but a coach in general primed for a long tenure (2+ season) with New Jersey - is there any logical choice for coach out there over John Maclean?

Per Mark Everson's article from the NY Post on Monday, take the creditability for what it is but we probably can rule out Keenan and MacTavish. Along with Guy Boucher taking the head coaching position in Tampa earlier this week. Top Candidates appear to include Ken Hitchcock, Michel Therrien John Maclean, Kirk Muller, and Guy Carbonneau.

Below are short briefs on my personal opinions on each remaining candidate:

Games Coached - Wins - Loss - Tie - Over Time Loss



Ken Hitchcock: (1042) 534-350-88-70

Age: 58 

Frankly, I think the guy has a great coaching history. Fine record. However, post lockout era he has made the playoffs once and loss...granted it was with Columbus take it how you wish. These are the facts.

Notable Accomplishments:

1997-98 w/ Dallas Lost Conference Finals

1998-99 w/ Dallas Won Stanley Cup Finals

1999-00 w/ Dallas Lost Stanley Cup Finals

2003-04 w/ Philly Lost Conference Finals

Again- some pretty solid credentials but as I am not so sure about this fit. I would really like to see Hitchcock with our youth. I don't know how Lou makes a gamble with a coach who has not been able to get in; or win in the playoffs post lockout era.




Michel Therrien: (462) 212-182-22-46

Age: 46

I have mixed opinions on Therrien. In 2000-01w/ Canadiens they missed playoffs and he then took them to the second round in 2001-02 where they were eliminated by the eventual Eastern Conference Champion Carolina Hurricanes. He also rebounded with Pittsburgh after missing the post season in 2005-06 and losing in the first round in 2006-07. He coached them to the Stanley Cup Finals losing in six games. He would coach Pittsburgh the following the year 57 games into the regular season before being fired as the team would go on to win the Stanley Cup. 

2007-08 w/ Pittsburgh Lost Stanley Cup Finals

2008-09 w/ Pittsburgh - Fired - Penguins go on to win Stanley Cup

He is young enough to be long term. One factor not to be over looked. He has the Montreal connection. I am still skeptic on the firing. That team was slumping after December but whose to say he couldn't turn it around again. Blysma did it. If there was something more to this i.e. coach / player dispute that is the last thing we need.  I'd be content with this choice and believe he would be a good fit into the organization.




Guy Carbonneau: (230) 124-83-0-23 

Age: 50

Guy Carbonneau, a very limited coaching career but some notable achievements listed below, a former teammate of current Devils Captain Jamie Langenbrunner. As a player they would win the Stanley Cup as members of the Dallas Stars in the 1999-2000 season under coach Ken Hitchcock. Carbonneau was a defensive forward, and has a a Montreal connection as a player ( '86 & '93 Cup winners) and has his only coaching experience with Montreal.

2006-07 w/ Montreal  Missed Playoffs 4th in Northeast

2007-08 w/ Montreal Lost in Semi Finals 1st in Northeast 1st in Eastern Conference

2008-09 w/ Montreal  Fired - Lost in Quarter Finals 2nd in Northeast

I would think this would be a great blue print for a Head Coach & Captain relationship, how long will Jamie retain the C is another question in its own though.  Guy has been able to have the bounce back effect on teams along with other coaches listed above. This could be interesting.




Mike Haviland: No NHL head coaching experience

Age: 43

Coach Haviland is well known for in the hockey world for being the assistant to the now 2010 Stanley Cup Champions, Chicago Blackhawks.  With no NHL head coaching history he has put together a solid defense for the Blackhawks in his years there. He has coached both the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies & the Trenton Devils in the ECHL and twice in the AHL. In his time coaching in the ECHL he notched two championships with both Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies (2002-03) & the Trenton Titans (2004-05). He had first and second round exits in his time as an AHL head coach with Norfolk and Rockford.  In 2006-07 with Norfolk he was awarded the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award by AHL broadcasters and writers as outstanding coach of the year.  Overall. He has proven himself in other leagues with Championships and this year has put together a Stanley Cup defense. I like the guy, starting with the ECHL as a head coach since 1999, I feel hes put his time in can be a head caoch in the NHL. Does he have what it takes to coach the New Jersey Devils?   




Kirk Muller: No NHL head coaching experience

Age: 44

Former Captain of the Devils where he began his NHL career, Kirk Muller. Currently serving as an assistant coach for Montreal Canadiens. Was highly considered for the head coach job in Montreal but doesn't speak French which is a pre req for the job to speak to the French media. Muller has been an assistant with Montreal from 2006. To get a feel for Muller, recap the seasons under Carbonneau, and the success Montreal had this season under Jacques Martin.


2006-07 w/ Montreal  Missed Playoffs 4th in Northeast

2007-08 w/ Montreal Lost in Semi Finals 1st in Northeast 1st in Eastern Conference

2008-09 w/ Montreal  Fired - Lost in Quarter Finals 2nd in Northeast

2009-10 w/ Montreal Lost Conference Finals

*defeated #1 ranked Washington in seven games & defending champs Pitt in seven games 




John Maclean: No NHL head coaching experience

Age: 45

Played a majority of his career with NJ. Knows the team, the organization, and is a fan favorite. Knows 'the system'

2002-09 w/ New Jersey as Assistant Coach:

Maclean was aboard to help coach the franchise to their 3rd Stanley Cup under head coach Pat Burns in 2003. He has been a candidate for the position since Robinson left in 2005.  He has been passed upon numerous times, and has been circulated the plan has been to work him in to be an eventual full time replacement. 

2009-10 w/ Lowell as Head Coach:  (80) 39-31-0-10

In his time with Lowell he secured the team a playoff berth for the first time since the 2004-05 season, and would eventually  lose in 5 games. 

I believe Maclean has the respect and the trust from the team that he needs to be a successful head coach in NJ. I feel his loyalty should be considered, and his success in bringing Lowell to the playoffs his first year as head coach. There are so many factors to consider why John Maclean is the right choice for head coach. I appreciate Lou's grooming of Maclean though. 

Take a moment to recall Robbie Ftorek. I always thought he was a great replacement for Lemaire when he took over in 1998. He had a record of coaching experience though it was scattered through head and assistant positions. He was head coach in LA from 1987-89. Assistant in NJ in 1992. Took over in Albany from 1993-1996. Came back behind the Devils bench as assistant till his take over in 1998. You could say this was about the start of the Devils coaching merry go round. Ftorek, was the first fired with a few games remaining in the regular season before Robinson took over and won the championship in 2000.

I would love Johnny Mac as our head coach but I would hate to see him fall into this cycle. Thoughts/Comments. 

All FanPosts and FanShots are the respective work of the author and not representative of the writers or other users of In Lou We Trust.

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