- Craig Custance
Even as he was talking, he was getting emails. Lines of communication from those interested in filling the coaching vacancies in Carolina.
Since news emerged that Kirk Muller was out as coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, new GM Ron Francis has been inundated with interest in the position, in the form of non-stop phone calls and a good 30-50 emails from those interested in being part of the solution in Carolina.
On Tuesday, the Nashville Predators grabbed one of the most qualified coaches available in announcing the hiring of Peter Laviolette. It was a natural fit for GM David Poile, who worked closely with Laviolette through Team USA and in hiring Laviolette will give his team a fresh look and systematic change from the Barry Trotz era.
While Laviolette wasn’t necessarily a guy who was on the list in Carolina, it now ratchets up the competition among the franchises with openings. The Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals all need a new coach. It’s quite possible Brendan Shanahan and the Toronto Maple Leafs fire Randy Carlyle if they feel an upgrade is available. And San Jose, despite GM Doug Wilson’s proclamation that he wants Todd McLellan back, is a franchise to watch on the coaching front.
It makes for increased competition but Francis didn’t sound like a guy who was rushing to make a decision at coach when we chatted by phone on Tuesday afternoon.
“Getting the right coach is more the priority than getting it done quickly,” Francis said. “You want to get a guy that is a good communicator, [and can] get in the locker room and manage the different personalities -- teach what you want to teach.”
Since this is the first time he’s gone through a coaching hire as a GM, Francis said he’s still formulating the process.