With his team sputtering, Winnipeg g.m. Kevin Cheveldayoff made the decision to fire Claude Noel, his head coach of the past two seasons. In his place, he hired former Carolina coach Paul Maurice to take over on an interim basis.
Maurice is in many ways the opposite of Claude Noel in that he brings a wealth of NHL head coaching experience (over 1000 games), compared to Noel’s 24 NHL games when he took over the Thrashers/Jets in 2011.
It is apparent that Maurice being an outsider and bringing a fresh perspective is welcomed by Chevy.
TFR’s Reg Jenkins was on hand to interview Chevy at the press conference. He provided more substance to his answers than on other occasions when addressing the media.
WHY HE PICKED MAURICE AS HEAD COACH:
Obviously, there was not a full blown interview situation. I considered what coaches might be available.
Paul has coached many types of teams, he’s had experience (and success) with both veteran and young players.”
He’s experienced both success and failure but as a result he is battle hardened. His Russian coaching experience may also be helpful.
DID YOU DO EVERYTHING TO HELP OUT NOEL?
If I’m honest, I’d say No! Again, this is not without responsibility on my side, too.
IT THIS AN INTERIM BASIS ONLY?
We put this deal together quickly. We really have not had a chance to put details in place. Paul just arrived here this morning. We will put this together as we go forward.
WHAT DOES THIS CHANGE MEAN FOR THE PLAYERS?
I addressed the players and they are understanding of situations like this. No one wants another to lose his job. I have had conversations with players to tell them my feelings – and what I expect going forward. This is an unforgiving business.
HOW DO YOU APPEASE THE FANS WHILE HAVING HIGH TICKET PRICES FOR A NON-PLAYOFF TEAM?
Deep down you are a fan yourself. You want to do something because it is your responsibility.
You cannot just say ‘everything will be okay’ but you must realize that all the other teams in the NHL are pursuing the same things as we are.
Sometimes there is equal frustration levels (as that of the fans) between General Managers when attempting to work something out.
WILL THIS CHANGE THE APPROACH REGARDING POTENTIAL PLAYER MOVEMENT?
As we get nearer the trade deadline there is more possibility of moves. All teams will have identified their needs and there will be more urgency. There will be two deadlines this year with the Olympic break and then the trade deadline.
From a g.m. approach, the new coach will provide his input and perspective from an outsider’s point of view.