The Las Vegas Golden Knights are set to clash against the Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference finals while the Washington Capitals have already taken a one-game lead on the Tampa Bay Lighting in the east. It has been an accelerating playoffs so far and this postseason has given us every reason to be thankful for the greatness that is playoff hockey. While champagne bottles will undoubtedly be popped as the race for the cup continues, one man in Raleigh, North Carolina is sitting in his office at PNC Arena wondering how to get one the NHL’s lower-tier teams into the spotlight.
Rod Brind’Amour was announced as head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes last week in a move that seemed to inspire few and befuddle many. Carolina has had some coaching issues as of late, while the recent mishaps of Kirk Muller and Bill Peters have fans nervous about how the next coach will do.
Hiring in-house tends to be an easier move and transition that searching through a pool of outside candidates but presents a variety of pros and cons. Brind’Amour obviously has a great familiarity with the players, staff, and fans, making all of us feel a little bit better about his takeover of the team. Additionally, he was Carolina’s player development coach beforehand, giving him an extensive knowledge of his players’ capabilities.
That is the argument so far when it comes to his methods. Unlike Peters, he is going to rely less on a system that you stick players into and more of going with the players that are playing well at a consistent level. It’s all about playing the hot hand. I feel like he is going to be more of a numbers guy that plays based on progressive stats.
With weapons like Sebastian Aho, Jeff Skinner, Jordan Staal, and Teuvo Teravainen the Canes have no excuse being a high powered offense. If Brind’Amour can figure out that all he needs to do to succeed is put Aho at center, Carolina may have a brighter future ahead.
Make the decisions that Peter was too afraid to make. Put Jeff Skinner on the first or second line. Give the guys that are good a majority of ice time. Don’t expect bad players to be good when you play them all the time. Let Justin Williams lead this team. Figure out who needs to be the leading goalie.
I may be in my own head, but my uncle has run into Rod Brind’Amour and he seemed nice enough. Honesty is the best policy when communicating internally and to the fans. Make the decisions you think are going to help win games and have a simple reason for doing it.
Let’s try and make the playoffs for the first time in a decade, Mr. Brind’Amour. There is talent and there is a community that could rally behind this team if they were to catch fire.