Who Is Greg Cronin?

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE:  This is awesome.  I published this piece on Sunday night, and Monday morning, we’re hearing reports that Cronin will be coaching with the Maple Leafs this year……

Sooooooooooo, he probably won’t be the Admirals coach.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it isn’t likely.

Nevertheless — he has an interesting story.  So I’ll keep the story up here.

I received a couple of emails after the last post, asking who exactly Greg Cronin was.  So here’s a quick profile piece on him.  I do not have any confirmation or knowledge that he has interviewed for the Admirals job, but he was referenced in a blog post by Aaron Sims as a guy who may be available.

Cronin has coached at the collegiate, under-18 junior, AHL, and NHL levels.  He has been an assistant with Colby College, U of Maine, Colorado College, and the New York Islanders.  He has been the head coach of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and most recently, Northeastern University.

He had turned the NU hockey program around once he started coaching his own recruits.  The Huskies had just 3 wins his first year, but then sported a 25-12-4 record in his fourth season as head coach.  The current star goalie of the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins, Brad Thiessen, spent three seasons at NU under Cronin….and he won 35 games for the Penguins last season.

So Cronin had made NU a player in a tough conference that includes Boston U, Boston College, Maine, and Vermont, among others in the H-East conference.

Cronin was suspended in February by the school, along with an assistant.

Northeastern University has discovered potential NCAA violations with respect to the recruitment of prospective student-athletes in the sport of men’s ice hockey. The possible violations relate to telephone and text message legislation and were revealed during the course of routine internal compliance monitoring.

They were reinstated a few weeks later, and here is his first session with the media after reinstatement.  He says pretty much everything he’s supposed to say, and remained professional.

And then at the end of April, we had a case of the good and bad parts of social media and blog reporting.  A report surfaces via twitter, crediting an anonymous source, and only the anonymous source.  You can read the fallout here.  But the story was that Cronin was leaving NU to take a coaching position in the AHL.  I haven’t come across any other reports to confirm the initial one.

But I have come across some links and quotes that may help give you a little bit of an idea of what he may bring to the table in Milwaukee.

On Roberto Luongo when he was a prospect… “I knew Roberto was going to be really good,’’ said Cronin. “The problem with Roberto at that time was he was so bowlegged, you could drive a truck through his legs. He wasn’t really that athletic.

“All [the Islanders’] prospects went through a boxing course, learning both the basics of the sport as well as the psychological benefits of learning how to deal with people confronting you and trying to invade your space, because that’s what hockey is,’’ said Cronin.

“The goalie doesn’t have to do that, he’s just trying to stop the puck, but Roberto went in there. He had gear on but he got punched in the face and his nose was bloody and he just kept going. It didn’t faze him. He’s not a tough guy, he’s not an aggressive personality, he’s very calm. But he boxed the way he played. He just went about his business just like he does in the net.’’

So he’s into fitness, conditioning, and boxing.  So for those of you who were waiting for a coach to highlight the physical part of the game, Cronin may be the guy you are cheering for.

One of Cronin’s players is expected to be a mid-1st round draft pick this year — Jamie Oleksiak.  He’s a 6’7 245 pound defenseman.  The Zdeno comparisons are already out there.  From a NY Times article….

Jamie has all of the tools of a player who could be a shut-down defenseman.  He works hard at his game. He’s going to need some more time to develop, but he has the ability to be a very strong N.H.L. defenseman.  The thing with Jamie is, sometimes he’ll get fired up at practice and start throwing his teammates around.  I love that, but I want to see more of it against our opponents in our games. If Jamie develops that edge, he can take over games. That’s when the comparisons to the more dominant defensemen in the game will be fair.   It doesn’t have to be about fighting.  Just physical play and using all of your strengths. It’s a process with Jamie, just as it was with Zdeno. As long as he works on it — and he has an excellent work ethic — the team drafting him is going to be very satisfied.”

Here’s a Q&A with Cronin from when he was coaching the Sound Tigers.  Here’s a cherry picked response from said Q&A.

GC: I think I am very honest. You bring Peter and Shawn up and one thing I hold with me as a coach is that you need to have an identity as a coach. If you don�t have an identity as a coach, you can�t ask the team to have an identity. The only way to have an identity is to be honest. You need to have the conviction to confront people and make people accountable. From Peter, I learned to step back a little bit, don�t get too rapped up emotionally and play a little bit more of an objective role in it.Honest.

Accountability.  Two buzz words that make me think of Lane Lambert.

Here’s a nice profile from 2009, as the Huskies were about to play in the national tournament.

So Roundtable, if this ends up being our guy, do you think the team doesn’t miss a beat?  Does the suspension bother you at all?  How many REO Speedwagon jokes do you think we can come up with? 

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