More On The Coaching Change

I’m not going to lie.  To see Kirk Muller taking questions from the Carolina media made me a little sick to my stomach.

And from other Admirals fans I’ve talked to today, it sounds like that was a common feeling.

But life goes on, and it’s now Herbie’s time to shine.

More on Herbie in a moment…but here’s how this chain of events got started, courtesy of Canes GM Jim Rutherford.

I appreciate that the first thing he did was recognize the generosity of the Nashville Predators organization for even allowing Kirk to talk to them.  High marks for that.

Rutherford explains why they went outside the organization for this job.

Sounds an awful lot like some of the reasons that Preds assistant GM Paul Fenton selected Kirk in the first place this summer.

Both Fenton and Darren Pang were guests on the Admirals Center Ice Radio show tonight, and both had some great insights to share on the day’s news.  Panger explains why Coach Muller is the right man for the Carolina job.

Fenton explained how they weren’t going to hold Kirk back, and how he knew immediately that Ian Herbers was going to be the next head coach of your Milwaukee Admirals.

I’m curious as to what specifically Ian was told to work on.

I also find it very interesting that Fenton is so high on Herbie now, after a dark-horse candidate “trumped” him the last time around.  This past summer broke the pattern.  Peter Horachek got promoted, assistant coach Claude Noel took the reigns.  Claude Noel took an NHL job, assistant coach Lane Lambert took the reigns.  Lane Lambert got promoted… and they weren’t comfortable giving the keys to Herbie yet.

But here he is now.  And he’s ready to get back to work.

Ian found out after the Sunday afternoon drubbing in Charlotte.

At the press conference this afternoon, he explained that aside from giving press conferences, he’s got a lot of work to do to prepare for Abbotsford tomorrow night, especailly now that he’s responsible for everything — offense, defense, power play, penalty kill.  But he wore all those hats when he was the head coach in Johnstown prior to being hired by Lane.  So he’s been here before.

The last time an Admiral coaching change had been made mid-season, Darren Pang was an Admiral.  And he recalls what it was like at the time as a player.

So this will be a test for the senior leadership on this team, to make the transition as smooth as possible and to get a sense of normalcy back as soon as possible.

This state of normalcy will have a new assistant coach.  Fenton says that the search for that candidate will take….as long as it takes.

In the end?  I’m happy that Ian will be calling the shots.  I don’t expect a lot to change.  Our post-game press conferences will be different though…and that’s not necesarily a bad thing.  Kirk would give lengthy answers, but often times they didn’t directly address the question you had asked.  For example….here’s a bit from his press conference today.  He kind of answers it, but then goes through some old talking points we’ve heard already…

I’m not mad at Kirk…what else was he supposed to do?  Say no? To everyone else in the hockey world, this is a great opportunity for Kirk and a great opportunity for the Canes.  Puck Daddy lauded it.  They seem to be excited in Raleigh too.  Yeah, it stings for us right now, but in the big picture, this is a case of good things happening to good people, and we’ve got a lot of good things to look forward to from Kirk AND Ian.

Kirk, best of luck with your new team, and please feel free to call up all the star players from the Checkers right before the next time we play them.  Thanks in advance.

2 thoughts on “More On The Coaching Change”

  1. Ryan, thanks for an excellent wrap on the timeline. In my prior two posts, I have done my best to leave my opinions out. But a night of sleep behind me to let things sink in, here is my opinions:

    1. Congratulations and well-deserved for Kirk Muller. I was honestly shocked this summer when I heard Muller would be the new head coach of the Admirals. Muller missed out on several different NHL head coaching promotions in recent years due to various circumstances, most of which were beyond his control. Simply put he deserved to be an NHL head coach, and there are many NHL fan bases that are envious of Carolina’s at this point.
    2. Obviously, It stings that Muller left after just 17 games and did not stay the season. But put yourself in his skates. Chances only come around so often, and even after one or two great years in the AHL, there is no guarantee that an NHL team would come calling for you to fill an opening. Imagine if a job promotion with a big raise came calling from a company other than the one you currently work for. And that job is only being offered now. Do you run after only a short tenure at a place you are comfortable at to take a promotion? Or do bide your time and hope something else comes along with no guarantee that it will?
    Just look at Lane Lambert. Without a doubt in my mind, he should RIGHT NOW be an NHL head coach. At this point it hasn’t happened and there is nothing saying that it will. Muller had to take the offer, period, end of story.
    3. Carolina is a great organization to join. They have excellent people in management, a core of talent that is youth-laden, a winnable division and the Hurricanes without a doubt underachieved this season. Pressure on Muller will be high to turn things around, but with any signs of improvement his leash should be of considerable length. I picked Carolina to make the playoffs before the season started and I stand by that prediction.
    4. Milwaukee will be fine. I would expect Ian Herbers to step in through a rather seamless transition. Yes, Herbers does not have the pedigree of Muller, but few coaches in the AHL do. But this is the reason why Herbers was retained during the off season–as an insurance policy.
    My curiosity is who will Milwaukee bring in on a permanent basis to be an assistant coach? Considering Milwaukee/Nashville’s impressive track record of developing coaches as well as players the list of possibilities should be rather endless.

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