Kirk Muller in Charlotte yesterday behind the bench of the Checkers opponents, the Preds' affiliate Milwaukee Admirals. Photo via Jamie Kellner
There is much out there for Hurricanes fans to read today. Below, I've included excerpts from the most recent and most insightful - a good way to get a preview of the new man taking over the reins for the struggling Carolina hockey franchise.
Later today: John Forslund is set to be on XM Radio's "NHL Home Ice" channel shortly after 2pm. Any other links that pop up between now and the press conference later will be added here.
***UPDATED: (2:55pm) John Forslund on the phone with the folks at NHL Home Ice a little while ago: Audio [12:18]
***UPDATED (3:20pm) John Forslund calling into The David Glenn Show - Audio from 99.9 this afternoon [13:44]
Finally, the press conference with Jim Rutherford and Kirk Muller is scheduled for 5pm - look for more here at the blog from our other writers this evening. It will also be streamed at CarolinaHurricanes.com
- Rutherford said Muller's contract calls for him to be paid for the remainder of this season and the next three seasons.
- Muller was not the only person considered for the job, Rutherford said, although he did not name any other potential candidates. Rutherford said he did a thorough search, lasting more than a month, anticipating that a coaching change might be needed.
- "It's unfortunate," Rutherford said of the firing. "But we need to see if we can get back into it with a new coach, or if we need to change some players."
- Rutherford called Muller a "proven leader and motivator" and praised his "strong communication skills."
- In an interview with the CBC last year, while an assistant with the Canadiens, he talked about one strength as a coach: communicating with players. "It's about energy, pushing guys, managing people and just getting them to buy into your X's and O's system," he told the CBC.
Maurice fired, Kirk Muller hired, it’s OK to be jealous of Carolina - Puck Daddy is full of insight including:
- But in hiring Muller, [Rutherford] makes a smart, bold move that should have other fan bases a little jealous — especially in Montreal.
- If Karl Rove was "Bush's Brain," Muller was "Jacques' Noggin": orchestrating the team's defensive system and its special teams to spectacular results, including the 2010 run to the conference finals that saw the Canadiens upset both the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins in seven games.
- He uses video, breaking it down in one-on-one sessions with players. He's charismatic and a communicator. Where as a coach like Maurice is rigid, Muller makes adjustments. That could be key with a versatile roster in Carolina.
Several more good stories new and old - after the jump
Excellent interview: Muller takes his work ethic to Admirals' AHL bench - Montreal Gazette, Oct 22, 2011
And what kind of team will [Kirk Muller's team] be?
"Very aggressive," Muller said without hesitating. "You have to be good defensively, you have to be good without the puck," he added. "But since the lockout and no red line, you've got to be able to score and you've got to be able to score at the right time. So I really stress for the guys to be a very aggressive forechecking team, and I tell my forwards that if they want to play here they gotta work - they've got to be workers and do a lot of skating and tracking down and heavy forecheck."
Comments today from the Predators' GM on how this played out: Poile discusses Kirk Muller’s departure - Josh Cooper, The Tenneseean
"We were thankful that we had the summer and his first quarter of the season for Kirk to work within our organization and work with our younger players. Congratulations to him for getting a head coaching job so quickly. I think everybody saw right away why Kirk was a candidate to be a head coach. I hoped selfishly it would have been a little bit longer with us. But I don't like to stand in anybody's way. We promote and developed not only players, but management and coaching prospects."
New today at NHL.com:
Well done: Six challenges facing new Canes coach Muller - Dave Lozo, NHL.com Rookie Carolina coach Kirk Muller has a number of tasks to undertake.
AHL gamble pays handsomely for Muller in Carolina - John Manasso, NHL.com Kirk Muller's gamble that the best route for becoming a head coach in the National Hockey League was to leave his role as an NHL assistant.
And digging deeper into Muller's coaching resume and style
What they're saying: Habs on Muller - Luke DeCock, Canes Now - quotes from Subban as well as Brian Gionta, Carey Price and others in Montreal upon hearing the news.
P.K. Subban: "He was obviously well liked by the players. Guys really enjoyed playing for him. All the guys are happy to see him coaching in the NHL. He’s a great coach. He works well with people. He’s a great teacher. Learning from him last year was great for me. Obviously, he had a long career so he’s had every possible experience as a player to help him coach in the NHL."
And in the last year or two
Muller named head coach of AHL's Admirals - John Manasso, Fox Sports, June 2011 quotes Muller back in June after he was interviewed for four (of the five) NHL openings in New Jersey, Dallas, Minnesota and Ottawa, but without an offer, turned to the AHL, making a call to Predators GM David Poile.
Muller said that what attracted him to the Nashville organization were some of the hallmarks of the franchise: stability, loyalty and dedication to building through the draft and the minor league system.
Kirk Muller is more familiar with Carolina than you’d think | ProHockeyTalk New 'Canes bench boss has some history with the club and staff. - connections to Rod Brind`Amour, Ron Francis, and Brandon Sutter are listed.
Holding the whole organization accountable
Which raises the question: With this team struggling mightily for a month, what took so long to make this change? (Meanwhile, fan interest turned to apathy, tickets went unsold, season tickets went unused, and the foundation built in 2002, 2006 and 2009 was chipped away, little by little, with each dishearting loss.) Only Karmanos and Rutherford know the answer.
Finally, Oldies but goodies
Communication is Job 1 on Canadiens' bench - cbc.ca (May 2010) Assistant coach Kirk Muller has been given more responsibility in this year's playoffs, whether it's overseeing the Canadiens' penalty kill or addressing players during timeouts or critical situations.
From November 2009 - Kirk Muller on HNIC radio interview - Audio, to sense Muller's engaging personality, of which there is certainly beaucoups. [10 minutes]