Clicks and Clippings: Muller time

With the coaching decision made and the Kirk Muller era in Raleigh at hand, the news is flowing fast from the Carolina Hurricanes these days. Without further ado:

Today's practice and the newest of the new stuff

Recaps and Reactions to Muller's Opening Night

Another debut

And, lost in the bigger story behind the bench, let us not forget that the Andreas Nodl era began last night too. What he sounds like, describing his unusual day yesterday, Audio from Brian LeBlanc, 00:46 ★★★★ and what he looks like:

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via Jamie Kellner


Reactions to the Carolina coaching change from near and far

Around town

  • Muller starts clean slate - Chip Alexander, NewsObserver.com ★★★★★
  • Staal, for one, said had he gotten off to a stronger start this season Maurice's departure may not have been necessary.

    "Naturally you're going to feel that," Staal said. "If things are different and I'm 20 goals into a season and we're five games above .500, then we're in a totally different situation. But we're not and I'm not."

    Defenseman Bryan Allen was more blunt about Maurice's firing.

    "He took the fall for everyone," Allen said. "At the end of the day, it's the players in here who let him down."

  • Canes Decision could Impact Checkers - Paul Branecky, GoCheckers.com ★★★★★
  • The match-up between the two coaches was also unique in that it provided some immediate insight into potential changes in the organizational coaching philosophy. Daniels noted that he and Muller employed different styles of play in their three meetings this season, which could be significant as AHL clubs typically employ similar structures as their parent clubs so that prospects develop in a manner that will best prepare them to make the transition to the next level.

  • Coach to Canes: Have fun - Luke DeCock, NewsObserver.com For now, these are small tweaks. Bigger alterations are probably a week away; the Hurricanes have consecutive off days next Tuesday and Wednesday, not much time, but enough for a quickie midseason training camp.
  • Muller Brings in Fresh Perspective - Michael Smith, Tracking the Storm An excited, confident first-time NHL coach provides the Canes with a different look behind the bench. ★★★
  • Muller To Stress Accountability - David Droschak, HurricanesBeat.com ★★★★
  • "It’s about culture and it’s about pride," said Muller, who is good friends with Ray Whitney. "At the end of the day, the teams I was able to be successful with had a real concern and pride to play for each other. It is a team sport and if everybody buys into the same philosophy, everyone has the same goals and everyone is willing to make the same commitment, it is really simple. It’s simple to say, but not always easy to do.

  • The 10 Reasons Paul Maurice Was Fired - David Droschak, HurricanesBeat.com ★★★★★ in which Dro ends with:
  • 10) The Record: In the end, Maurice is a .500 coach who, to his credit, won himself a three-year contract with the team’s hot run near the end of the 2008-09 season. The reality is this: In the salary cap age, it’s much easier to fire your coach than trade under-performing players.

  • Coaching vs. Payroll - Kurt Dusterberg, HurricanesBeat.com ★★★★

    No, coaching is not the culprit around here. It's the payroll. That's not a criticism. It's not even a taboo topic among management. It's just a reality. According to nhlnumbers.com, the Hurricanes have the third-lowest payroll in the NHL at $50.64 million, about $2 million above the salary floor. There are 17 teams that spend more than $60 million — with an upper limit of $64.3 million.

  • Carolina opportunity has Muller raring to go - Kurt Dusterberg, NHL.com which includes an inset column which I'd say is must read ★★★★★

"It was different this time, though," the GM said. "The last time (in 2004), it was his first time (being fired). This time, [Maurice] was more of a veteran type who understood it better."

Rutherford acknowledged some responsibility for the team's early season woes too. With the fourth lowest payroll in the League, he knew there was little margin for error with his five free-agent signings in July, a group led by struggling defenseman Tomas Kaberle.

"Maybe I didn't bring in the right players," he said. "But you don't know that when you go into free agency, and we're dealing with the second and third tier of the free-agent group".

Outsider observations

  • 'Canes' choice of Muller signals culture change - John Manasso, Fox Sports Carolinas The Hurricanes choice of Kirk Muller, instead of Jeff Daniels, represents a culture change for Carolina. ★★★★★
  • Legendary players go behind NHL benches – USATODAY.com "As a player, he was tremendously competitive," said Jacques Demers, who coached Muller during the Montreal Canadiens' 1993 Stanley Cup run. "He was accountable, and that's exactly how he's going to coach." ★★
  • Capitals and Hurricanes Change Coaches, With Different Expectations - NYTimes.com ★★
  • A new chapter for Carolina with Kirk Muller - Scott Burnside, ESPN.com Sometimes a coaching change is as much about giving players a clean slate on which to define themselves as it is about finding a better coach. And if you're lucky, it's both. ★★★★
  • Should players always be condemned for getting coaches fired? - Puck Daddy Staal and Ovechkin in the spotlight. Actually mostly Ovechkin. ★★
  • Kirk Muller, the great communicator, faces his Eric Staal problem - Puck Daddy Muller's job is to make [the Hurricanes] better than average, and in the process jumpstart Staal's season -- and that's going to take some psychology. ★★★★

  • Jeff Marek and Greg Wyshynski on the coaching changes - Audio podcast ★★★★ Starting at the 11:40 mark, they chat about Muller. Then Chip Alexander's segment begins at 14:30, runs about 5 minutes. Marek and Wyshynski stay on the Muller topic to 26:30 or so.

    Some highlights - both humorous and real: Did Brett Sutter ask Rutherford if his dad could have the job? Caps were interested in Muller a couple weeks ago, never got to the interview stage. Wysh thinks he would have been best because of the 2010 series when MTL beat Caps. Good for Canes, maybe?

  • Don’t Blame Paul Maurice for the Canes’ Struggles - NHL Hot Stove At this point, [Rutherford] can’t be happy with the veteran players the team has lost. Due to budgetary constraints and inability to get quality players at a discount rate this team would have a problem winning with any coach ★★★

  • From the very funny Down Goes Brown, after the photo of Maurice's whiteboard message to Muller went viral in the twitterverse this morning: Of course, Bruce Boudreau did something similar for Dale Hunter:

    Looking to tomorrow night

    It looks like Marc Staal will be traveling to Raleigh with the New York Rangers, though there is no time table for his return to playing. The Rangers are riding high after a decisive bout over the Pittsburgh Penguins at home last night:

    Blueshirts United – "Killer Instinct" That was the message ...before the Blueshirts headed down to Raleigh for Thursday's clash with the Hurricanes. "It is vital to this team to not take it easy and not go lightly on an opponent that is maybe wounded and kind of weak right now," said John Mitchell.... "We have to keep the killer instinct going and go, go, go and go hard because every point counts..."

    Don't forget Jordan Staal will be here Saturday. And we should probably bear in mind that back in August we learned that Eric and Tanya Staal were expecting their second child, in early December. So there's that, too.

    Prospects

    Good to see him recovering ahead of schedule: Ryan Murphy on invitation to Team Canada Selection Camp - VIDEO from Kitchener Rangers ★★★★★

    Victor Rask is expected to be named to Team Sweden in a couple weeks. Till then he's doing great things in Calgary for his WHL club: Road warrior mentality has Hitmen on fire - Calgary Herald - just for the ★★★★ lead photo.

    Men's Ice Hockey November Recap : The Ivy League Harvard junior defenseman Danny Biega is tied with Cornell junior forward Greg Miller for the Ivy League lead in assists as both players have eight helpers on the season. Seven of Biega’s eight assists have come on the power play.

    Stat check: Frölunda’s Frederik Andersen leads all goaltenders in save percentage with his 94.26%. His GAA, 1.58 in 17 games, is also the lowest in the Swedish Elite League.

    This and that

    The Business Of Hockey – Forbes.com has their "scorecard on the business of the NHL" with the Canes ranked 23rd out of 30, with a value of $58million - which is confusing to me, but there's no supporting explanation to the table I could find. Whatever the case, $58Mil bears no resemblance to the valuation of $240mil reportedly used when the new minority ownership group was brought in last this month. ★★★

    **UPDATE Somebody fixed their error and the current value is now shown to be $159million. Another page on this is up here.

    November 2011 Monthly Report - Tracking the Storm Looking back at the second month of the 2011-12 season for the Carolina Hurricanes. ★★★★

    Skinner proving he is real deal - Patrick Hoffman, Red Light District When pundits expected him to hit a wall in his rookie year, Skinner proved doubters wrong. When everyone outside of Raleigh half-expected Skinner to suffer from a sophomore slump, he (so far) has proven those doubters wrong, too. ★★★

    Now for something completely different

    It's long, but worth your time, like meditation. A Theory of Ice: On Seeing ★★★★★

    It’s just you and me here, now, on this blog, so let’s be honest with each other: we do not really want to watch hockey that way. That way of watching hockey is hard. You know how sometimes you’ve got a game on and the color dude is speculating about some potential trade and they cut to a shot of the GM sitting in some dull beige box, glowering down at the ice with an expression that somehow conveys both depression and constipation? That is what serious, analytical hockey-watching looks like. It is not fun.

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