One could not help but be impressed after watching the press conference introducing new Carolina Hurricanes coach, Bill Peters. He was confident, knowledgeable, and well-spoken.
He not only knew the specifics about his new team, he had legit ideas on how to fix things. Peter's priorities for next season?
- To improve the powerplay
- To start games better
- To win at home
All of these things are easier said than done, but Peters gives the impression he can and will be successful. And why not? He has had success being a head coach at the college, junior, and AHL levels.
Carolina GM, Ron Francis, confirmed that he signed his new coach to a three year contract. Rod Brind'Amour will be one assistant and they will continue to look for another, hopefully with some extensive experience.
Francis also gave some insight behind the interview process. It seems that Peters prepared a complete presentation about the Hurricanes for his first interview, which included a detailed powerpoint display. This guy knows his stuff.
I asked the new coach what type of game we could expect to see his team play and to paraphrase, he responded that they will be a hard skating team who competes all over the ice. They will work hard on defense and "have fun" on offense. The "D" will join the rush. They need to score more goals over what they scored last year, considering the talent on the team.
It seemed like he was indicating a "puck possession", type of style, which would compare to what his mentor, Mike Babcock preaches.
After the presser was over, I asked Peters exactly how he would fix the powerplay, considering the Canes (PP) has been near the bottom of the league for several years now.
"Puck possession is most important," he responded. You win that faceoff and you gain possession. If you don't, then you skate back and get the puck and gain the zone, and we will need to work on that. Breaking the puck into the zone and setting up. You cannot spend the entire powerplay chasing the puck."
"Next, we have to get players to where they can produce. The year Eric Staal scored 45 goals and had 55 assists? He had 16 powerplay goals. Last year you know how many he had? (I nodded, yes) One! I will sit down with Eric and find out why. Is he better suited to play along the wall? Is he better suited in front of the net? or at the point? We have to put him in a position to succeed.
And Ryan Murphy? That kid was a major producer on the powerplay in junior and at the worlds. We are going to find out, one way or the other, if he can be successful running the powerplay in the NHL. "
So it sounds like Murphy is going to be given a major shot to make next season's team.
Peters seems like a no-nonsense guy when it comes to running his team and said that players will see their ice time reduced if they are not playing up to his standards and compared himself to a "hammer" regarding that. Francis went even further and said players who do not "buy-in" to the new system, will be shipped out.
I also had the chance to speak to Francis briefly after the press conference and asked him a couple of questions. Concerning the draft? They are open to trading either up or down, depending upon what is offered and if it makes sense.
Would they have the room in the budget to look at any of the bigger names in the free agent market? (IE, Brad Richards was bought out today). He responded no, come July 1st, they most likely will not be looking at adding any big contracts or longer term contracts.
Finally, I asked if they were considering any compliance buyouts before the end of the month. (Compliance buyouts have to be done by June 30th, but regular buyouts can be completed later. The difference is, compliance buyouts do not affect a team's salary cap number, a regular buyout does.) He responded that since the salary cap will not be an issue with them, no, they are not considering a buyout at this time.
When pressed to confirm if Khudobin is considered starting goalie for next season, he responded that coach Peters would make that decision when the time comes. As General Manager, he would not make that decision or force that decision on his coach.
We will have more info later on this, but for now I will leave this article with a poll.
Are you happy with this hire?
If you missed it, check out the video of the press conference at this link.