“Uncle” Ted Leonsis has always been an innovator. When he first acquired a controlling interest in the Washington Capitals, one of the first things he did was to re-vamp the game presentation. Now, you can’t go to a hockey arena without music, graphics, and video presentations galore.
The rest of the NHL is taking another page from Uncle Ted’s playbook this summer–plucking coaches from the minor and/or junior ranks and throwing them into the NHL fire.
After Bruce Boudreau was elevated to Caps head coach from their AHL Hershey Bears affiliate, he took the moribund team on a huge run to the playoffs (with just a little bit of help from a certain unfrozen millionaire caveman). Now, the Senators and the Panthers are hoping that they can make similar magic.
The Senators have hired Craig Hartsburg from the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. Granted, Hartsburg does have prior coaching experience with the Blackhawks and Ducks, but it wasn’t exactly distinguished–no playoffs or a first-round exit four out his five seasons behind the bench. Funny, but I thought the Sens already had that routine down pat.
The Panthers have gone deep into the unknown, plucking Peter DeBoer “War” of the Kitchener Rangers to be their new coach. DeBoer lands in a much better situation than Hartsburg, in my opinion. The Panthers haven’t sniffed the playoffs in ages, and haven’t done anything at all worthy of note since being served up to the Rangers in 1994 Scott Mellanby first charmed the world with his extermination skills. DeBoer has nowhere to go but up. Plus, he is in the same division as Boudreau, so he can better copy his coaching moves (Step 1: kidnap Ovechkin and fit him for a Panthers sweater; Step 2: Repeat, substituting “Mike Green” for “Ovechkin” in Step 1).
Other Leonsis moves that NHL owners plan to copy this offseason:
- Phil Anschutz wants to start his own “cool blag deal, or whatever the kids call it.”
- Tom Hicks wants to sample some Greek on his next trip to his favorite Nevada “ranch”.
- Charles Wang wants to grow a cool goatee. Also, he’d like his team to not suck.