Just days after the Toronto Maple Leafs recycled, Provincial rival Ottawa is apparently looking a bit outside the box (just a bit, as the NHL is very much firmly inside the box on most matters) for its next head coach. It’s widely reported that Kitchener Rangers’ headman Peter DeBoer is the front runner for the position.
Good on the Sens. Who knows if DeBoer will be a good NHL coach (although the evidence seems to suggest that he may well be). The point here is that it’s refreshing to see a team look beyond the same old, same old candidates for its head coaching position.
The NHL is stupidly conservative. Few teams are ever willing to move beyond the fraternity and as a result the game stagnates. Again, this isn’t so much a comment directed at DeBoer, but rather a celebration of something just a bit new.
It’s thought that you want an experienced guy behind the bench in Canada to deal with the unique media pressure. Why? How bloody hard can it be to spout off clichés once a day? In DeBoer’s case it can be argued that he has already faced a pressure cooker situation by coaching in a junior hockey mad market in Kitchener. Sure, there will be more press in Ottawa, but he’ll be less likely to have to deal with the postman giving him advice on how to run the PK in the larger centre (although it must be said that Ottawa’s not that much bigger than Kitchener-Waterloo).
Dealing with pro athletes will be a new experience, but junior players in Canada aren’t exactly lacking in the ego department—plus they’re teenagers and it's understood what a mess that can be.
DeBoer seems to be a good coach. He was part of a team that lead Canada to a gold medal in the world u-20 tournament (a major Canadian event) and came within one win of winning a national junior championship in Canada. It's known what the other candidates out there bring. Hopefully the rumours are true and DeBoer will get a chance to show his abilities in Ottawa.
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