The Hurricanes surprised us all this morning, with reports coming out that former player Rod Brind’Amour would be the next head coach of the team. Brind’Amour, 47, has been an assistant coach with the Hurricanes since the 2011-2012 season.
Before I dive into whether or not I like the hire, let me just say that hiring a head coach before hiring a new general manager is extremely stupid. A GM should have a hand in who his head coach is. A GM should be able to make his first hire once he is hired. But here we are.
Brind’Amour played 10 seasons with the Hurricanes in his playing days before retiring in 2010. He has won two Selke trophies, and he was a big part of the franchise’s only Stanley Cup victory in 2006. He should be in the Hall of Fame for his success as a player, but I guess they don’t agree.
Why this is a good hire
Rod Brind’Amour is going to demand the best out of his players. He is going to find ways to motivate them to always be at their best. And I think that he is going to have a close relationship with his players. Brindy was a damn good captain when he was a player, and I think that is going to help him be successful as a leader of this team.
I don’t really think that Brind’Amour and former head coach Bill Peters really saw eye to eye. I don’t think Rod really had a chance to do his own thing. It sounds like it was more of a dictatorship, with Peters running the ship and not opening up to anything else. If that’s the case, it’s hard to blame Brind’Amour for his lack of success as an assistant. He wasn’t the bench boss. And it sounds to me like Peters really held him back from doing more.
While this is just a guess, I don’t see Brind’Amour as the type of coach who is going to staple 30 goal scorers to AHL talent. If something works, I think Brindy will be the guy to stick with it and let it happen. I think he will look at Aho and Teravainen and how much success they had last year and keep them together. I think he will look at Jeff Skinner and finally set him up in a true position to succeed. And with Skinner heading into his last year of his current contract, I think having a coach that can relate to the players and hopefully have good relationships with them should help that cause.
Why this is a bad hire
Brind’Amour has exactly zero head coaching experience. For a team that has missed the playoffs for nine years in a row, you would think that hiring a coach that has been there before would make some more sense than hiring a rookie. I would sit here and talk about what kind of system Rod will put together, but nobody has any idea about any of that. Like I said, he hasn’t been a head coach before. We have no idea what any of that will look like.
Again, hiring a head coach before a GM is extremely stupid. It makes absolutely zero sense. If you have a coaching vacancy, you let the new GM fill it. Most of the time, a new GM will want to start fresh and be able to hire his own coach. That is probably my least favorite part of this hire.
We could talk about the Canes’ lack of success on the PP (which Brindy ran as an assistant), but it truly does seem as if Peters was more of a dictator. It doesn’t sound like Rod had much of a chance to run with his own ideas and get creative. And I bet you that he didn’t get to pick his own players to play on those PP units. But, even if it was a dictatorship, the lack of success from the part of the team that Brindy ran is a little concerning.
I’m torn. Part of me thinks Brind’Amour will be an excellent head coach that will relate to his players and demand nothing but the best from them. But the other part of me thinks that this could end up being a disaster. As a fan, I’m clearly hoping that this ends up being a good hire. And to be completely honest, that’s the side I’m leaning towards right now.
But. like I said, there is no way to predict how this is going to turn out. Rod has never done this before. But I am excited to see what he can do being in charge of his own team. He is going to demand the best. And he will do everything in his power to get the best. Overall, I’ve warmed up to this hire. I am starting to like it. But, for a team that NEEDS to make the playoffs next year, it’s risky to run with a rookie head coach.
UPDATE: According to the official release, “Don Waddell will officially serve as president and general manager.” (https://www.nhl.com/hurricanes/news/canes-name-rod-brindamour-as-head-coach/c-298520688) So it seems as if they didn’t hire a head coach without a general manager. Welp.