Sportsnet Hockey Central has spent time over the last few weeks speaking with many of our head coaches during the paused NHL season. Take a listen below.
Scotty Bowman – Former NHL Coach – April 23rd
The legendary coach discusses whether he foresaw any of his players becoming GMs/coaches, the challenge of managing a team full of stars (specifically the Canadiens of the late 1970s), how his 2002 Red Wings would fare against his 1977 Canadiens, the most difficult of his Stanley Cup wins, and coaching Nicklas Lidstrom.
Bob Boughner – San Jose Sharks – April 15th
The Sharks interim coach talks about what was attractive about owning the Windsor Spitfires, working with D. J. Smith in Jr. hockey, the distractions that comes with the great weather in Sunrise & San Jose, how close he came to being the Sabres head coach, winning the Memorial Cup in 2009 & 2010, preparing junior players for the draft, his favourite player to coach while in the OHL, where San Jose is at, coaching Joe Thornton, and Timo Meier’s year.
Joel Quennville – Florida Panthers – April 15th
The head coach of the Panthers discusses former player Kris Versteeg announcing his retirement, his road to leading an NHL bench, having Mike Kitchen on his staff, who on his new squad surprised him the most, the talents named Jonathan Huberdeau & Aleksander Barkov, the play of Aaron Ekblad, his time as a player for the Maple Leafs, and working for Dale Tallon.
D.J Smith – Ottawa Senators – April 13th
The bench boss of the Senators discusses his path to being an NHL coach, his son Colton being drafted by the London Knights, transitioning from an assistant coach to head coach, the amount of former bubble players like him coaching in the league, who on the team reminds him of him as a skater, Brady Tkachuk’s physical play, Bobby Ryan getting a hat trick in his first home game since he returned, the workhorse that is Thomas Chabot, and the club’s work ethic.
Claude Julien – Montreal Canadiens – April 10th
The Canadiens coach discusses what he’s been doing with no NHL action, the first time he met Brian Burke, his road to being an NHL bench boss, his short stint with the Devils, going to two Stanley Cup Finals with the Bruins, being traded for a coach during his playing days, if Peter Worrell is the toughest player he ever had, how Ilya Kovalchuk helped his Habs, coaching Shea Weber, and Nick Suzuki’s rookie campaign.
Alain Nasreddine – New Jersey Devils – April 9th
The interim head coach of the Devils talks about how he got to his current position, if he can see Mike Grier moving on to becoming a bench boss, what’s holding Jack Hughes back, the evolution of Nico Hischier, and the lone goal he scored as an NHLer (thanks to an assist from Sidney Crosby).
Jon Cooper – Tampa Bay Lightning – April 9th
The coach of the Lightning discusses his circuitous route to being a bench boss in the NHL (including leaving his law practice & starting off in Texarkana, Texas), and how much he was thinking about facing the Maple Leafs in the postseason.
John Hynes – Nashville Predators – April 9th
The Predators coach touches on how he’s spending time with no NHL action, his road to being an NHL bench boss, why so many NHL bubble players moved on to the coaching fraternity, working with Roman Josi, how he would like to see the season resume, the popularity of the team in Tennessee, how to help players who were struggling when the season stopped, and which of his players have surprised him the most.
Dean Evason – Minnesota Wild – April 8th
The interim coach for the Wild talks about life without NHL action, his path to becoming a coach in the league, the importance of having a strong veteran presence for his first head coach position (and during the middle of a season), working with Kevin Fiala, being another Whaler from the mid-1980s becoming an NHL coach/executive, and trying to get Alex Galchenyuk’s career back on track.
Sheldon Keefe – Toronto Maple Leafs – April 7th
The man who heads the Maple Leafs bench discusses if he’s ever had to pinch himself with coaching an Original Six club, how he made his way to the NHL, dealing with the media spotlight in Toronto, how often he’s communicating with his players during the pause, the veteran presence of Jason Spezza & Kyle Clifford, Rasmus Sandin’s rookie campaign, and how he would like to see the season resume.
Dave Tippett – Edmonton Oilers – April 6th
The head coach of the Oilers chat about having the luxury of coaching Connor McDavid & Leon Draisaitl, his journey to leading an NHL bench, the amount of his former teammates on the mid-1980s Whalers that went on to NHL coaching/managerial roles, moving Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to the wing, young talents Kailer Yamamoto & Ethan Bear, and what led to their success on the penalty kill.
Pete DeBoer – Vegas Golden Knights – April 6th
The bench boss of the Golden Knights touches on what it was like coaching Anthony Stewart, life without NHL action, his road to being an NHL coach, and his objectives when he took over the reins in Las Vegas earlier this year.
Todd Reirden – Washington Capitals – April 3rd
The Capitals coach talks about life during the COVID-19 outbreak, if he’s regularly in contact with his players, his road to leading an NHL bench, the day-to-day challenges of managing elite talent, and Alex Ovechkin chasing Wayne Gretzky’s career goals record.
Barry Trotz – New York Islanders – April 2nd
The Islanders coach talks about balancing life with social distancing & keeping his mind sharp when it comes to the game, coaching a team with/without a superstar, his time with the Portland Pirates, the performance by his squad this season, what he wants his players to be doing during the pause, and the leadership of NY governor Andrew Cuomo during the pandemic.
David Quinn – New York Rangers – April 1st
The bench boss of the Rangers talks about being in the current epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, why his playing career ended, his route to being an NHL coach, the philosophy he had with Boston University with one/two-year players, coaching a storied franchise in New York, and Mika Zibanejad’s five-goal game.
Geoff Ward – Calgary Flames – March 31st
The Flames interim coach comments on how he’s been spending time with the league on pause, his path to leading an NHL bench, if he’s satisfied with the job he’s done since taking over from Bill Peters, their disappointing playoff exit last year, having Martin Gelinas as an assistant, the challenge of having only two right-handed forwards, and Mikael Backlund’s impressive play in the last few weeks of action.
Craig Berube – St. Louis Blues – March 30th
The Blues head coach talks about why he wanted to be a bench boss, dealing with players he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with, his journey to becoming an NHL coach, working with his assistant coaches, talking to his crew about being physical, and the talent that is Robert Thomas.
Jared Bednar – Colorado Avalanche – March 30th
The Avalanche head coach touches on staying busy with the NHL on pause, his career in the minors as a defenceman, how he became an NHL head coach, the importance of stick play & communication, and how he got Andre Burakovsky & Valeri Nichushkin to elevate their game.
Travis Green – Vancouver Canucks – March 27th
The Canucks coach touches on life without hockey, participating in the World Series of Poker, his road to becoming an NHL bench boss, the impact Elias Pettersson & Quinn Hughes have made with the club, and Tyler Toffoli’s contributions thus far.
Todd McLellan – Los Angeles Kings – March 27th
The Kings coach chats about what his life has been like since the COVID-19 outbreak, what led to his club’s turnaround in the final weeks of play, his path to leading an NHL bench, working with Joe Thornton, if he foresaw Bruce Boudreau being a coach during their time together as players, if he foresees any of his players becoming coaches, if he’s ever coached anyone like Drew Doughty before, and the toughness of his 1986-87 Saskatoon Blades squad.
Bruce Boudreau – Minnesota Wild – March 26th
The former NHL coach talks about life in the time of social distancing, hockey videos he likes to re-watch, being an extra for “Slap Shot,” waiting by the phone during his draft year, the quality of his Toronto Marlboros squads, his first coaching job, getting into the NHL as a bench boss, and what’s changed in hockey that he’s missed.
Rick Bowness – Dallas Stars – March 24th
The Stars head coach talks about how he’s spending his time since NHL action was put to a stop, his first coaching job, his son Ryan’s aspirations to get into an NHL front office, being a fan of Stan Mikita, his young winger Denis Gurianov, and Dallas’ goaltending tandem.
Jeff Blashill – Detroit Red Wings – March 23rd
The Red Wings bench boss touches on life without NHL action, playing for Ferris State University & getting his first taste of coaching there, why few goaltenders move on to become head coaches in the pros, how involved he is with his goalies, being on a rebuilding club, working with Robby Fabbri, working for Steve Yzerman, and how often he checks in with his AHL counterpart & Detroit prospect Moritz Seider.
Bruce Cassidy – Boston Bruins – March 23rd
The Bruins head coach discusses how he’s been filling the days since the NHL action stopped, his first job as a coach, a pro playing career limited by knee injuries, what he enjoys the most with coaching, his work with David Pastrnak, leading the league when it went on pause, having Jaroslav Halak as his backup goalie, and Zdeno Chara launching sticks to the moon.
Rick Tocchet – Arizona Coyotes – March 20th
The bench boss of the Coyotes talks about his original goal when it came to hockey, what stood out from his first NHL game, being suspended by Brian Burke, which type of penalty call he still has issues with, his minor hockey days in Scarborough & with St. Mike’s, how he’s spending his days with the season put on pause, being a Flyer in the 1980s, and playing for Terry Crisp in the OHL.
Ralph Krueger – Buffalo Sabres – March 20th
The Sabres coach discusses the message he gave to his players when the season went on pause, his work in developing the next generation of coaches, the similarities with the NHL and the Premier League (where he was the chairman for Southampton F.C.), books he likes to read, and working with Jack Eichel.
Dallas Eakins – Anaheim Ducks – March 20th
The Ducks coach comments on working with Brian Burke in the Maple Leafs organisation, coaching a young Nazem Kadri, criticizing players in public, and a difference with coaching in Edmonton vs. Anaheim.
Paul Maurice – Winnipeg Jets – March 19th
The Jets coach comments on when Blake Wheeler became an elite player, the talent that is Mark Scheifele, the underrated Kyle Connor, if he still gets impressed with the talent he deals with, having Connor Hellebuyck between the pipes, and why he brought a retired referee to training camp.
John Tortorella – Columbus Blue Jackets – March 18th
The Blue Jackets head coach touches on life since the NHL went on pause, if he felt this season was his best work as an NHL coach, the camaraderie on his club, the work done by Cleveland Monsters coach Mike Eaves, how open he is to the NHL rejigging the playoff format, his first pro coaching job, the contributions from Nathan Gerbe, and the injuries his team fought through.
Mike Sullivan – Pittsburgh Penguins – March 18th
The Penguins head coach chats about life since the NHL paused the season, coaching Sidney Crosby, if he can see the captain becoming a coach once his playing days are over, whether the team has received a memo on how to train during the COVID-19 outbreak, his involvement with international hockey, getting advice from Boston University’s Jack Parker, which player was getting up to gear just before the season was paused, working with John Tortorella, and Tom Brady leaving the Patriots.