My apologies for being scarce these past few days…there was much to do around the house and time to be spent with the family. Given the schedule over the past several months with work, hockey, the younger tax-exemption’s ROTC schedule & the stage production he has been rehearsing for, the older tax exemption preparing to graduate from high school…knocking wood…and getting things set to transition into college this summer, things have been a tad helter-skelter.
So, the Devine Mrs. R and I simply decided to take a big “time out” from any and all things not directly affiliated with the family and home this past weekend.
However, I have been able to catch a good deal of the playoff action as well. I thoroughly enjoyed watching game-one between Boston and Philly…very dramatic ending as Marc Savard returned to the lineup and scored the game-winner in overtime.
Interestingly enough, this marked the third time so far this post-season that a player who used to be employed by the Thrashers organization has engaged in overtime heroics. On the final Saturday of round one, Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis…both of whom traded from Atlanta to Pittsburgh in 2008 for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, prospect Angelo Esposito and a first round draft pick…also ended games in overtime.
Now, in news directly regarding the Thrashers…there is this story in the Winnipeg Free Press from late last week. Tim Campbell of the WFP reports that the Atlanta Thrashers are one of a few teams that would like to talk to Manitoba Moose head coach Scott Arniel. Here is a part of the article posted on April 29…
The Columbus Blue Jackets are first in line, but Manitoba Moose head coach Scott Arniel is on a wider radar for an NHL job in 2010-11.
The Blue Jackets and their GM Scott Howson have received permission from the Vancouver Canucks, Arniel’s official employer, to speak to the Moose coach about their head-coaching job for next season.All inquiries must go through Canucks GM Mike Gillis or it’s tampering under NHL rules.
Arniel’s interview with Howson is likely to take place within the next three days. The Moose coach is scheduled to join the Canucks on Monday to help their coaching staff, particularly with the extra skaters, or “black aces.”“We have talked to each other and we’re trying to work out a game plan,” Arniel said Wednesday afternoon when asked if he’s heard from Howson.
“I have to go to Vancouver for Monday, so we might try to get that done before.”
There will be other teams in the mix, however. There are also coaching openings in Tampa Bay, New Jersey and Atlanta, and the Thrashers and new GM Rick Dudley are confirmed as parties interested in Arniel’s services, two NHL sources said Wednesday.If he already hasn’t, expect Dudley to make the permission-seeking call to Gillis any time.
Dudley and Arniel have a long connection, dating from Dudley’s head-coaching days with the Buffalo Sabres when Arniel played there. He also coached Arniel in San Diego of the IHL.
Arniel was the 22nd overall draft pick by Winnipeg in the 1981 draft and played in 730 NHL games…splitting time with the Jets, Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins. He scored 149 goals and 189 assists in the regular season at the NHL level and 3 goals and 3 assists during the playoffs.
During Arniel’s four seasons coaching in Manitoba, the Moose are 181-106-33 and have made the playoffs all four years. Last year following a 50-win performance, he was awarded the Luis A. R. Pieri award as AHL coach of the year. The Moose then advanced all the way to the Calder Cup Finals where they fell to the Hershey Bears four games to two.
Between 2002 and 2006, he was an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres.
Also reportedly on Dudley’s list to discuss the coaching vacancy here is Don Lever, the head coach for the Thrashers’ AHL affiliate in Chicago. Currently, he’s busy with the Wolves as they take on the Texas Stars in round two of the AHL playoffs after advancing there by defeating the Milwaukee Admirals in seven games.
In 2007 Lever was the head coach for the Hamilton Bulldogs, who finished the season 43-28-9 on their way to the Calder Cup, AHL championship. Between 1987-’89 and 1992-2002 he was on the coaching staff for the Buffalo Sabres. He held an assistant coaching position with the St. Louis Blues for the 2002-’03 and 2003-’04 seasons before taking over the head-coaching job with Hamilton following the lockout. In the 2008-’09 season, we was an assistant coach in Montreal.
Lever played in 1,020 NHL games after being drafted 3rd overall in the 1972 draft by Vancouver. During his NHL career, he scored 313 goals and 367 assists during the regular season…spending time with the Canucks, Flames, (both in Atlanta and Calgary), Colorado Rockies, New Jersey Devils, and Buffalo Sabres and was an All-Star player in 1982.
During 30 playoffs games…as a Canuck and Flame…he scored a total of 7 goals and 10 assists.
I’m sure there are others on Dudley’s short list of candidates…some we’ve discussed here recently. But these are the two names I’ve read this weekend that the new Thrashers GM has shown definite interest in.