There are a few coaching openings left in the NHL. Of course, the one we have been paying attention to is in Columbus where GM Scott Howson is trying to decide between a few candidates, including former Admirals head coach Claude Noel. Noel finished the season as the interim head coach after his longtime friend Ken Hitchcock was relieved of the duties. One would think Claude would have the edge. He’s been a tremendously successful head coach in the AHL, like the other candidates: Scott Arniel, Guy Boucher and Kevin Dineen. Boucher has been a head coach at the major junior level and one season in the professional ranks. Take out Boucher and Noel has the best winning percentage as a head coach in the AHL, .639. Arniel’s winning percentage is .623 and Dineen’s winning percentage is .610. Noel made the playoffs each season as the Admirals head coach, appeared in two Calder Cup Finals and led Milwaukee to the 2003-04 Championship.
Noel also knows how to handle the media. It’s too bad the Admirals don’t get better media coverage because the reporters have missed out on, hands down, the best quotes in Milwaukee with Noel and current head coach Lane Lambert. I personally like Scott Arniel a great deal. He, too, is great with the media. I don’t know Dineen personally, nor Boucher. Although, I’m told Boucher is quite amusing.
Noel knows the Blue Jackets. He knows how players respond. He knows what the Blue Jackets need to get better. The team went 10-8-6, a winning percentage of .542, in the last 24 games while he was the head coach. The team was 22-27-9 under Hitchcock last season.
Columbus needs to start winning. It seems to me the lowest risk in Howson’s pending hire is Claude Noel.
This is just speculation…It’ll be interesting to see if Admirals coach Lane Lambert is a candidate for the Tampa Bay job. Lambert and new Lightning boss Steve Yzerman are friends and were drafted back-to-back by the Red Wings. Of course, Lane is also a terrific coach that’s enjoyed great success.
Former Ads defenseman Sheldon Brookbank signed a two-year extension with Anaheim.
The top-ranked high school player in Wisconsin for the upcoming NHL draft is Hayward defenseman Nolan Kirley.
Here’s a nice note: former Admiral and current Predators defenseman Dan Hamhuis will visit a children’s hospital next week in Haiti as part of the ‘Hockey for Haiti’ initiative with Haitian-Canadian NHL veteran Georges Laraque. They’ll visit Grace Children’s Hospital in Port au Prince. The hospital is known as a leading pediatric center for the treatment of tuberculosis but was devastated by January’s massive earthquake and is now operating an outpatient clinic from tents in the yard.
I saw Norm MacDonald a few weeks ago. He’s not a George Carlin-type with his standup…not much of a message in his comedy. Still, he put on a great show.
Remember, you can follow me on Twitter @aaronadmirals. If something newsworthy happens, I’ll usually have it there.
Until next time…Go Admirals!!!