(Side note: Claude Noel still gets nowhere near the respect his pedigree and performance as interim head coach demands, in my opinion, and Scott Arniel is functionally unknown to those watching the Blue Jackets - a crying shame in both cases. I remain convinced that any of the four candidates would make an outstanding head coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets, with each coach having their own attributes.)
Any reader of this blog knows that I feel that the fan/media dialogue over the potential coaches of the Columbus Blue Jackets has taken place without much actual substance to back up assertions (something I've challenged fans, bloggers and media alike to address though Howson may now be too far along for all but the full-time media to conduct any research). Absent any meaningful points of comparison, Dineen perhaps has had the greatest advantage in this "horse race" discussion due to the sense of familiarity that Blue Jackets have with him as a part of the roster from 2000-2003, and then as a Player Development Coach for the Jackets for two seasons. I don't think it's an overstatement in Dineen's case to say that he fits the role of "favorite son" in this four-candidate pool. Such status carries people a long way in the general dialogue, especially in a community with as storied a college athletics program as the Ohio State University's. Columbus loves its alumni, and such a warm feeling between fans and living legends isn't limited to the Buckeyes. We still have soft spots for (most) ex-CBJers as well.
Problem is, the Kevin Dineen of 2010 isn't the same one that left Columbus in 2005. He became the head coach of the Portland Pirates, an AHL affiliate first of the Anaheim Ducks and then the Buffalo Sabres. He's developed a coaching style all his own, with his own way to manage the x's and o's - not to mention the personalities in the locker room. And I hadn't seen any discussion of this from anyone thus far.
Simply put, who is this Kevin Dineen? What's he like today? Are the attributes that he brings to the table what we as Blue Jackets Nation need in our next head coach?
inter-tubes and searched around for a possible source of such information, landing on Chris Roy at the Maine Hockey Journal. Chris is the founder and lead beat writer for the site, having covered the Portland Pirates. I'm not sure that I could have identified a better candidate to fulfill my knowledge gap than this man. Here's a quick email Q&A dialogue that I had with Chris in the hope of gaining some insight on Dineen:
1. What system does Dineen run?
Dineen runs a system dependent on what the NHL club is running. The Sabres have brought a little more of an offensive system than the Ducks, but I think one thing that has been a common thread in Kevin Dineen he likes players who have grit and passion about their game, but more importantly they have have a lot character and a high work ethic. If you look at past free agents that have signed with Portland i.e. Brad Larsen, Cody McCormick and Tyler Bouck, all have some nastiness to their game, but are extremely hard workers much like the way Dineen played. Dineen coaches the game much like Randy Carlyle from Anaheim where you have a strong goalie, big, tall, strong defensemen. Then he would like to have their top-6 forwards followed by a lunch pail line and an energy line.2. What type of a leader/motivator is he? How does he lead/motivate?
He's not really somebody who coaches using X's and O's. He tends to be more of a teacher of the game through being a motivator and utilizing a player's strengths. Dineen is a typical player's coach. He will work with the players, but at the same time, he has no problems letting a player know they've done wrong. One thing for certain is he'll never do it in front of the media. Dirty laundry stays behind close doors because he has too much respect for the players.3. What else should we as Columbus Blue Jackets fans know about Dineen that we can't get from the team bio?
Dineen is very passionate about his players, his teams, and the work-ethic they project on the ice. That said, his own passion has gotten him in trouble in the past, going too far, including a suspension last season after disputing a goal in Syracuse. He'll have to temper his emotion at the NHL level.
Dineen is very community orientated. He likes to get involved in the city where he lives, and he likes to get the family involved too. His daughter Hannah is one of the top players in the state in girls hockey.And there you go. Sounds to me like Dineen is more devoted to personality and attitude (fire in the belly?) than scheme - but if you like the Anaheim Ducks' Stanley Cup-winning team, you won't be disappointed.
But does Ohio have a girls hockey program?
Thanks to Chris for sharing some insights on Coach Dineen!