Wednesday, June 2, 2010

More Dineen, Arniel background information

The DBJ Coaching Candidate Challenge continues rolling along, and we're finally getting some real perspective on the people behind the CBJ coaching search!

I've gotta hand it to Matt Wagner at The Cannon and Rick Gethin at The Hockey Writers.  Those guys know how to dig around on Scott Howson's Columbus Blue Jackets head coaching candidates.  They reached out to hockey experts in the coaches' current towns and uncovered some excellent background information on who these coaches are and what they bring to their hockey clubs.  Both of their articles are rather thorough examinations of their subjects.

First, Wagner's "The Man They Call Dino".  (Excellent use of the nickname, Matt!)  Matt, too, contacted Chris Roy at the Maine Hockey Journal (who by now has to be wondering what's up in Columbus!) but also Dan Hickling, Portland Pirates beat writer for the York County Journal Tribune.  Big takeaways for me come not from the quotes from his sources but instead from his commentary:
It's not surprising that someone who played 18 years in the league as a hard charger and leader of men (Captain in Philly, Hartford, and Carolina, and arguably should have had the title in Columbus over Lyle Odelein) would demand hard work and know how to light a fire under his players, but it's interesting to see both the positive and negative side effects. While I doubt that the team would be risking a team-wide "tuning out" as Ken Hitchcock suffered, it still would be a possible concern for the front office should Dino get the nod.


[F]or a relatively public figure, he tries to keep an extremely low profile, with very little being discussed in the media, almost no interviews, and a continued attempt to avoid the spotlight. I'm concerned with how he may adjust to the microscope of an NHL job, particularly in Columbus. 
Not sure if this counts as "buyer beware" material, but certainly something to think about.  The whole "spitting nails" persona certainly has its advantages, but it also has drawbacks.

Personally, I'm stuck on Dineen's playoff record.  He won all but one of his playoff games in Portland with Anaheim's players and has hit a relative drought with Buffalo's.  I'm still trying to figure out what I take that to mean, but it's my overriding concern with Dineen.

Now onto Arniel.  With his second article on the Manitoba Moose coach this week, Rick Gethin drew upon the knowledge of Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun for a great piece with lots of useful info.  I love the x's and o's rundown:
Ken made the point that with all of the roster turnover/call-ups in the AHL, a coach has to be flexible with his system. He also said “Arniel’s preference is to play an up-tempo, attacking game. Obviously, there is a defensive structure but he’s not a guy that likes his team to sit back and clog up the neutral zone. I would call him more of an offensive-minded coach but his teams always pay attention to detail in the defensive zone”. This would seem to be an indication that his style fits with the way that Scott Howson is building this Blue Jackets team. Columbus started playing a more up-tempo game towards the tail-end of the 2009-2010 season.
Also, check out these thoughts about how Arniel took a less than stellar roster and got them moving in the right direction:
“This season was filled with changes, constant insertion of new (often ECHL-calibre) players and the team still managed to make the playoffs”, said Wiebe, “and nearly pulled off a big upset of the first-place Hamilton Bulldogs in Round 1.” This shows the kind of character that is inherent in Arniel. He added this gem, “I can honestly say that without Cory Schneider in goal and Scott Arniel behind the bench, the Moose probably would have missed the playoffs this season. Most players agree Arniel had to do a lot more teaching in 2009-10".
A coach who can sit back and coach when the talent lets him but gets his hands dirty teaching when he has to - sounds like a solid choice to me.  I presume that Noel, Boucher and Dineen have all done some teaching in their own right, but you don't hear so much about it with them.

Kudos to Rick and Matt, and to Eric Smith for his work on Guy Boucher as well.  The blogosphere is really coming through with solid material to consider about our possible coaches!

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