Reports from the Connecticut Post's Michael Fornabaio and Newsday's Katie Strang say Pat Bingham, the Bridgeport assistant who replaced Jack Capuano as coach when Capuano was promoted to the Islanders in November, will not be back. Keith FanShotted this earlier. Fornabaio reports:
Bingham seemed mostly shocked but thanked a bunch of people. Hoping to get Garth Snow to talk about it.
(Fornabaio is hoping, that is.) Just last night Fornabaio posted a lot of insights from Sound Tiger players and Bingham himself (before he knew he wasn't coming back), including this on how he handled the transition:
"I’ve been a head coach at various levels before being here. The great working relationship I had with Jack is I really did have a lot of input in the day-to-day workings of our team. He gave me a lot of responsibility in running the power play, the penalty kill, meetings. All our systems, I was very involved. So in that way I was ready for the opportunity. I’m glad to see him doing well, helping their team start to win games. I just did my best to take advantage of the opportunity presented me."
There is much more in that post about how their season went, and which guys took on bigger roles. The Sound Tigers went 24-30-11 under Bingham which -- considering the nightmare of injuries that hit both squads and required constant plundering of the Sound Tigers to replenish the Isles -- might not be seen as all that bad. His working relationship with Capuano seemed to be a positive, but again, any situation like this depends on a pretty big web of overlapping relationships between coaches, staff, players, and the big guy making the decisions.
This raises the question of who's next? Is it a guy in a developmental frame, with all the new prospects that are headed Bridgeport's way? The Sound Tigers have not had many successful seasons, and it's not clear whether the Islanders would even want to add the veteran AHL pros that might get the team to the top third of the AHL.
As Keith mentioned here, Doug Weight's name keeps coming up as having some sort of position with the Isles open to him if he retires, but if that role in anyway includes the term "coach," it's hard for me to imagine it being more than a specialist's role at this point. In end-of-season comments, he certainly didn't sound like a guy ready to jump right into a major bench role. So if Weight joins the Isles staff, would one of the current assistant's be put in charge of the Baby Isles on the farm? Or do they look outside?
It's an interesting opening, because with the Isles just naming a full head coach at the NHL level, the Isles' AHL gig wouldn't be a near-term "next in line" type of position. (In other words, you'd be doing a few years' time before you could even think you might get an interim promotion.)
All will come out eventually.
John Tavares is confirmed to be joining Team Canada. So is Jeff Skinner. Al Montoya, I think you already know, will be there for Team USA.
- James Mirtle ranks his top 30 NHL defensemen.
- Ron Wilson says the Leafs are not just close to a playoff spot, but close to a title contender.
- Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts are always awesome, so go read 'em.
- The AHL schedule is dropping back to 76 games. Makes sense.
- Skates on the Plane: Offseason tips. This could go for bloggers, too.
- Capuano was apparently the wrong choice, but by this version it sounds like the right choice is neither available nor breathing.
- The Coyotes saga will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever end.
New Links (a few more from mikb here)
- All-Time dirtiest players slideshow. Nice shot of Cookie whunking Hillen, of Avery skating past the Isles bench after being Haley'd, and Public Enemy Number 2 is Dale (hurk, ptui) Hunter. So, lots of Islander-centrism there.
- Hoffner's Mock Draft, already mentioned by Keith in passing... but also notable for his slotting Couturier eighth, to Columbus, and dropping David Musil all the way to 27th, to Pittsburgh. (Wonder if Portzline is sockpuppeting this one. Boy does Columbus need another centerman.)
- from NHL.com, History Will Be Made... the Home Game! Pick from 64 playoff moments and see which is the historiest of them all! Surprisingly, the Isles are remembered with three entries: the Easter Epic, the 0-3 comeback in 1975, and Nystrom (Tonelli, Henning) 7:11. NOT surprisingly... all three are in the same regional bracket, which means that only one of them can move into the Final Four. #facepalm.
Remember: Five playoff games tonight. We'll have more pick 'em threads up as the games happen.