Unless you’ve been living under a self-imposed summer exile or, alternatively, aren’t all that vested in who’s where on head coach Doug Weight’s staff, you already knew that assistant Greg Cronin, the lone holdover from Jack Capuano’s staff (except Weight, but he, well...) would have his title changed to associate coach under Weight.
What you might not have known is that this is billed as a promotion, as officially announced by the club today.
With what we know of his perspective during his time with the Leafs, and some things we’ve seen or extrapolated while Cronin has been with the Islanders, there are reasons for fans to wonder whether Cronin’s impact is as valuable as “hockey people” say.
But it’s hard to predict from the outside, particularly when there is an entire new set of coaches in the mix as recruited by Weight. This is a new regime, Weight has taken on a new role — the head coach is always a little less “buddy” with players -- and Cronin represents the only other bit of continuity with the change.
It’s likely Cronin will be another voice and sounding board for the other coaches too, as they get to know a completely new organization.
Once things get going, we can see who exactly fits where -- and then as fans we can make up reasons why one coach or another is contributing to the team or individual player’s success or failure.
But Weight’s in charge now, and he still has a place, and praise, for Cronin:
"Greg's hockey knowledge and experiences of over 30 years in the coaching profession are an asset to our coaching staff," Weight said. "He's run our penalty-kill the past several seasons and each year, it's been one of the best* in the league. He has a tireless work ethic on the bench during games, at practice and in meetings. His desire to get the best out of every player, to help achieve our goal of winning is impressive and I'm thrilled to continue to work with him."
*Hyperbole check: After a disastrous 2014-15 (78% kill rate), the Isles penalty kill has been in the top 10 of the league over the past two seasons. So, evaluate that as you will.