To describe the last year or so for the reigning President’s Trophy winners, in part, as a “coaching carousel” would certainly surprise those not following too closely along, but that is more or less a fair description for the Florida Panthers. It was just over a year ago that the then 7-0-0 Panthers fired head coach Joel Quenneville amidst the fallout of the Chicago Blackhawks scandal. Replacing Quenneville would be assistant coach Andrew Brunette, who lead the team to a 51-18-6 record under his watch, as well as a first round win over the Washington Capitals. Brunette would go on to be a Jack Adams Award finalist, but ultimately replaced by now head coach Paul Maurice. Brunette ultimately took an assistant job on Lindy Ruff’s staff with the New Jersey Devils, and many wondered if Quenneville might try to jump back into the mix, if he even could.
On today’s installment of TSN’s Insider Trading, Darren Dreger reported that Quenneville is hoping to return “sooner rather than later,” but how soon that could be is unclear. For one, Dreger says, the team hiring him would have to go through the Florida Panthers first. That may not be much of an issue, however Quenneville himself would also have to go through the NHL Commissioner’s Office to be cleared to coach in the league again. According to Dreger, some believe that might not happen until next season. Although that might be a while to wait for Quenneville, considering there had been speculation he may never return to the NHL, a return as soon as next season, just about two years after Florida let him go, may very well be a best case outcome for the coach.
- Also from today’s Insider Trading, TSN’s Chris Johnston broke the news of an interesting new rule change: effective immediately, players must wear their helmets during warmups. The rule does come with a grandfather clause, allowing any player who made their debut prior to the 2019-20 season to continue to make that decision for themselves, however all players who debuted in that season or later, and all future players, must abide by the rule. Johnston adds that this rule was a recommendation from the NHL/NHLPA Committee on Concussions. While warmups are far from an injury magnet, it’s not unheard of for players to get hurt.
- The Winnipeg Jets have been off to an impressive start this season, going 9-4-1 early on. However, behind the success have been some troubling injury concerns. Star winger Nikolaj Ehlers, who was originally expected to only miss a few games, is still not an option for the team, and surgery is a possibility, added Dreger on Insider Trading. Dreger cautioned that nothing was decided yet, but Ehlers had had a few consultations with different doctors and that surgery could possibly be an option. That wouldn’t necessarily be a devastating blow to Winnipeg or Ehlers, depending on the circumstances behind it, but is far removed from the short-term injury it appeared to be at first. Dreger adds that Winnipeg, who is without forwards Mason Appleton, Morgan Barron, and Ehlers, are hoping to fill the gaps internally, but could be considering some trade options.
- Sticking with those Winnipeg Jets, defenseman Dylan DeMelo did not take warmups tonight and was instead replaced in the lineup by Kyle Capobianco. Swapping out one player for another is usually no big deal, but Scott Billeck of The Winnipeg Sun adds that while the circumstances are unknown, DeMelo is not playing nor is he healthy scratch tonight. That doesn’t necessarily guarantee DeMelo is hurt, but it is a point of concern worth following.