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Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Coaching staff in place

As has been widely speculated for some time, Brad McCrimmon was hired today as assistant coach for the Red Wings, replacing Todd McLellan, who is the new head coach in San Jose.

Hockey is a big sport for being regionally connected. Head coach Mike Babcock grew up in Saskatchewan. McLellan is a Saskatchewan native. So to replace one prairie coach, the Wings bring in another Saskatchewan native, McCrimmon.

(McCrimmon also keeps the Mc/Mac thing going among Red Wings assistants. Paul MacLean signed a three-year deal today to remain with the organization. McLellan out, McCrimmon in. If they were more about corporal punishment, we could call the lot of them the Mc/Mac paddy whack crew. I hope Ken Holland takes note that I'm a MacLeod and other than having no credentials whatsoever for the job, would be a perfect fit on the Mc/Mac coaching staff should a Mc or Mac depart.)

All of which is neither here nor there if McCrimmon does a good job and I suspect that he will. He's got a nice blend of NHL experience as a player (1,222 career regular-season games) and as a coach (assistant for both Calgary and Atlanta). This is also a nice fit with MacLean being a former high scoring forward and McCrimmon being a defenseman in the day. I'm guessing that MacLean's duties will be shifted from the blue line to the forwards and perhaps from the penalty-kill to the power play.

Regional bias can hurt a franchise -- again, I think that McCrimmon is a nice fit regardless of native province. Doug MacLean was from Prince Edward Island and always liked to hire people from his home province -- from Gerard Gallant as head coach in Columbus to Grant Sonier as an assistant coach with the Fraser-based Detroit Falcons -- and the results weren't always good.

In a ships-passing-in-the-night note, McCrimmon was brought in as an assistant in Atlanta by Bob Hartley after the Thrashers fired Curt Fraser. Fraser was recently hired as the new head coach of the Wings' top affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins.

The Wings also hired a video coach to replace Jay Woodcroft, who is now an assistant coach under McLellan in San Jose. Keith McKittrick (good Lord another Mc, how are we going to keep this all straight) has been with the Michigan State program for the past three seasons.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pffffttt... if you replaced Paul MacLean it would be a Mac/Mac coaching staff instead of a Mc/Mac coaching staff.

How many games would that kind of team win?

You'll just have to hope that Paul sprains his moustache and has to retire.

August 4, 2008 at 1:58 PM 
Anonymous mudshark said...

I can't help but recall our Plymouth Squirt Flyers's battles against the evil Mic-Mac teams of the mid 1980s. Playing out of a rink on Inkster, I believe, they kicked our butts too many times to count.

But, we got revenge- in the form of the Livingston Turkey Tournament, where, after losing to Mic-Mac in the round robin, we stormed back in the final game to defeat those savage bastards and claim the coveted Turkey Trophy for the honor of the greater Western Wayne County area.

Clearly, I am gripping the past far too tightly here... Enjoyed the article, though, as usual. Keep up the good work, Highlander.

August 4, 2008 at 3:44 PM 
Blogger Kurt said...

Obviously, Darren McCarty has a future in the front office :-)

August 4, 2008 at 5:24 PM 
Blogger John said...

So in other words, I have to change my name to get that job! Well, whenever McKittrick is done, I will have to petition the courts and the Red Wings to make me video coach! Oh, and I DO have the qualifications for that! But in the mean time, I'll be adopting my family's older name. Then it will be Babcock Mc/Mac/Murray ... sounds like Haggis on Ice!

August 5, 2008 at 7:57 AM 

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