Report: Oilers interview Paul Maurice for coaching job

It appears the Edmonton Oilers’ search for a quality assistant to join Ralph Krueger’s staff is well under way. TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted a report that the team had interviewed former Carolina Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice and was also potentially interested in former Phoenix Coyotes head coach Rick Bowness.

It’s clear the team is looking for a number two man with serious credentials to support Krueger.

Paul Maurice is 16th all-time in total games coached at the NHL level, with 1,084 contests under his belt; he’s also tied for 21st in career wins with 460. Last year he was the head coach of Magnitogorsk Metallurg in the KHL. He wouldn’t necessarily be a strong choice for a head coaching job in the NHL, but as an associate coach he would certainly offer Krueger a wealth of experience to lean on.

Rick Bowness doesn’t have the same profile as Maurice, but would doubtless fill the same role (there’s likely some comfort level for Craig MacTavish here, too, given that he spent a year in the Canucks organization with Bowness). Bowness was an associate coach under Alain Vigneault in Vancouver and before that worked in Phoenix under both Bob Francis and Wayne Gretzky. He’s also spent 463 games as a head coach in the NHL, working for the Jets, Islanders, Bruins, Senators and Coyotes. 

Either guy is a great candidate, and given Edmonton’s struggles in various areas last season a veteran coach would be a welcome addition to Krueger’s staff. While the primary problem was doubtless the roster, the team regressed at even-strength in Krueger’s first year and coaching may well have been part of the problem.

UPDATE. It probably should have been apparent the Oilers were considering Paul Maurice on Monday, when Bob Stauffer interviewed Carolina analyst Tripp Tracy on Oilers Now and specifically asked him how strong Maurice was as a technical coach; here’s what Tracy had to say:

[Paul Maurice is] one of the smartest peoples I’ve ever met, so technically extremely sound. When I’ve done games over the years between the benches he manages the bench as well as anybody. His biggest area of growth from when he broke into the league at such a young age, Bob, is that he has become more of a players’ coach. Players absolutely love him. I truly believe that Paul Maurice, for a guy who has coached over 1,000 games, is a really underrated coach in the National Hockey League.

Bowness likely has pretty solid credentials in that department, too; Vancouver has been one of the most inventive and tactically sound teams in the league over the last few years and Bowness has been Alain Vigneault’s right hand man through all of that.


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Recently around the Nation Network

At NHL Numbers, Cam Charron considers a New Way of Looking at Shot Blocking:  

[A] new statistic has popped up: "Percentage of shots blocked" and it’s a little dicey as well. Generally speaking, it’s just not good to block a lot of shots or to be in situations where you have to block a lot of shots. "Percentage of shots blocked" has been kicking around but I’ve seen no evidence that it’s a repeatable statistic that correlates with winning.

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