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Kris Knoblauch discusses mentorship he received from Panthers’ head coach Paul Maurice in the past

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Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
16 days ago
During a media availability in the lead-up to this year’s Stanley Cup Final, Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch revealed that he had received mentorship and advice from the opponent’s head coach, Paul Maurice, over the years.
The two first crossed paths during the 2015 NHL Draft, when a certain player from Richmond Hill was taken with the first overall selection. At that time, Knoblauch was still coaching Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, but he applied to interview for an opening on Maurice’s staff with the Winnipeg Jets.
Although Knoblauch ultimately did not land that coaching gig, he gained an ally in the long-time NHL coach who was willing to give him advice if needed.
“I was young. I don’t think I was what he was looking for,” Knoblauch said. “But I remember Paul being very kind and offered to be a mentor for me if I needed to reach out and talk to him, which I did. A couple of years later when I went to Philadelphia, I reached out about my possibilities of becoming an American League head coach or going to the NHL as an assistant, and I remember him giving me advice.”
Stories such as this one further reinforce just how connected the hockey world is, and you always learn who knows who. Knoblauch may not know Maurice well, but the two have crossed paths and conversed over the years, which adds an extra level of intrigue to this Stanley Cup Finals. It certainly won’t be rushing to the top of the storyline leaderboard going into Game 1, but it is nonetheless satisfying to see the mentee facing his mentor.
Knoblauch’s first campaign running the Oilers bench has been quite a success and he is now four wins away from getting a Stanley Cup ring on his finger. Since being hired on November 12, Edmonton has gone 46-18-5 and was among the hottest teams in the league for large stretches of the season, including a 16-game win streak.
In these playoffs, the Oilers have gone 12-6 where they had to overcome some tough opponents along the way in the Canucks and Stars. The Panthers will no doubt be their toughest challenge yet, but with a coach who is always willing to make a gutsy call and has his team playing a sound system in all situations, Edmonton certainly has a good chance to end the Canadian Cup curse and take home their first since 1990.
Game 1 is set for Saturday night in Sunrise. Puck drop is set for 6 p.m. MDT where you can catch the action on Sportsnet and CBC.

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