Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 05/22/09 at 11:15 PM ET
Go ahead and remove the “interim” tag from Paul Maurice’s position with the Hurricanes.
According to JP Giglio in today’s N&O, Mo will most likely be signed to a new contract as head coach of the Hurricanes. It’s not a lock, but it’s about as close to certain as it could be. Jim Rutherford typically doesn’t deal with player or coach contracts while the team is still playing, but he has given his vote of confidence.
“The fact of the matter is something extraordinary would have to come up for this coaching staff not to return,” Rutherford said. “But I still want to wait and go through the process when we’re finished playing.”
Technically speaking, Maurice is still under contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Peter Laviolette is officially under contract with the Canes. Maurice’s contract expires in June, While Laviolette’s was to run through the 2010-11 season.
Maurice is coaching his second tenure with the franchise. In 1995, at the tender young age of 28, he was hired as the head coach of the Hartford Whalers. He was, by far, the youngest head coach in the league. He is still one of the youngest. Only five NHL coaches are younger than he. For a couple of years, he had a very unusual distinction of being both the youngest AND the longest tenured coach in the league.
In 2003, Maurice was replaced by Peter Laviolette, who coached the team to a Stanley Cup victory in 2006. Laviolette also coached team USA for a couple of years and recently became the winningest US-born NHL coach.
Maurice, who is very close friends with Jim Rutherford, is a little too busy right now to enter contract negotiations. I would assume that those talks will begin as soon as the Hurricanes have played their last game.
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David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.