Peters Picked to Placate Pro Players
Just before close of business, YOUR Carolina Hurricanes named Bill “despite my name, I’m not an insurance salesman” Peters as the 13th head coach in franchise history.
Peters comes to North Carolina with a successful track record of head coaching experience in junior hockey and the AHL, as well as three years as an assistant under Mike Babcock in Detroit.
Following in the footsteps of San Jose (Todd McLellan) and Ottawa (Paul MacLean), Ron Francis’ first hire dips into the Detroit assistant coach grab bag and has come up with Peters. Wait, that sounds horrible… Moving right along, Peters’ role in
former titan of industry Detroit saw him focusing on the defensive corps and penalty kill. While the PK wasn’t so much an issue last season (Canes were 17th in the league), the team’s youth on defense could certainly benefit from a fresh set of eyes with blue line experience.
On 99.9 The Fan, Ron Francis said that Peters has “had success at multiple levels” and that Francis is “confident he’s the right man for the job.” In that same interview, Francis noted that Peters has been in good situations, and seen teams generate success. The new general manager is looking for Peters to change the culture (drink), bring passion, and help the team improve their work ethic.
Looking towards the near future, Francis made it clear to Peters (and other interviewees) that Rod Brind’Amour will be a part of the staff, presumably focusing on forwards. That would leave assistant spots open for goaltending and defense, which will likely be settled in the next couple weeks.
Ron Francis wants to see an improvement in compete level, and see guys play a solid three-zone game every night. He’s spoken to Eric Staal several times this offseason, and has stressed the same points to the captain, “if we’re going to be successful, he needs to be the leader on the ice and off the ice. Needs to backcheck as hard as he forechecks, play hard on D, and play a 200-foot game.”
As far as the 23 guys in uniform, Peters told Francis he likes the current group and feels he can be the guy to get them over the hump. Francis didn’t mention anything to Adam and Joe regarding potential trades prior to the season, but as the season progresses “if guys aren’t buying in, we’ll make changes.”
For his first hire, many speculated, and some showed concern, that he would hire good friend Ulf Samuelsson. By going in a different direction, Francis took a bold step by going outside his perceived comfort zone. Peters has a track record of success as a head guy, has years of experience working with arguably the most respected head coach in the NHL, and by our best guess, knocked the interview out of the park.
Bill Peters isn’t a sexy or splashy hire like Dan Bylsma, John Stevens, or Ulf Samuelsson. After reading more about his record, and his ability to separate himself from the other candidates that Francis and his staff went through in a “time consuming effort”, we’re on board.