Patrick Roy stepped down from his post as coach of the Avalanche nearly two weeks ago and two NHL assistants are reportedly the frontrunners to take over as bench boss in Colorado.
According to The Denver Post’s Terry Frei, Chicago Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen and San Jose Sharks assistant Bob Boughner are two ‘major candidates’ to assume the Avalanche’s top coaching job and both have ties to the city.
As Frei points out, Dineen spent two seasons at the University of Denver before making his jump to the NHL during the 1984-85 season with the Hartford Whalers, whereas Boughner spent the final two seasons of his NHL career with the Avalanche, playing a total of 52 games with the club across the 2003-04 and 2005-06 campaigns.
However, there’s another tie both coaches share. The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline made the connection between Dineen and Boughner, both former members of the Blue Jackets’ front office and coaching staff, and Avalanche assistant GM Chris McFarland, who held the same position in Columbus during the tenures of both Dineen and Boughner. Portzline added that also helps draw the link between Jared Bednar, coach of the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate, and the Avalanche.
To hear Dineen’s name come up in the coaching discussion in Colorado is nothing new, as he’s reportedly been one of the candidates bandied about to fill vacancies with the Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames. But to hear him as a major contender for the job means the Avalanche could be serious about giving Dineen a second shot to run an NHL bench.
From the start of the 2011-12 season until early into the 2013-14 campaign, Dineen was coach of the Florida Panthers, over which time he logged a 56-62-28 record and one seven-game post-season appearance. That stellar performance in his first season as coach helped him keep his job through an up-and-down second season, but the slow start in 2013-14 cost him the post. Shortly thereafter, though, Dineen took over the Canadian women’s national team and led them to a gold medal at the Sochi Olympics.
Dineen has spent the past two seasons working under coach Joel Quenneville with the Blackhawks, and the additional experience could make Dineen an intriguing candidate.
As for Boughner, his candidacy for the job is an interesting one in that he will have seen a quick rise through the ranks over the past three seasons should he land the gig. Boughner does have nearly a decade of coaching experience, though.
Boughner’s first coaching position came when he took over the Windsor Spitfires in 2006-07 — he had purchased the team the season prior — and he remained the team’s coach for nine seasons. During his tenure, the Spitfires won back-to-back OHL championships and Memorial Cups in 2008-09 and 2009-10. In addition, he was a two-time coach of the year winner in both the OHL and CHL.
This past season, though, Boughner made the jump to the NHL. He signed on to join the San Jose Sharks and in his first season as an assistant helped the club to its first Western Conference championship and appearance in the Stanley Cup final.
If he were to land the job with the Avalanche, Boughner will have gone from OHL to NHL assistant to NHL bench boss in three short seasons.
Colorado GM Joe Sakic has given no indication exactly when the team will make a decision on who will take over behind the bench, but he has made it clear that he wants to have a new coach by the time training camp begins.
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