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McPhee Drops More Hints On Coaching Search

During Monday’s season ticket holder conference call, GM George McPhee sounded like a man who’s impatiently waiting for late June.

We’ll be ready for the expansion draft and the entry draft. In fact I think we’re ready now.. -George McPhee, General Manager

If you missed it or aren’t quite rich enough to have fancy pants season tickets, check out the Twitter timeline as Ken live-tweeted out the full conference call. Without giving too much away, McPhee gave a few notes of interest, especially, an answer to a coaching question. We still stand by Jack Capuano as the front-runner and his comment leads us again to the former Islanders coach.

Let’s get to the hidden information McPhee might’ve tried to slip by us. On a question about finding the Golden Knights first head coach. The GM stated he wants a coach that knows the present-day players, rules and styles. Most importantly, here’s the big clue, he also would like to hire someone he knows.

We want someone who is very current on the game, who’s progressive. I’ve had the opportunity to work with lots of coaches in the NHL. Had great experiences in the world championships working with several NHL coaches. So, we know who’s out there. We decided way back in August, that we were going to take our time and interview along the way. – GM George McPhee

McPhee said it, he’s worked with a lot of NHL coaches. Here’s the list:

CoachWhen With McPheeCurrently WithTenureRecord
Ron WilsonWSH Head Coach (1997-2002)N/A410 Games192-159-51
Bruce CassidyWSH Head Coach (2002-2004)Boston (Interim)110 Games47-47-9
Randy CarlyleWSH Assistant Coach (2002-2004)Anaheim (HC)164 Games64-75-18
Glen HanlonWSH Head Coach (2003-2008)GM Vancouver Giants (WHL)239 Games79-122-9
Bruce BoudreauWSH Head Coach (2008-2012)Minnesota (HC)329 Games208-104-40
Jack CapuanoNYI Head Coach (2015) *Only Season McPhee w/New YorkN/A82 Games45-27-10
Doug WeightSr. Advisor to GM and Isles Asst. Coach (2015)New York Islanders (Interim)29 Games16-9-4
Bill PetersIIHF Team Canada Head Coach (2014-Pres)Carolina (HC)164 Games65-72-27
Dave CameronIIHF Team Canada Assistant Coach (2014-2016)Calgary (Asst)137 Games70-50-17
Mike YeoIIHF Team Canada Assistant CoachSt. Louis (HC)370 Games187-139-44

As you can see, McPhee has worked with plenty of NHL head coaches past and present. Cassidy, Carlyle, Boudreau, Weight, Peters and Yeo are all current NHL head coaches. Capuano was fired earlier this season, and Cameron was let go after last season. Hanlon and Wilson haven’t been NHL head coaches in some time so it’s safe to eliminate them. Carlyle, Boudreau and Yeo are all safely employed. Which leaves Capuano, Cassidy, Weight, Peters and Cameron.

Now let’s break down their qualifications to coach the Golden Knights. All five coaches know and worked with McPhee at some time. Capuano, Cassidy, Peters and Cameron are in their fifties, while Weight is 46. The prime ages for an NHL head coach. Age is key, because younger coaches can connect with the modern day hockey player.

Speaking of modern, the head coach must be able to adjust with today’s tempo, style and speed of today’s game. Capuano adjusted well with a below average roster during his NY tenure making the playoffs three out of six full seasons. He coached in the toughest division and built a style his team could succeed against Pittsburgh, New York and Washington. Plus his players liked playing hard for him. He was well liked among the core.

Obviously guys we haven’t been playing good as a group and it’s on us. Its hard to see someone lose their position like that. Especially a great guy. You want find a guy saying anything bad about Cap. That’s for sure. – Travis Harmonic, Islanders Defensman

At this point there is no reason to write anymore about Capuano. You already know our thoughts on him as the Golden Knights first coach.

There’s a possibility that Weight and Cassidy get dismissed as well, which would make both available at seasons end. Word out of Islander camp, is they will retain Weight. With Cassidy, it’s really hard to predict what the Bruins will do if they don’t make the postseason. If the Interim Head Coach is let go in Boston I’m sure McPhee will do his due diligence. However, Cassidy was fired by McPhee after only 107 games. That’s a not a long tenure. It must’ve been enough of a sample size though for McPhee who fired Cassidy after just 25 games in his second season as head coach. The current Bruins coach went 8-16-1 to start his second season under McPhee. Does that hurt his chances here in Las Vegas? Possibly, but first Cassidy has to worry about getting his team into the playoffs before DM’ing McPhee.

If McPhee gave a coaching nugget away or not, some above coaches fit the criteria Vegas wants in a coach. The age, pro experience, league awareness and past relationship. The Creator has said it many times, he wants a coach that will work well with him and the organization. He also wants a coach to be with the organization for a long time. Capuano, Weight and Cassidy are all the perfect age for a tenure that long. If the two Interim coaches aren’t extended then expect to hear a lot of their names in April. Otherwise, expect Cappy from Maine to lead the bench next season at the T-Mobile arena.


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  1. I have a feeling that Darryl Sutter will be available. You could do worse.

  2. patricafdw

    Bring out the lobsters.

  3. James

    @Jason Pothier
    Is there a connection between George McPhee and Lindy Ruff? Team Canada, perhaps?

  4. Jason Pothier

    Hey James,

    Not any connection in the same organization for Lindy or McPhee… rumors have Lindy heading back to Buffalo if they move on from Bylsma. If Lindy is available I’m sure Buff will make a strong push. I like him and think he’d be a very good option for Vegas. Just don’t see it happening.

  5. Warren Shapiro

    Cappy could be a wise pick. Unfortunately he was short a player or two here on the Island. I feel if you give the coach the time then he can put the CUP(STANLEY CUP) on the mantle. So lets give another chance to Cappy. Also I wish him GOOD LUCK and see you in the playoffs soon. Go Knights Go

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