What Paul Maurice Brings the Florida Panthers


The Florida Panthers decided on a new head coach Wednesday, surprising some observers by not making interim coach Andrew Brunette a permanent fixture behind their bench, but instead going with veteran Paul Maurice. There are plenty of great head coaching candidates out there – Brunette included – but it makes sense that Panthers GM Bill Zito decided on Maurice, who has 1,665 games of NHL experience, as well as two conference final appearances and one Stanley Cup Final to his credit. For this Florida team, at this point in its competitive cycle, Zito didn’t want someone learning on the job. And Maurice brings a cool, calm factor that the veteran-laden Panthers roster can emulate on the ice. Zito could’ve gone off the mainstream path and gone with an unproven commodity, the way the Edmonton Oilers did this past season when they replaced Dave Tippett with Jay Woodcroft. However, sticking with Brunette, especially after the Panthers were steamrolled by Tampa Bay in a second-round sweep this spring, was clearly not Zito’s first choice. There may come a day when Brunette is the right choice for a franchise, but the longer the hiring process took, the more it became apparent Zito wanted someone who has been through the wringer before, and came out of it with a legitimate Cup frontrunner. more: World Juniors Live