The Florida Panthers struggled in their last few seasons under head coach Joel Quenneville, but this season they’ve gone on a surprising and successful run with the team’s new head coach, Andrew Brunette. The big question is what changes did Brunette make?
Andrew Brunette led the Florida Panthers through Joel Quenneville’s resignation. The team has been struggling since their coach left, but they have been able to find success with a new system that is not as reliant on Brunette.
Bruno is his nickname among his pals.
Andrew Brunette was a teammate for 1,110 regular-season games across 16 NHL seasons. The Minnesota Wild referred to him as coach, assistant general manager, special assistant to the general manager, and director of player personnel when he retired in 2012. Joel Quenneville contacted him in July 2019 and offered him to join his coaching team as an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers.
Joel Quenneville, who coached Brunette for three seasons as a member of the Colorado Avalanche and then again with the Chicago Blackhawks in Brunette’s last season as a player.
Joel Quenneville, the same Joel Quenneville who resigned with the Panthers unbeaten on Oct. 28. (7-0-0).
Andrew Brunette is now the temporary head coach in Florida, entrusted with dealing with an unforeseen issue that threatened to wreck the franchise’s otherwise promising season.
“These are not the kinds of situations I’d ever want to find myself in. However, in life, you just accept what is handed to you and do the best job you can “Brunette recently told ESPN.
After an inquiry into how the Chicago Blackhawks handled charges by Kyle Beach that former video coach Brad Aldrich sexually abused him in 2010, Quenneville resigned. During the team’s Stanley Cup Playoff run, Quenneville attended a meeting regarding the allegations and, like everyone else in a position of authority in that meeting, took no immediate action. When Chicago won the Stanley Cup, Aldrich stayed on his staff and rejoiced with the other coaches.
Stan Bowman, the Blackhawks’ general manager, and Al MacIsaac, the team’s senior vice president of hockey operations, both resigned after the probe was made public in October. After meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Panthers owner Vincent Viola in New York, Quenneville offered his resignation.
“Suffice it to say that whatever talks I had with Joel, or I assume Vinnie Viola had with Joel, Joel eventually decided that resigning was the most rational course of action for him,” Bettman said.
The Panthers organization was stunned and scrambling as a result of the change of events. From captain Aleksander Barkov and other chosen leaders to elder veterans like Patric Hornqvist and Joe Thornton, the players debated how to manage the problem internally. They were clear in their intention to keep doing what they had been doing under Quenneville rather than abruptly shifting direction with someone from outside the organization.
“We just said that no changes were required. That’s very much how it happened “MacKenzie Weegar, a defenseman, agreed.
Brunette seemed to be an obvious substitute. Someone the players were familiar with. Someone they regarded as a natural extension of their ice success.
“He was a co-architect of a lot of the things that were already going on here. He made a substantial contribution to the current framework. So, why don’t we keep going and see what happens?” Bill Zito, the Panthers’ general manager, stated as much. “When you look at who this individual is and what skills he or she has, it all makes sense.”
The only thing left for the general manager to determine was whether or not his new head coach wanted to be a head coach.
“That was my very first query to him. ‘Bruno, what are your objectives?’ I said. He said that he aspired to become a head coach. And when I inquired whether he was simply making it up, he answered no, that he meant it “Zito said.
Brunette remembers it thus way: “‘Let’s give it a go,’ I reasoned. And maybe I’ll try it again in the future.”
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Maintaining such procedures, according to Laperriere, is the easiest part as a coach.
“Systems, after all, are systems. It’s not difficult to describe a system to someone who is familiar with the game. However, it’s the simple things that count, such as making your players feel at ease “Laperriere said. “I’m sure the atmosphere in the room was a touch shaky. He, on the other hand, has the appropriate demeanor to calm them down. Bruno is the ideal candidate for the job.”
Brunette refused to discuss his personal feelings about succeeding Quenneville, a friend and previous head coach. “I believe we are all aware of the terrible situation. With all that’s happened, there’s been a lot of grief “he said
But, according to Laperriere, it had to be tough for his pal.
“He’s a tremendous Q fan, and he learnt a lot from him, both as a player and as a coach,” Laperriere said.
The key to controlling the team’s emotions after Quenneville’s departure, according to Brunette, was to emphasize that they were all in this together.
“All you have to do is strive to be a good teammate. There’s been some rallying among us as we strive to keep the squad going ahead “he said
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Will Florida’s head coach be Andrew Brunette for the remainder of the season?
“We’ll have to wait and see. We’ll just have to watch how things go “Since Brunette was handed the keys, Zito told ESPN last week that he hasn’t talked to any other coaching candidates about taking over the Panthers.
“Things were going very well, so it doesn’t make much sense to bring in a change just for the sake of change when the greatest option may be right under our nose,” Zito remarked. “In this case, familiarity could promote comfort rather than hate.”
In a moment of need, the Panthers turned to someone they knew.
They shifted their gaze to Bruno. And Laperriere believes he made the correct decision.
“He is truthful. And regardless of the generation we’re talking about, we all want a coach who will be honest with us. That’s the type of man Bruno is “he said “I envision him teaching for a long period there.”