Will you lookit this - actual almost news during the summer! Ben reported today via Twitter that the Thrashers have requested permission from the Vancouver Canucks, and have been granted it, to talk with Manitoba Moose head coach Scott Arniel, who played under GM Rick Dudley in Buffalo.
Arniel's a hot prospect recently, with the Blue Jackets also wanting to speak to him regarding their coaching vacancy, though filling Ken Hitchcock's shoes is no small task (nyuk nyuk). Frankly, though, if I were a coach - which I'm not - I'd have to look at the two teams' rosters and choose ATL over CBJ. Nothing against the Jackets at all, but if Afinogenov and Kubina re-sign, and with Kane and a healthy Bogosian, the Thrashers have a better team that you can work with on-ice. That, and the weather's far nicer down here. You have to have priorities.
He holds a 141-73-26 record as their coach. He seems like a solid guy, though I have reservations about bringing in another AHL coach. He has been an assistant coach in the NHL, though, with four years experience in Buffalo. I honestly would prefer an NHL coach with experience working with and motivating youth to at least get this team into some position to contend. I'm not all against AHL coaches, of course - I really like Davis Payne, and of course Dan Bylsma and Mike Babcock have done a-ok making that transition. I'm just concerned about not having had a coach for the past 3 seasons who was rigorous and fairly demanding on the players, and I don't know how well an AHL coach can do with that their first season in the NHL.
I know we're not going to land the next Bylsma and win the Cup next season, but I really would like to see someone with a proven NHL track record behind our bench. Frankly, though, I'm also more interested in the assistant coaches that're brought in. We've spent so long without a competent goalie coach that it's sad.
If you're interested in getting a feel for the guy, NHL Digest has an interview with him from a few years ago that's a good read.