New Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice was introduced to the media at a press conference on Thursday, and his speech was quite different from his farewell speech to the Winnipeg Jets last December.
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The 55-year-old was officially confirmed in office Wednesday evening and is ready to lead his squad to the Stanley Cup. Contrary to what he said when he left Manitoba, he believes he is the right person to help the Panthers win in the playoffs. The spring of 2022 was disappointing at Sunrise, where the club bowed out in the second round after winning the Presidents’ Trophy in the regular season.
“There’s a lot of good here. If you look at history you see several powerful formations and Florida is now one of them. Going back in time, there was Detroit in the mid-1990s, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay a few years before today…the talent is there, but needs to be developed to a certain level, he said . Then, it’s the next phase and everything is not necessarily evaluated from the number of points in the season or the goals scored.
Also, the former pilot of the Carolina Hurricanes and the Toronto Maple Leafs, in particular, wants his players to learn from their mistakes so as not to repeat them during the next campaign and especially the subsequent series.
“You have to be ready for this. The transition goes through the difficult things and the commitment of the whole group to move forward when adversity comes their way. You have earned the right to survive this adversity.”
The right combination
In the eyes of general manager Bill Zito, the presence of Maurice is welcome, even if Andrew Brunette has done a good job as interim driver after taking over from Joel Quenneville during the year.
“When we spoke with Paul Maurice, it was obvious that this was the right combination, indicated the DG. Andrew was a serious and solid candidate for the position. With us, he was very vigorous and did an excellent job. On the other hand, it was important to look at the future and the challenges ahead as we approach the next season. We know those challenges and that’s what we’ve focused on.”
Maurice led the Jets from 2013-2014 and totaled 315 victories at the helm of this team. For her part, Brunette has won 51 in 75 games.