Monday, June 27, 2011

Predators Hire Muller to Coach AHL Affiliate

The Nashville Predators today announced the hiring of Kirk Muller to be the Head Coach of the AHL Milwaukee Admirals, the primary development affiliate of the team. Muller replaces Lane Lambert, the Admirals former Head Coach who was promoted to be an assistant coach with the Predators.

Here is the press release from the Predators:

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that Kirk Muller has been named the head coach of the team’s primary developmental affiliate, the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals.

“Kirk Muller was everything we were looking for in our development coach,” Poile said. “With his playing pedigree, experience as a captain and Stanley Cup winner, and his solid communication skills, we feel our young players and prospects are in great hands.”

Muller, 45 (2/8/66), has spent the past five seasons as an assistant with the Montreal Canadiens, helping them reach the playoffs in each of the past four campaigns, and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2010. Known as an excellent communicator, motivator and an outstanding strategist, the Kingston, Ont., native is credited for transforming a Habs penalty killing unit that has finished in the top half of the League each season since his arrival, including a seventh-place ranking in 2010-11. The Canadiens did not give up a power-play goal in their seven 2011 postseason contests, going 21-for-21. During his second season behind the Montreal bench in 2007-08, the club posted its best record since the 1988-89 club the advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, going and Eastern Conference best 47-25-10 (105 points).

Prior to joining the Montreal staff on June 20, 2006, Muller spent one season as head coach of the Queen's University Golden Gaels (Canadian University) in his hometown of Kingston. He also served as an assistant coach on Canada’s entries at the 2005 Lotto Cup Tournament, winning a gold medal, and the 2006 Under-18 World Championships.
Selected second overall by New Jersey in the 1984 Entry Draft, Muller retired after an illustrious 19-season career in 2003 (N.J., MTL, NYI, TOR, FLA, DAL) which saw him post 959 points (357g-602a) in 1,349 regular-season games (42nd all-time) and 69 points (33g-36a) in 127 playoff games. The nine-time 20-goal scorer and five-time 30-goal man played in six NHL All-Star Games (1985, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1993), with his best season coming in 1992-93, when the left winger tied a career-high with 94 points (37g-57a) and pitched in 17 (10g-7a) more during the Canadiens run to the 1993 Stanley Cup. He also represented Canada at four World Championships (1985, 1986, 1987, 1989) and in the 1984 Olympics

Muller will join the Predators coaching staff at the team's development camp this week in Nashville.

Muller is a coach that will bring a wealth of experience to the Admirals, and should be instrumental in helping with the development of the young forwards in Milwaukee. The Predators have a patient system, meaning they give a player time to develop physically and to develop their on ice game. Muller's experience and success in the NHL will hasten the development of some of these younger players.

It is well known that Muller wants to be a head coach in the NHL, and that this will probably not be a long term stop for him. It will be good experience for Muller and it will be good for his charges in Milwaukee. I expect to see both the players and the organization benefit from this hire.

How has the hockey community reacted to the hiring of Muller by the Predators organization? Here are some comments from the website:

 Muller will make an excellent coach so I hope he doesn't get back into the Habs He was such a great and respected player for many years and I'm sure his teams will respond very well to his coaching and wish him great success. Go Bruins

That's the 2nd A-coach that the Habs have lost that would have been an upgrade at head coach. Kirk will have his own NHL team soon. This stop just gives him a chance to prove that he can mold the young talent

Congratulations Captain Kirk, you definintely deserve to be top dog on a hockey bench.... but it should have been in the big leagues not the AHL. Muller was the architect of the Habs special teams which for much of the past few years have been the best in the league despite losing their pp quarterback every year (souray, markov to injury etc). Mark my words, Muller will be coaching in the NHL by the end of this contract as this guy is way too good to be in the AHL for long. Good luck Kirk and hopefully the Habs leadership will be smart enough this time to bring in one of their own when it's time to replace JM (soon I hope!!!!)

Muller was very well thought of inside the Canadiens organization, and his loss behind the bench will be felt by the Habs. This is his proving ground before attempting to step into the role of an NHL bench boss, and I believe that it will be a good run for him.

That will be good for Muller, his players, and the Predators organization.

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