The New York Islanders have made their first management changes of the 2014 off season.
Returning to the coaching staff is former assistant and AHL head coach Greg Cronin, as per Arthur Staple.
An assistant under Butch Goring, Peter Laviolette, and Seteve Stirling, Cronin had his greatest success within the Islanders organization as head coach of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He spent six years steadily improving the Northeastern University Huskies program, only to be relieved of his duties for possible recruiting violations. (It’s college athletics and EVERYONE has “illegally recruited” students, so the merits of the accusation are cloudy.)
The past four years saw Cronin with the Toronto Maple Leafs along side former Islanders head coach Scott Gordon, with the exact results you would have expected.
Why would Cronin return while more qualified candidates remain in need of NHL employment? Cronin works well with kids, an attribute that will come in handy with the average age of the Islanders’ centermen and defensemen next year. (Francois Allaire had something to say about the Leafs’ goalie development but that’s what Mike Dunham is for….oh god.) His track record for implementing systems with youth could serve as an additional voice with Jack Capuano, but he has not been able to affect serious change in struggling teams. Cronin’s talents would be best served back in Bridgeport, had Brent Thompson not been assigned there. With Bob Corkum now an official assistant, the Islanders bench is more tweeners than bonafide Head and Assistants.
Additionally, Doug Wight is now the Official Assistant GM after being assistant coach and “Special Advisor to the GM”…yet still an assistant coach. (I now hate the word “assistant”.) Enough. Give #93 one job with one title and be done with it. If he’s the heir-apparent to Garth Snow, make it so. Rotatating triple-hats does no one any good and convolutes the leadership structure.
Speaking of Mike Dunham, what does his future hold? With the hiring of Mitch Korn, the Washington Capitals now have Korn and former goalie coach Olaf Kolzig in the system. Unless new GM Brian MacLellan and Asst GM Ross Mahoney can find a Director of Coffee Acquisition role for Kolzig, the Islanders should pitch an offer his way. If not, see what former Caps goalie coach Arturs Irbe is looking to do. Both could be very beneficial to the Islanders new and improved crease.
As odd as this seems, none of this smells of Charles Wang. Maybe Garth is actually getting his say in how management is assembled. What a world.