The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Bill Peters looking to turn Carolina Hurricanes into winners in 1st NHL head coaching job

  • Print

RALEIGH, N.C. - The Carolina Hurricanes hope they now have the leadership tandem in place to turn the franchise around.

Bill Peters was introduced Friday as the Hurricanes new coach, the first big hire made by new Carolina general manager Ron Francis. Now it's up to Peters to prove it was a shrewd move.

Carolina has made three coaching changes since 2006 and has only one playoff appearance to show for it.

"When I did my due diligence and went to look at rosters ... we're not far off," Peters said. "I think there's lots of pieces here and it's up to us and our coaching staff ... to max our group out."

A few hours after Peters' formal introduction, the Hurricanes made another addition to their management team, hiring 44-year-old Ricky Olczyk — the younger brother of former NHL coach and current NBC Sports analyst Ed Olczyk — as an assistant general manager.

The younger Olczyk spent six years as Edmonton's assistant GM and was the Oilers' NHL liaison for all collective bargaining agreement matters.

Peters replaces Kirk Muller, who was fired last month — a week into Francis' tenure as GM — and went 80-80-27 in three seasons with no playoff berths.

Instead of an established NHL head coach or a popular ex-player, Francis went with Peters — a 48-year-old Detroit Red Wings assistant who has never been an NHL head coach but was in demand this off-season.

Peters said he interviewed for two other jobs and Francis says he spoke to 10 candidates during "a pretty extensive search," narrowing that to a three-man short list before deciding on Peters and giving him a three-year contract.

"You have to take the time to go through it and make sure you get the right guy," Francis said, "and that's what we did."

What dazzled Francis was Peters' attention to detail: He penned a booklet breaking down the team and brought it to his first interview with them, and his second one included a PowerPoint presentation, Francis said.

"He's extremely, extremely detailed," Francis said. "He's going to communicate with our players. Our players are going to know where he stands, and there's no little detail that (will) be overlooked."

From the outside, his challenge looks daunting: Making the Hurricanes a consistent playoff team.

Muller couldn't do it in three years. Neither could Paul Maurice, at least during his second stint with the team. Even Peter Laviolette — the only Carolina coach to hoist the Stanley Cup — couldn't get the Hurricanes back to the post-season.

Now Peters gets his chance to try to revive a club that has missed the playoffs in seven of the eight years since the Hurricanes won their only Stanley Cup in 2006.

The lone post-season berth since that Cup run came in 2009, when the Hurricanes reached the Eastern Conference final in the first year of Maurice's second term as coach.

Peters' plan is to address three glaring problems from last season: Starting games strong, producing more on the power play and winning more often at PNC Arena. Carolina was the league's third-worst team with the man advantage and was just 18-17-6 at home.

"We've got to become a harder team to play against here in Raleigh," Peters said.

His hiring caps about two months of turbulence in the Hurricanes' organization.

Francis, a Hall of Fame player who has been both an assistant coach and an assistant GM with Carolina, was moved up a rung on the organization's ladder and his mentor, Jim Rutherford, stepped aside after two decades — and eventually wound up bolting to Pittsburgh to take over as the Penguins' GM.

Francis' first big move came a week later when he fired Muller and put the players on notice that the responsibility for turning the team around is on them, too.

After a 46-day search in which some recognizable names were floated, Francis plucked Peters from Mike Babcock's staff with the Red Wings.

He spent the past three years working primarily with the Red Wings' defencemen and penalty killers.

Before joining the Red Wings' staff, he coached Rockford of the AHL from 2008-11 and guiding that team to consecutive 40-win seasons. Eight of his Rockford players helped Chicago win the Cup in either 2010 or 2013, and he also coached Spokane (Washington) of the Western Hockey League for three seasons.

"This is a guy that knows coaching," Francis said.


Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joedyap

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Your top TV picks for this weekend - Aug 29 - Sept 1

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local/Weather Standup- Catching rays. Prairie Dog stretches out at Fort Whyte Centre. Fort Whyte has a Prairie Dog enclosure with aprox. 20 dogs young and old. 060607.
  • A young gosling prepares to eat dandelions on King Edward St Thursday morning-See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 17- bonus - May 24, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


How many wins do you think the Bombers will finish with this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google