Allison and Allen join Anderson in Chicago

According to a Chris Kuc, John Anderson will be joined by former Peoria Rivermen head coach Dave Allison and former Rivermen assistant Scott Allen behind the Wolves bench.

Allison, who spent one season as the Rivermen bench boss before the team lost its affiliation with the Blues, will be back with the prospect group that he coached last season. With a knowledge of the players he’s about to be coaching, Allison will be a huge asset for Anderson, who hasn’t coached in the AHL since his Calder Cup winning season in 2007-08.

Allen, an assistant to Allison last season, will also join his former boss in Chicago. As a group, Allen helped Allison coach the Rivermen to a 33-35-0-8 record last season. A disappointing season for the Rivermen, the Blues franchise looks to turn around their minor league product with Anderson behind the bench.

The terms of the deals were not reported by Kuc, but this story will be updated if/when that information becomes available.


Report: Cassidy to take reins in Rochester

Late last night, Kevin Oklobzija reported that Chadd Cassidy will take over as bench boss for the Rochester Americans.

Cassidy, who was named the interim head coach of the Amerks after Ron Rolston got the call to head the Sabres, could have the interim tag removed and be announced as the big boss as soon as today.

From Oklobzija’s story:

So you can expect the Sabres to give Cassidy the coaching reins for their prospects, maybe as early as Friday. Chris Taylor should again be his assistant coach while Bob Janosz guides development of the fairly large stable of goalies (Matt Hackett, Connor Knapp, Nathan Lieuewn, Andrey Makarov and maybe even Linus Ullmark).

If they were going to hire someone else, that somebody very likely would have been at the development camp. If you’re going to grow as one into a Stanley Cup contender — in three years or five years — then you want everyone together from the very beginning.

There’s a ton of information in Oklobzija’s piece, and he’s been doing tremendous work this offseason. Give him a follow on Twitter @KevinODandC

Green appointed Comets head coach

Almost a month to the day after unveiling the team in Utica, the AHL’s Comets have found their bench boss.

Travis Green, a former NHL centre, has been named the head coach of the AHL’s newest franchise.

Green, who spent last season at the helm of the WHL’s Portland Winter Hawks, joins the Comets after coaching the team to an Ed Chynoweth Cup as league champions. After Winter Hawks head coach and GM Mike Johnston was suspended due to sanctions against the team for undisclosed player benefits, Green took the reins.

Though the team lost in the Memorial Cup Final to 2013 first-overall pick Nathan MacKinnon and partner in crime Jonathan Drouin, Green’s ability to take the team from turmoil to league champions is a testament to his ability to lead a young hockey club.

Selected 23rd overall in the 1989 NHL entry draft, Green played 1,206 NHL games, racking up 203 goals and 273 assists.


Anderson back as Wolves bench boss

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Wolves are expected to announce the rehiring of John Anderson.

Anderson, who spent a decade with the Wolves from 1997-98 to 2007-08, won four championships over that time. While in the IHL, Anderson coached the Wolves to two Turner Cups, one in his first season behind the bench, and another two years later in 1999-00. In their final season in the IHL — before the league was absorbed by the AHL — the Wolves made another appearance in the Turner Cup finals, but lost in five games to the Orlando Solar Bears.

In the first season as an AHL team, Anderson coached the Wolves to a Calder Cup, and would patrol the bench for two more finals appearances, winning a second Calder Cup in 2007-08. After his second league title, Anderson was given a shot at coaching in the big leagues, where he took over as Atlanta Thrashers head coach. In two full 82 game seasons behind the Thrashers bench, Anderson coached the team to 70 wins, but failed to make the playoffs either season, and was subsequently let go.

He returned as an NHL assistant with the Phoenix Coyotes during the 2011-12 and ’12-’13 seasons, but has left his post with the Coyotes to pursue another run with the Wolves.

After just two playoff wins over the last two years, Anderson, who only missed the playoffs once while in Chicago and has never lost earlier than the second round while at the dance, looks to bring the Wolves back to their dominant glory. Once the talk of the town, the Wolves will now look to get back in the winner circle and enjoy some of the glory that the other team in Chicago has seen in recent years.


IceHogs peg Osiecki for assistant job

Former International Hockey League defenceman and Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Mark Osiecki is headed to Rockford.

The Blackhawks announced on Tuesday that they had hired Osiecki on as an assistant coach with their farm club, the Rockford IceHogs.

Osiecki comes to Rockford after a three-year tenure as the head coach of the men’s hockey program at Ohio State. During his time in the Buckeye State as a head coach, Osiecki coached the team to a 30-33-9 record. His previous experience behind the bench came at the University of Wisconsin as an assistant to longtime  coach Mike Eaves, where he helped guide the team to a National Championship in 2006.

As for minor league experience, Osiecki played four games in the AHL with the New Haven Senators in 1992-93 and another 104 contests in the IHL before it amalgamated with the ‘A’. During his time in the minors, Osiecki had five goals and 17 assists.

In his career, Osiecki suited up for 93 NHL contests, and would score three goals and add 11 assists. His playing career ended in 1994-95 as a member of the Manitoba Moose.

Shortly after hanging up the skates, Osiecki landed with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers, where he would coach and manage the team for seven seasons, winning a Clark Cup as league champions in 2000.

Spott speaks about Marlies gig

Steve Spott is already getting his first tastes of the Toronto media.

Yesterday afternoon the newly appointed Marlies head coach joined Brian Hayes and Jeff O’Neill on TSN 1050’s Leafs Lunch to talk about leaving the Kitchener Rangers, joining the Maple Leafs organization, and much more.

On leaving his GM/head coaching duties behind:

It’s not easy when you have to move. The situation here, in Kitchener, is one that it really is a community governed hockey club and everywhere you go in the city it’s a special place to be. It’s very much like an NCAA environment as you guys alluded to where the coach of the team… very rarely does he have to pay for a cup of coffee. So, it’s a neat place. To leave here now is bittersweet, but having the opportunity with Dave Nonis, Dave Poulin, Claude Loiselle, Jim Hughes, you can tell that the organization is in great standing in Toronto, and I’m just excited for the plan that they have for the Marlies.

On his style, and whether he’ll have to adjust

I think you do. Fortunately for me . . . I know some of the kids that are there, so I’ll definitely take time over the next couple of weeks to get in touch with those guys. I’ll talk to Dallas today to try and get information on what makes those guys tick. Ultimately, I think talking to Dave and Dave, they want to get a little bit younger with the Marlies now and make it a pure development team, and you may not see as many of the American Hockey League veterans as you’ve seen in Toronto in the past.

You can listen to the full interview on the TSN 1050 website here.

Spott named Marlies bench boss

Steve Spott is making the jump from the juniors to the AHL.

Spott, 45, has spent the last ten seasons behind the bench of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers, but will be leaving to fill the hole left by Dallas Eakins. Eakins, long said to be an NHL coach in waiting, left the Marlies earlier this off-season to fill the  head coaching position for the Edmonton Oilers.

The news was confirmed earlier today by TSN’s Darren Dreger, and Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported that Spott had previously met with Maple Leafs brass in New Jersey during the draft weekend.

Spott steps down from his post as both head coach and general manager of the Kitchener Rangers, where he lead the team to a two conference finals appearances, and won one OHL Championship as an assistant coach. Spott also coached Team Canada in the 2013 IIHF World U20 Championship, where his Canadian squad was undefeated in the round robin before losing the bronze medal game to Russia.