On Thursday morning, the Florida Panthers introduced Paul Maurice as the 18th head coach in franchise history.
The next day, he spoke with Florida Hockey Now on a variety of topics including putting a new coaching staff together — and his hope that Andrew Brunette sticks around after being the team’s interim head coach last season.
“I think we will work very well together,” Maurice said.
Maurice also talked about how the Panthers’ current salary cap situation is going to mean some “decisions have to made” and said he embraces the high expectations around this team.
Last season, the Panthers set a franchise record by amassing 122 points — the most in the NHL.
They also led the league in scoring but the season ended with a thud as Florida was swept out of the second round by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Maurice, who has been an NHL coach since he was promoted by the Hartford Whalers in 1995, says he does not want to change the way the Panthers play the game but they need to realize the way they play in the regular season should be how they play in the postseason.
First off, congratulations on the new job. Could you describe your excitement level for coming to the Panthers?
After you spend some time in the league, you start to understand the importance of style and fit in coaching. The fit has to be with management and ownership. When I stepped back from the game, I kind of made myself a deal that I was going to only ever consider going back if all the pieces were there.
I want to enjoy my job and I want to enjoy my life. In order for that to happen, you have got to be in a place where your family can thrive, where you have a team that has a chance to win.