Q&A with Carolina's Paul Maurice
The Carolina Hurricanes changed coaches in mid-season, returning
Now, a coach being brought back isn't unheard of, but Maurice's situation is unique in that he went from an emerging market in Raleigh to the center of the hockey world's media focus in Toronto. Add in the fact that he took his edition of the 'Canes to the 2002 Stanley Cup Final only to lose to the Detroit Red Wings. Now Maurice takes over a team that won the Cup in 2006, yet hasn't made it back to the postseason in two subsequent campaigns.
Interestingly, Maurice is trying to spur the Hurricanes with the fact that no team has ever missed the playoffs three successive years following a championship. With the Washington Capitals racing out to a big lead in the Southeast Division as the NHL moves towards the mid-point of the season, the 'Canes might be in a battle with the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers for the eighth and final playoff spot the rest of the way.
Against that backdrop, I had a chance to catch up with Maurice and get his input on his odyssey from Raleigh to Toronto and back again.