With a new general manager [Brian MacLellan] and a new coach [Barry Trotz] the next step in the Capitals’ front office rebuild will be the hiring of a new head coach for the AHL Hershey Bears and new assistants for the Capitals and Bears.
Among the top candidates for those positions are former Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel, former Florida Panthers head coach Peter Horachek, Nashville Predators assistant coach Lane Lambert, Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach Dave Farrish, Syracuse Crunch head coach Rob Zettler, former Team Canada assistant coach Doug Shedde and former Canucks assistant coach Mike Sullivan.
Over the past several days we have profiled each candidate. Today: Mike Sullivan
Hometown: Marshfield, Mass.
NHL head coaching record [Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks]: 72-60-23 with 15 ties
Current position: Former assistant coach, Vancouver Canucks
Barry Trotz connection: None.
Coaching experience: After retiring as a player in 2002, Sullivan jumped right into coaching as the head coach of the Bruins’ AHL affiliate Providence Bruins and led them to a 41-17-9-4 record in his only season. The Bruins hired him as their head coach in 2003 and Sullivan was just as successful at the NHL level, winning the Northeast Division with a 41-19-15-7 record and 104 points. The Bruins were upset by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the 2004 playoffs and when they failed to make the playoffs in their first year after the lockout with a 29-37-16 record, Sullivan was fired by new Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and replaced by Dave Lewis. Sullivan served as an assistant coach on the 2006 U.S. Olympic team and as head coach of the U.S. national team at the 2007 World Championships in Russia. In 2007 was hired by John Tortorella as an assistant coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning and when Tortorella was fired by the Lightning and hired by the New York Rangers, Sullivan joined his staff in 2009. He remained with the Rangers until Tortorella was fired last year, and was hired again by Tortorella as an assistant coach in Vancouver, where he spent just one season before getting fired along with Tortorella on May 1.
Playing experience: Taken 69th overall by the Rangers in the 1987 NHL entry draft, Sullivan went on to play 10 NHL seasons from 1990-2002. A checking-line center, Sullivan played in 709 games for the San Jose Sharks [1991-94], Calgary Flames [1993-97], Boston Bruins [1997-98] and Phoenix Coyotes [1998-2002], recording 54 goals and 82 assists for 136 points and 203 penalty minutes. He also played in 34 Stanley Cup playoff games but never made it out of the first round.
Quirky facts: While defenseman Roman Hamrlik was with the Rangers last spring he said Tortorella and Sullivan ran practices like a “boot camp” and did not allow players to smile on the ice. Sullivan also had a minor incident with a Caps fan during Game 2 of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs when a fan in the front row tossed some beer on him during a timeout.
RELATED: [Shedden could add experience to Caps' staff]