The impact of playing with solid veterans on the Finns and Skinns line was not lost on Paul Maurice. (Photo: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE)

An Afternoon With Mo: Part 1


I tend not to do things on “normal people time.” You know, basic things like sleeping and eating. Therefore it was after 2pm today before I got a chance to eat lunch. But for once my shifted body clock came in handy as I was able to catch former Hurricanes’ coach Paul Maurice on SiriusXM radio on Breakaway with Jamie Shalley. No matter how you feel about Coach Mo’s tenure in Raleigh, he had some really insightful analysis and interesting things to say. And frankly he’s a really funny, entertaining and engaging guy. Read along as I share some highlights of the show.

Shalley opened phone lines and I noticed something about the locations of the callers. They were from Seattle, Florida and a guy from Texas who was headed on business trip to North Carolina. While Seattle is close to Vancouver, the calls were coming from those areas that always get labeled as “non-traditional hockey markets!” I was glad that the Sun Belt called in to represent. It is my desire that the term “non-traditional hockey market” will become obsolete in the future.

Maurice had a lot of comments about Jeff Skinner and not surprisingly they were all positive. He talked about how playing with experienced guys like Tuomo Ruutu had helped him develop. He also mentioned the impact of having Erik Cole there to mentor him and younger players. In a related note he talked about the development of young players as related to media scrutiny in areas like Toronto. He relayed how in Jeff Skinner’s Calder winning year, he actually had periods of reduced ice time. In Toronto the media would have analyzed every shift and bombarded him with questions about why his time was reduced. In a market like Carolina it is easier for players to develop when the team is not under a microscope.

Paul Maurice in a lighter moment in a 2011 game against the Florida Panthers. (Photo: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE)

The former coach had a lot of comments on developing young players in general. Areas like Carolina were noted for being easier to give young guys a chance to mature. The main observation about working in younger players was how well Peter Laviotte has done it in Philadelphia this season. He said it’s great when you have such depth that you can slot a young guy in anywhere and protect him a bit. But on the flip side, he said that may make it harder for them to get ice time when so many guys need to be inserted into the lineup.

When asked about Justin Faulk, Paul Maurice said he had been “spectacular in the lineup all year.” He continued and said “as an all-around defenseman he is fantastic.” You can’t get much more complimentary than that.

Other “young guns” like Brandon Sutter were mentioned as well, but Maurice intimated that was not appropriate to consider him one of those young players. Was that an insult? Absolutely not! He made comments about how he was a more mature, veteran player. I cannot recall his exact words as I missed writing them down on the back of an envelope in the Chipotle parking lot (blogging is glamorous!), but it showed that Brandon Sutter is a respected player with experience under his belt.

These are just a few things Maurice shared in this lively and funny interview. He even poked fun at the Seattle caller who complained for quite a long time about the Canucks. (insert 5 minute ramble about them losing and overpaying Kevin Bieksa here.) He said the caller was full of “passion” and then said maybe he was full of anger because he was in Seattle and it was raining.

Maurice said if they played more Led Zeppelin he might come back to do another show. Until then put on some “Houses of the Holy” and come back for Maurice’s comments about power plays, penalty killing and officiating in part 2!

Want to ruminate complain about Paul Maurice’s tenure as a coach? I suggest you try another venue. Did anyone catch the interview? Leave us your impressions! We are on Twitter:@Esbee92, @CardiacCaneFS, @peacelovepuck, @caniac176 and @CaniacCaz. Find us on Facebook at CardiacCane.

Tags: Brandon Sutter Breakaway Erik Cole Featured Jamie Shalley Jeff Skinner Jeff Skinner Calder Justin Faulk Media Scrutiny Non-traditional Hockey Market Paul Maurice Peter Laviolette Philadelphia Flyers Player Development Popular Sun Belt Teams Toronto Tuomo Ruutu XM Home Ice