Afternoon update: Brent Burns has confirmed he's heading to the World Championships with Team Canada. The tournament will take place in Germany from May 7-23. Burns was named the "Best Defenseman" of the 2008 World Championships.
The Wild is expected to announce this afternoon that Kevin Constantine won’t be back as the Houston Aeros’ coach.
Constantine, 51, coached the Wild’s American Hockey League affiliate for three seasons, leading them to a 117-94-29 record. Last season Constantine guided them to the Western Conference Finals, but this year, the Aeros went 34-34-12 – last in the Western Conference’s West Division.
The Aeros of course were affected greatly by the Wild’s injuries. There was a revolving door of callups all year.
The process for a new coach will begin immediately. It’s likely the timeline would be to have somebody in place by the Draft in late June.
Aeros GM Jim Mill is a former longtime executive of the AHL, so he knows a lot of people. I’m sure he’s got a list going, and you know there will be other coaches who suddenly become available over the next several weeks.
The Wild wants to find a coach that coaches a system closer in style to Todd Richards. This is a grasp out of thin air, but if Claude Noel isn’t named the head coach in Columbus, would he consider Houston or would the Wild consider him? Noel coached Milwaukee for a long time and mentored Richards when Todd was Claude’s assistant.
Again, that’s total speculation, and who knows if Noel would even be interested in returning to the AHL if things don’t work out for him in Columbus. You can bet there are several candidates.
The new Aeros coach will have the opportunity to hire his own assistants, and you can bet local boy Troy Ward will be a candidate for the main job.
As for Constantine, a native of International Falls, he’s coached at every level, including the NHL with stops in San Jose, Pittsburgh and New Jersey. In my dealings with Constantine during training camp or occasionally during Houston's seasons, I grew to respect him greatly. He's a real smart coach and he'll be back, whether it be in the NHL, AHL or juniors.
Also, if you didn't read the below blog, check it out. The Wild will announce soon all of it's surgeries, but Mikko Koivu will undergo knee surgery Friday. He's making it sound like it's minor.