Earlier this week, the Winnipeg coaching derby was down to Manitoba Moose head coach Claude Noel, former interim coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, or Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland.
Pretty predictable, this one: Haviland was GM Kevin Cheveldayoff's guy in Chicago, Noel worked under True North Sports and Entertainment, which owned and operated the Moose before buying and relocating the Thrashers.
So the general manager liked one guy, and the guys who sign his checks were familiar with the other guy. And look who got the gig!
Noel's a coach with some fans around the NHL, and someone that many felt should have kept the gig in Columbus before it went to Scott Arniel. In fact, Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero told the Columbus Dispatch that Noel would have been on his short list to replace Dan Bylsma had Bylsma not worked out as an interim coach in 2009:
"Claude is smart, competitive and communicates well with players," Shero said. "He's also very good at changing things tactically during a game."
And now he's the man in the 'Peg.