Multiple sources have indicated to FTT that Holy Cross’ Paul Pearl is the new frontrunner in the search to replace Toot Cahoon. I’m unable to confirm if the job has been offered to him yet, but it appears that’s where things are headed. Assuming UMass doesn’t get “Umiliated” again and he were to actually accept, he could be announced as head coach before the end of the week. Matt Vautour had a blog post addressing the Pearl rumors, in it mentioning that the usually accurate BC Hockey Blog has also stated Pearl is the focus of the search.
I wasn’t exactly enthused at the prospect of Quinnipiac’s Rand Pecknold being named the new UMass coach. I would say I’m less so about Paul Pearl. Pearl of course is remembered for bringing his Crusaders to the NCAA tournament in 2006 and beating #1 seed Minnesota in probably the biggest upset in tournament history. That moment is certainly a feather in his cap. My concern is what Holy Cross has done since. From the season after their big win over the Gophers to this past season Pearl’s record is 82-109-32. That’s a .439 win percentage and 27 games below .500. In those six years the Crusaders have finished 6th, 9th, 9th, 7th, 7th, 3rd, and 3rd in the ten team Atlantic Hockey. If there’s one positive it’s that Pearl and his Crusaders has gone .500 against Hockey East teams, picking up wins against Northeastern and Merrimack in the past two years. But overall, I don’t see anything on his resume that tells me he can turn UMass into a winner in Hockey East. I certainly don’t see anything that tells me he can do any better at UMass than Cahoon did and we know that a good amount of the fans were unhappy with the recent results under him.
Pearl is a highly regarded coach and with good reason. He has been at the reigns of his alma mater for 17 years and given Holy Cross fans some memorable wins, two Atlantic Hockey crowns, and two tournament appearances. But I don’t think he’s what UMass needs. He’s a nice safe pick with plenty of head coaching experience. But safe picks aren’t going to get UMass out of the 7th place rut in Hockey East. Safe picks are not going to give the Minutemen the chance to bust through the glass ceiling in the league and directly compete with BC, BU, UNH, and Maine. The program needs someone dynamic and energetic who has experience recruiting top notch talent, preferably to a school in the same position as UMass. So far it seems like those type of candidates haven’t made it onto John McCutcheon’s list which to me is a huge disappointment. No matter who is named coach I’ll support him and hope for the best, but I’d feel a lot better with a candidate with whom I could expect the best instead of just hope.
The Canucks have extensive coverage of their Development Camp which just wrapped up. It’s an interesting read if you want to see what Conor Allen has been up to for the past week.
FTT reader “Lil Bit Special” passed along that the scrimmage from Islanders camp featuring Kevin Boyle, Mike Pereira, Oleg Yevenko, and K.J. Tiefenwerth is available online.
Happy Birthday America! U! S! A! U! S! A!