The Rangers filled out their coaching staff today with the announcement that former Florida Panthers assistant coach Mike Pelino will join New York to fill the third and final assistant position to head coach Tom Renney. The move re-unites Renney with his former assistant from the Canadian National team, and brings to the Rangers another respected staff member who has a record of success and many different levels.
As a member of Mike Keenan’s staff in Florida, Pelino was let go when the Panthers head coach was let go early last season. A former college head coach in Canada, Pelino has also been an assistant in the WHL with the Spokane Chiefs and has been both a head coach and assistant with the Canadian National team, capturing 11 gold medals, including at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
There had been some previous speculation that Hartford head coach Ryan McGill, or his assistant Nick Fotiu might have been added to the NHL staff, but it appears that with the CBA uncertainty the Rangers have elected to go with the status quo in Hartford after a fairly successful second season under the coaching duo.
Perhaps not as well known as some candidates, the selection of Pelino suggests that Tom Renney has more control over his staff than previous head coaches under Glen Sather. Despite being let go by the Panthers, Pelino remains well liked and respected within the Panthers organization and as a tactical specialist, will help install any system that Renney plans on implementing this Fall.