Mike Haviland, who won a Stanley Cup as an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks two years ago, has emerged as the most recent, and perhaps leading, candidate for the Capitals vacant head coaching job, CSNwashington.com has learned.
Haviland, 44, is believed to have interviewed for the job with Capitals general manager George McPhee but has not been offered the job. McPhee is expected to continue to meet with candidates through the NHL draft, which will take place Friday and Saturday in Pittsburgh.
Jon Cooper, who is coming off a Calder Cup victory with the Norfolk Admirals, is expected to meet with McPhee this weekend to discuss the Capitals head coaching vacancy.
Haviland has spent the past three seasons as Joel Quennevilles assistant coach in Chicago, but was fired by the organization on May 8 following the Blackhawks disappointing first-round elimination by the Phoenix Coyotes.
At the time of Havilands firing, Quenneville said there was dysfunction within the teams coaching staff. Haviland has not commented publicly since the firing.
Hes a good guy, a down-to-earth guy, said Capitals right wing Troy Brouwer, a former Blackhawk who played three seasons under Haviland. Hes more of a players coach but has a stern side to him. Hes a guy that everyone I played with respected. He could fit in with the Capitals very nicely.
Haviland, who is from Middletown, N.J., won East Coast Hockey League titles as head coach of the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2003 and the Trenton Titans in 2005 and was named AHL Coach of the Year in 2007 when he guided the Norfolk Admirals to a 50-win season.
In seven years as a coach in the minor leagues, Havilands teams never missed the playoffs and he posted a winning percentage of .600 or better in six of those seasons. He also aided the development of future NHLers Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Dustin Byfuglien, Dave Bolland, Adam Burish and Brouwer.
Haviland was responsible for the Blackhawks special teams play and defensive schemes and was considered one of the finalists for the Winnipeg Jets head coaching job last summer. Washington would prove to be a better fit, at least logistically, since Havilands wife and three children live year-round in their home in Sea Girt, N.J.