GLENDALE – The Coyotes made a splash this off-season when they added center Mike Ribeiro to the mix to help the team score more goals and to improve the production of the power-play unit.
But they also addressed helping the offense by adding Assistant Coach Newell Brown to the staff during the recent Prospect Development Camp.
“His primary focus will be our power play and creating more offensive opportunities in our games,” Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said in a news release announcing Brown's hiring. “With Assistant Coach John Anderson not returning, we have found an excellent replacement.”
Brown comes to the Coyotes after a three-year stint as assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks. There he helped the Canucks reach the playoffs in all three seasons and helped run a power-play attack that ranked first in the League in 2010-11 (24.3 percent) and fourth in 2011-12 (19.8 percent).
“He’s a real hard worker and he spends a lot of time on the job,” Coyotes Development Coach Dave King said of Brown, whom he recommended to Maloney and Head Coach Dave Tippett after it became clear that Anderson, who recently was hired to be head coach of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, would not be returning to the Coyotes. “He’s the type of guy that on the morning after a tough loss he will come into the coach’s room with a solution.”
King and Brown have known each other for decades. King coached Brown on Team Canada in 1985-86 and Brown was team captain under King. Their relationship continued as King hired Brown to be an assistant coach when King took over as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2000-01.
King wanted Brown on that expansion team’s staff for many reasons, one of which was that he felt Brown related well with the players and that type of coach would be helpful in a season that featured more defeats than victories.
“He’s so upbeat and positive, the players like to talk to him and are willing to approach him with their thoughts and ideas,” King said.
Brown knows the NHL’s Western Conference very well. In addition to coaching in Vancouver the past three seasons, he also has served as an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks.
He said he’s eager to join Tippett’s staff.
“They’re a very well-coached team and there is a lot for me to learn here,” Brown said. “It’s a great coaching staff and I’m looking forward to working with the guys here; they have great reputations. I think they’ve done a fantastic job through some difficult times with the NHL owning the team… They’ve done a fantastic job of holding things together. I’m just looking forward to helping out in a any way I can.”
Tippett will look to Brown to help in many areas, but his focus, as Maloney noted in the release announcing his hiring, will be the power play. The Coyotes ranked 25th in the League last season at 14.8 percent.
“You start with the personnel that you have and work around them and work to their strengths,” Brown said about his power-play coaching philosophy. “A lot of it has to do with shooting (and) making sure you can get your shots.”
He added that work ethic is another key to a successful power play and that it takes time for the players on the power play to develop chemistry.
King said if the Coyotes players can match Brown’s work ethic, things would go well.
“He grew up in a family of boys that worked on a dairy farm in Ontario so he brings with him a real solid work ethic,” King said. “I think that’s very important in coaching. He’s got a real good base of knowledge but he also has that work ethic that I think will fit in nicely here with ‘Tip’ and Jim Playfair and Sean Burke and our whole staff.”
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