Sabres to hire Kevin Dineen to guide Portland
Buffalo’s about to inject a bit of the Whale into their organization (Apparently, Nolan Pratt just wasn’t cutting it.) The Sabres will announce tomorrow that they have hired former Hartford Whaler, and former Portland Pirates Head Coach Kevin Dineen to guide their new AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates.
A news conference has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday in Portland, where the announcement is expected to be made. Dineen has been the top candidate since July 24, when former Rochester Americans coach Randy Cunneyworth left the organization to become an assistant coach with the Atlanta Thrashers.
It never really seemed like Cunneyworth ever really wanted to take the job in Portland. That said, they brought Dineen back to Portland, where his contract had just expired.
It does seem a bit out of the ordinary for the Sabres to bring in someone who wasn’t a former Sabre to join the coaching staff (Lindy Ruff, Mike Ramsey, Randy Cunneyworth, etc.), but from the looks of it, this is one hell of a hire.
It’s probably a good choice bringing in a guy who has been referred to as “John Wayne on skates.”
There was always something mythical about Kevin Dineen, his ability to rise to the biggest occasions, his refusal to give up on any dire situation, slight of stature with an immeasurable heart. For as magical as the drive around Robinson was, it was an even more mystical moment eleven years later when, of all the players who had worn the Whaler uniform, countless hall of famers among them, it was Kevin Dineen who scored the final goal in Whalers history.
When you mention the Whalers two names quickly jump to the fore. Ron Francis. Kevin Dineen.
Almost inseparable in Whalers history. Francis was the greatest Whaler of them all, Dineen was here to the bitter end. It was probably preordained that when he retired as a player Dineen was destined for coaching. Hockey is in his genes, coaching is in his bloodline.
Seems like just the kind of guy you want making an impression on the future Sabres.