Payne Lands Job with LA Kings
Earlier this week we reported an announcement on where former St. Louis Blues Head Coach Davis Payne will be employed this season was imminent.
Sources confirm Payne will be joining the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings as an assistant coach under Darryl Sutter.
Two weeks ago Payne visited with Sutter in Viking, Alberta to discuss the possibility of joining the Kings which lead to the 42 year-old being hired.
It's been a long several months for Payne who was fired after just 13 games with the Blues last November. The Blues went on to have one of the best seasons in franchise history under Ken Hitchcock. Payne spent the duration of the season working as a pro scout with the organization.
Payne replaced Andy Murray midway through the 2009-2010 season and led the club to a 23-15-4 record which earned him a two-year extension under GM Doug Armstrong. He followed up that season with a 38-33-11 record in is only full season behind an NHL bench. The Blues got off to a 6-7 record last season before Hitchcock took over.
Payne has an ECHL championship on his resume going back to 2005-2006 with the Alaska Aces. He lost in ECHL finals a year later before climbing the ladder with the organization. He joined the Peoria Rivermen in 2007 where he would eventually become the Head Coach of the Blues AHL affiliate.
His ascension to the NHL was rather fast as he reached the highest level with only 115 games of AHL head coaching experience under his belt. He immediately became one of the youngest Head Coach's in the NHL.
Payne showed interest in a number of AHL and NHL openings this summer and to say his patience was tested would be an understatement. He was a finalist for a number of jobs and landing back in the NHL was the best case scenario for him and his family. If anything, he needs NHL experience behind the bench as he continues to round out as a hockey coach. I'm not sure re-routing back to the AHL would have given him the best opportunity he needs to improve. He has plenty of AHL experience, working with NHL players and the personalities that come with it will allow him to evolve towards earning another Head Coaching opportunity in the future.
From a technical standpoint Payne is there. He's understands the game and is a smart hockey man with a lot to offer to an NHL club. Learning how to deal with individual personalities is just as important as devising a power play or penalty kill scheme that works. There's a lot asked of an NHL coach than most realize and coaching three periods on a Saturday night is just a part of it. It anything he'll be better and more prepared the next go around because of the experience he had with the Blues.
I always enjoyed talking hockey with Payne. He has a unique way of seeing the game and certainly has his own style in how he communicates his way of thinking.
Sutter has been around the NHL for a long time and obviously sees something he likes. Payne will truly benefit from working with an established NHL coach with the level of experience Sutter brings to the table.
Payne couldn't ask for a better situation to walk into. He's inheriting a Stanley Cup winning club with all the ingredients to repeat next season. He'll be replacing former Blues video coach Jamie Kompon who's been hired by Joel Quenneville and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Best of luck to Davis as he continues to move forward in his coaching career.
More to come,