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NHL: Jonathan Huberdeau is curious to discover Paul Maurice’s style

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SAINT-JEAN, N.-B. – Jonathan Huberdeau is not disappointed that the Florida Panthers have tapped into the old guard by hiring Paul Maurice as head coach.

By contrast, Huberdeau sees similarities between Maurice and the manager who recently helped the team to two consecutive playoff appearances: Joel Quenneville. The latter, however, was fired early last season for his role in the Kyle Beach affair, a decade earlier when he was leading the Chicago Blackhawks.

Quenneville had a solid record in the NHL and Maurice too.

“He has experience and has won a lot,” said Huberdeau, on Saturday between two Memorial Cup bouts. I can’t wait to see the changes he will make. I don’t know his system.

“I’ve heard him speak often and he expresses himself well. I also confronted him during a world championship and he was nice. He wants to win and is passionate about hockey. “

Andrew Brunette inherited the role of head coach after Quenneville’s departure. He held this position for the first time in the NHL.

The Panthers went 51-18-6 under Bruna, but got a little under the door. They were overwhelmed by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the playoffs.

“You need to learn. We had a good team and we thought we would go further,” admitted Huberdeau, who set a record of 115 points in the regular season. Losing in four games, especially against Tampa, is not easy. But we have a good team. We will be back strong next season. “

formative years

Huberdeau is one of many former Sea Dogs players who returned to Saint John during the Memorial Cup presentation these days.

He helped the Sea Dogs win the President’s Trophy twice as QMJHL champions and the Memorial Cup once in 2011.

“It was really special. We have had teams that have accumulated over 50 wins each season. We had fun. We knew we had a good team. We had a good coach in Gerard Gallant, ”said Huberdeau, who ultimately was drafted third overall by the Panthers in 2011.

“Even though we were in junior hockey, he treated us like we were in the professional ranks,” he added. He wanted to help us get to the next level and made us better. Sometimes he could be hard on us and even get angry, but he quickly moved on. “

Huberdeau said he has kept in touch over the years with some of his Sea Dogs teammates, including Nathan Beaulieu, Zack Phillips, Mike Thomas and Stephen MacAulay.

He also noted that he tries to return to Saint John every summer.

“I come to visit my retirement family and friends. It is like my second home to me. I spent some fantastic years of my life there, ”she concluded.

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