Cam Russell concedes that only time will tell how his new role with the Halifax Mooseheads will work out.
Russell learned yesterday he is out as head coach of the Mooseheads but remains the club’s general manager. He’ll also serve as an assistant coach to majority owner Bobby Smith after taking a couple days away from the team as the changeover occurs.
“I won’t know if it will be difficult or easy until I get into it,” Russell said after learning he was removed as coach by Smith, who is taking his place.
“(But) I’m giving it a shot. My priority is to help the players develop and see the organization succeed.”
Russell was hired as head coach prior to the 2006-07 season and led the team to a 42-28 record in his second year. But the previous two seasons — sporting lineups thin on talent — the team struggled and missed the playoffs.
This year expectations were higher in part because several talented rookies were added to the lineup. But Halifax has just four wins in 14 starts, and Smith made a move.
“(The record) isn’t so much the issue. It’s more the way we were playing and the inability to win some games,” said Smith, who will make his coaching debut tonight as the Mooseheads host the Bathurst Titan at 7 p.m.
Russell said he was “totally caught off guard” by the decision but that he accepts it.
“I’m surprised, obviously, but that’s hockey,” he said. “It’s a game based on results and if the results aren’t there, changes need to be made.”
Russell has a role: Smith
Bobby Smith doesn’t think his relationship with Cam Russell is jeopardized by his decision yesterday to replace him as head coach.
“I think he understands the business,” Smith said. “I like Cam a lot. I have a lot of respect for him. I think he’s the type of guy who can stay and be a major contributor. If I didn’t think that, I wouldn’t have kept him.”
Smith plans to stick around
Bobby Smith says he’s in it for the long haul as head coach of the Halifax Mooseheads.
“There are no plans for this to be this season only,” he said. “There are no plans for, ‘Hey, we’re taking resumés.’ I plan on doing this for a while.”
Smith said he’s taken up full-time residence in Halifax.
Ex-Habs have new thing in common
Bobby Smith is now the latest owner to be head coach of a QMJHL club, joining Patrick Roy of the Quebec Remparts.
“I have played for the best junior coach in the history of the game (Brian Kilrea). I’ve played for some excellent coaches in the NHL,” said Smith, who comes in as a rookie coach, as Roy did. “I feel I’m well situated to bring the knowledge that these guys need to the game.”
Team Q will be Herd-free
The Halifax Mooseheads were shut out as the rosters were announced yesterday for Team QMJHL, which is facing off next month against Team Russia in the 2010 Super Subway Series.
The series opens Nov. 8 in Saint John and continues Nov. 10 in Drummondville.