Everett Silvertips general manager Garry Davidson joined “The Fish” Jeff Aaron Monday afternoon on KRKO 1380-AM.
Calling in from Calgary where he is preparing for Thursday’s bantam draft, Davidson didn’t vary much from what he told the Herald two weeks ago when head coach Kevin Constantine’s contract wasn’t renewed.
Davidson acknowledged that Constantine’s win-loss record was excellent, particularly this past season when the team tallied 100 standings points for the second time in franchise history, while its 44 wins were the third-most in team history.
“It’s my job to look at the overall program and I just believe there are certain aspects we need to improve upon and I don’t believe Kevin was going to be able to deliver in those areas for us,” Davidson told The Fish. “He and I have a much different philosophy and again I knew that going in, but I thought we might grow together a little bit, but in the end that didn’t happen. I think for us to take our group and our organization to another level we had to look at making a change.”
Davidson commended Constantine’s coaching acumen in achieving defensive success, but said “the other (offensive) side of the game was lacking.”
“Our lack of skill development, and the use of the offensive game has not been what it needs to be,” Davidson said. “We certainly want to continue to do the positive things that Kevin brought to the organization on the one side of the puck, but we have to look at figuring out how to score more than two goals or three goals a night… We gotta try to figure out how to get some more pucks in the net, and also our young players who come here are looking to develop a well-rounded game, and I think for them to move on and play at the next level the skill part and the offensive part of the game have to be developed.”
Later Davidson doubled down on the player development issue:
“There is more to winning than just winning in the win-loss column,” he said. “I go back to the aspect of trying to grow and develop our players and make them more (well-)rounded hockey players. And again, I think we came up short in those areas, and those are things that people in the stands maybe don’t see and appreciate.”
Everett is a prime WHL head-coaching job and Davidson has received dozens of inquiries and applications. He said that head-coaching experience – though not necessarily in the NHL – is his main criterion.
Davidson again expressed great interest in retaining assistant coach Mitch Love, an original Silvertip defenseman who played for Constantine in the AHL and has run the Everett defense the past four-plus seasons. Love will be in Calgary this week to experience the draft first-hand.
“I think Mitch has really grown as a person and a coach in the last five or six years that I’ve had a chance to work with him,” Davidson said. “I’m hoping that we can keep Mitch involved here. I certainly have got his resume and he’s in the mix there, but at the least I would really like to see Mitch back in his present position, and we’ve had minor discussions about that.”
Love is a 14-year fan favorite whose name has been bandied about among fans and media members as a potential future WHL head coach. He’s been involved in coaching with Hockey Canada the past two seasons, but he’s never been a head coach.
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