John Madden was hired as head coach of the Cleveland Monsters on Aug. 29.
Not familiar with the name, or at least, the hockey version of the name? Madden is a three-time Stanley Cup winner and brings 13 years of NHL playing experience to the table, and will be a valuable asset for the Blue Jackets' young players in Cleveland.
Madden logged 898 regular season games in his career with four different teams (New Jersey, Chicago, Minnesota, Florida) and won the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward in 2000-01.
He makes his Blue Jackets coaching "debut" this week in Traverse City, where he'll serve as head coach for the Columbus side which has won the last two NHL Prospects Tournament titles. His Cleveland assistants, Toby Petersen and Steve McCarthy, will be alongside.
We caught up with Madden to talk about his new job, what he can bring to the table for the defending Calder Cup champions, and more.
CBJ.com: Did you always think you'd end up coaching?
Madden: Absolutely. I think, in the back of my mind, it was always something I was considering. I knew I wanted to do it and that I could do it, so once I was done playing I really started thinking about it more.
CBJ.com: After your playing career ended, you took an assistant coaching job with the Panthers. How did that experience help you as a coach?
Madden: I had a new appreciation for coaching after I took that job, and I kind of (felt bad) for all those hard times I gave my coaches when I was playing. When you're getting up early, putting in the work, doing the video and trying to make everyone better, there's a lot that goes into it. You realize there's a lot of work and I had new appreciation for coaches; I made a few phone calls and told (former coaches) "sorry for giving you a hard time," but I wanted them to know I was grateful for all the support they gave me.
CBJ.com: Getting this job with Cleveland came together rather quickly, didn't it?
Madden: (laughs) It sure did. I was on my way to Michigan when I got the phone call. Some of that had to do with the timeline and how things went down with Jared Bednar heading to Colorado and then this job coming open, it had a trickle-down effect. It all happened in short order with the interview, but it was a good fit for everyone.
CBJ.com: What's the most exciting thing about this job?
Madden: The opportunity. I really feel that I have something to offer all of these young players in the organization. I've been in that situation before, playing in the minors and then going on to an NHL career, so we have a lot in common. My experience with all the games I played in the NHL and the situations you get thrown into and seen, I think I can help with out with their development and becoming pro hockey players.