ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -The Minnesota Wild picked former NHL coach Kevin Constantine to lead their primary minor league affiliate, the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League.
The Wild made the announcement Tuesday. The 48-year-old Constantine, a native of International Falls, was most recently coaching at the junior level in the Western Hockey League - with the Everett (Wash.) Silvertips for the past four seasons.
He has a 159-153-66 record as an NHL head coach over seven seasons with the San Jose Sharks, Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils. Constantine is the only NHL bench boss who has twice coached No. 8 seeds to playoff series victories over No. 1 seeds. He did it with San Jose against Detroit in 1994 and with Pittsburgh over New Jersey in 1999.
He has a reputation as a fiery, demanding coach whose style has occasionally led players to tune him out, but Constantine said Tuesday in a phone interview that his perspective and philosophy has changed over the more than 1,000 games he's coached throughout his career.
"Maybe 15 years ago, we just went in with a plan and said, 'This is how we're going to do things,"' Constantine said. "Now we'll talk to the top players on the team and the leaders on the team and say, 'How do you want to do this?' and let them be active in that whole process."