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Paul Maurice likes Tom Rowe's approach

Jets coach, who worked three seasons with new Panthers coach, lauds his defensive knowledge, passion behind bench

by Patrick Williams / Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice has long-standing ties with new Florida Panthers coach Tom Rowe, and offered plenty of praise on Tuesday.

Rowe will be Panthers coach for the rest of the season, replacing Gerard Gallant. Rowe, who will retain his title as Florida general manager but will focus on coaching, makes his NHL coaching debut on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, CSN-CH, NHL.TV).

Maurice and Rowe have a long history together, dating to their time with the Carolina Hurricanes. Rowe was an assistant coach on Maurice's staff for parts of three seasons with the Hurricanes between 2008 and 2011. Rowe also was coach of Albany, Carolina's American Hockey League affiliate, during Maurice's first stint as Hurricanes coach.

"Tom, with us, was a really detailed guy, a really strong defensive background," Maurice said. "He played as a forward but he ran the back end [as a coach].

"[He] is very clear in what he would want. Black-and-white might not be accurate, but very defined, and would have no problem holding the players accountable for that. He would be very strong directionally."

Video: NHL Now: 5 Minute Major - Panthers make a change

Maurice and Rowe also coached in the Kontinental Hockey League in 2012-13, the only two North American coaches in the league that season. Maurice coached Metallurg Magnitogorsk, and Rowe was with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

"We crossed paths once and told lots of funny stories of our experiences," Maurice said.

Maurice often has credited his KHL experience with making him a better coach for his return to the NHL with the Jets in January 2014. He cited Rowe as a factor in helping him to understand the adjustments to the North American game that Europe-trained players encounter.

"He had a really big impact on understanding that the game is played well differently in different parts of the world," Maurice said.

"I think what it really says though, that Tom is like me -- I know he was the general manager -- and in so many ways a lifer coach. There was an area to get better and to do something, and he was more than willing to travel to the other side of the world to do it.

"He has a great passion for coaching."

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