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Kitchen Enthused With New Role

Monday, 08.13.2007 / 6:00 PM ET / News
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Kitchen Enthused With New Role
Mike Kitchen (Getty Images)
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com


Mike Kitchen isn’t holding back his enthusiasm when discussing the Panthers.

“I’m excited,” said Kitchen, the former head coach of the St. Louis Blues who was named Monday the Panthers’ assistant coach by GM and coach Jacques Martin.

“Florida is a good, young team and they’ve been right there the past couple years. They’re just on the edge of breaking out, and I think that’s going to be this year.”

Kitchen, a defensemen for eight seasons in the NHL and who has coached all-stars Chris Pronger and Al MacInnis, will work primarily with Panther defensemen. It’s a job he’s anxious to start.

“I think you start with (Tomas) Vokoun,” Kitchen said. “Any team that has success in the playoffs has a workhorse in goal and I think Tomas is a top goalie. Then, on the blue line, you look at (Jay) Bouwmeester. He’s coming off a real, solid year. He reminds me of a young Chris Pronger. I’m not comparing (Bouwmeester) to him but he’s just going to be a guy who gets better and who always wants to be the best on the ice every shift, every game.

“Bryan Allen has really started to come into his own. (Ruslan) Salei is a veteran. I coached Mike Van Ryn in St. Louis, and he has a great set of wheels and great mobility.”

Kitchen, who played for the New Jersey Devils (1982-84) and Colorado Rockies (1976-81), comes to the Panthers after having spent his 18 previous seasons in coaching with only two other organizations. He was an assistant coach with the Maple Leafs from 1990-98 before heading to St. Louis, where he served as an assistant coach from 1998-2004 before becoming head coach on Feb. 24, 2004.

“I guess in this sport, with it being so volatile, to spend nine years in Toronto and nine in St. Louis is something that doesn’t always happen,” he said. “I’m just happy it’s something that’s worked out for my family.”

Kitchen and Martin have never worked together, but both have respect for each other.

“The fact he’s been with only two organizations in 18 years speaks very highly of his character,” Martin said. “He’s worked under a number of head coaches in Toronto, including Doug Carpenter, Tom Watt, Pat Burns and Mike Murphy. He worked with Joel Quenneville in St. Louis. The fact he played defense was a positive because I wanted someone to coach who had played the position. He can be more of a mentor to our young defensemen.

“Another aspect in hiring Mike was his upbeat personality. I think he can be a nice bridge between myself and the players.”

When asked about hiring someone he hadn’t worked with before, Martin replied; “I think it’s good sometimes to get someone with new ideas, fresh ideas. I also think he’ll be a good fit with (assistant coach) Guy (Charron).”

Born in Schomberg, Ont., approximately 40 minutes north of Toronto, Kitchen started playing hockey when he was five along with brothers Bill and Keith. He won the Memorial Cup in 1975 with the Toronto Marlboros and was the 38th overall selection in the 1976 Entry Draft by the Kansas City Scouts, who that summer moved to Colorado.

Kitchen eventually played in 474 NHL games. His brother Bill played with Montreal and Toronto while his brother Keith was drafted by Peterborough before an injury shortened his career.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 79 15 39 10 54
J. Jokinen 81 8 36 -2 44
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
A. Ekblad 81 12 27 12 39
B. Boyes 78 14 24 11 38
A. Barkov 71 16 20 -4 36
J. Hayes 72 19 16 -4 35
B. Campbell 82 3 24 4 27
B. Pirri 49 22 2 6 24
D. Bolland 53 6 17 4 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 28 19 12 .921 2.35
A. Montoya 6 7 2 .892 3.01
 
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