It is not a “traditional” hire, as Smith is not an established assistant coach in another city or a minor league coach looking to cash NHL cheques. Smith has coached in the NHL, but it was a long time ago (97-98). Early reports have him coaching the defensemen, and since the club is looking for men who played the game as he did then maybe this makes sense.
It is an unusual hire, and my initial reaction is a negative one. If he was so good as a coach, why did it take this long for someone to pluck him from the scouting department (in Chicago)? And is Buchberger established enough to be the next-in line? And doesn’t this feel a little too much like another “Boys on the Bus” re-set?
On the other hand, I liked the “all-star” cast of coaches last year and that went over like a snowball in a hot place. If Steve Smith can help any of Theo Peckham, Alex Plante, Jeff Petry, Johan Motin, Taylor Chorney and Shawn Belle become a “Steve Smith” type on the blue then this hiring will receive our blessing.
Until then, the jury is out. And a little suspicious.