Hartford Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander and assistant coach J.J. Daigneault will be behind the bench this afternoon as the New York Rangers look to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they take on the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden.
Gernander and Daigneault will assist Jim Schoenfeld, who will run the bench while John Tortorella serves a one-game NHL suspension.
Gernander, 39, led the Wolf Pack to a 50-win season in 2007-08 and guided them to an Atlantic Division title in 2008-09. He was Hartford’s team captain from 1997-2005, winning a Calder Cup championship in 2000, and served as an assistant coach under Schoenfeld from 2005-07.
The native of Coleraine, Minn., played 973 games in the American Hockey League, good for eighth on the all-time list. His 624 points are the most of any American-born player in league history.
Daigneault, 43, just completed his third season as an assistant coach in Hartford. He joined Schoenfeld’s staff prior to the 2006-07 season.
A veteran of 17 professional seasons, Daigneault appeared in 899 NHL games with 10 teams before retiring in 2001, and captured a Stanley Cup championship with Montreal in 1993. He also played 122 AHL games with Hershey, Sherbrooke and Worcester.
"They do a terrific job developing players and a number of players on our team have played for Kenny and J.J.," Schoenfeld said. "It will be more on my direction as to reminders that we want the players to think about. I’m not going to throw matchups at (Gernander and Daigneault). That would be unfair. It’s their first kick at our team and certainly their first kick at the opponent."