Philbin surrounds himself with New England familiarity in Miami

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Philbin surrounds himself with New England familiarity in Miami

FOXBORO -- The Patriots travel to Miami on Sunday, but they won't be the only ones with New England ties.
Springfield, Mass. native Joe Philbin filled his coaching staff with people he worked with in the New England area before he became Miami's coach in January.
He was part of coaching staffs at Northeastern and Harvard before he jumped on an NFL staff. And from his former English professor at Worcester Academy in Mike Sherman, to coaches he worked with at Northeastern, Harvard, and even at local football camps, Philbin has surrounded himself with familiar faces, all who have connections to New England.
"When I was fortunate enough to get this job, I knew it was going to be important to hire, number one, excellent coaches, but number two, people that I could have total trust and faith in, guys that were loyal," said Philbin in a conference call on Wednesday. "That's the first and foremost thing."
So he hired his former high school teacher, Sherman, to be the Dolphins' offensive coordinator, while hiring former Holy Cross defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle to run Miami's defense.
"I'm delighted about having both of them as the coordinators," said Philbin. "Obviously they have double-digit years of experience in the National Football League. Mike's been a proven winning head coach in the National Football League. He was the head coach for six seasons and had five winning seasons, so I think he knows how to build a winner. He's a great resource to have.
"Kevin Coyle's a dedicated professional, and made a nice contribution in 11 years in Cincinnati. He's an unselfish guy and a real pro.
"So, to have both those guys on the staff, I feel very fortunate."
Out of the two coordinators though, Sherman's presence is one that looks to make the most sense. Sherman coached rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill at Texas A&M, and even though the reunion wasn't necessarily planned, their familiarity with each other has certainly helped the transition.
"I barely knew who Ryan Tannehill was between you, me, and the four walls," said Philbin.
"I think it's helped quite a bit," added Philbin. "Sherman knows how the kid thinks. He knows how the kid acts. I believe the coordinator and the quarterback have to be on the same page, and have to kind of view the game the same way, if you will. That part of the relationship has been helpful, no question."
"I definitely think it helped," said Tannehill in a conference call on Wednesday. "It definitely made my transition easier, in the fact that, I didn't have to learn a full playbook. I had the foundation of it down. And of course we have some new things and new tweaks, and we've built on it along the way. But coming in, having the foundation of it already known, I didn't have to spend the same amount of time learning the plays. I could devote more time to understanding defenses and focusing on the fundamentals and intricacies of the plays, rather than just the concepts in general."
Philbin enjoys the familiarity he has with his coaching staff, especially with those who aren't coordinators.
"Jimmy Turner, I worked with at Northeastern University, he's coaching our offensive line," said Philbin. "Lou Anarumo is coaching our secondary, I worked with him at Harvard. And I used to work the Holy Cross camp with Kevin Coyle 100 years ago. Ya, we've got quite a few guys from the New England region, no doubt about it."
Bringing those guys in, was just one way that he could return the favor to those who gave him coaching opportunities in the past, helping him get to the NFL.
"It was a great experience at both Northeastern and Harvard," said Philbin. "Barry Gallup, who's the assistant AD at Boston College, was nice enough to give me a job at Northeastern. I was unemployed after going to Ohio University. We went a glamorous 0-for-11 and I didn't have any job. I had four children, and my wife was pregnant, and Barry was good enough to give me a job, and I loved coaching every minute there. I was the offensive coordinator. Barry was excellent to work for. We had a winning season in the Yankee Conference, the first time I think they ever had one there, in '96 I want to say.
"I used to drive by Harvard every single day at work, going to Northeastern, so I cut my commute down about 10 minutes. And Harvard football head coach Tim Murphy's just done a fantastic job there, as you guys know. An excellent and program that he has there. And I really enjoyed that experience as well."

Bruins' 2017-18 schedule has three Habs games in eight days

Bruins' 2017-18 schedule has three Habs games in eight days


The Bruins released their schedule for the 2017-18 season Thursday, with their campaign beginning at TD Garden on Oct. 5 against the Predators. 

Two things stand out in Boston’s schedule. Eleven of their final 15 games are on the road, and they don’t play the Canadiens until mid-January.  

Then, when the B’s and Habs do finally meet, they play three times in an eight-day span. The rivals face each other Jan. 13 in Montreal, Jan. 17 in Boston and Jan. 20 in Montreal. The Bruins’ final regular-season meeting with the Habs is March 3. 

To see the full schedule, click here. 

Morning Skate: How Haggs voted for the NHL Awards

Morning Skate: How Haggs voted for the NHL Awards

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and my ballot from last night’s NHL Awards now that the results are in. I can confirm I was not the one person to give Torey Krug a Norris Trophy vote despite what the unwashed masses in Ottawa choose to believe. Also, I did not throw a first-place vote to Brad Marchand in Hart Trophy voting. Still, I think it’s a safe bet that the same person did both.

Anyway, on to my ballot with a brief explanation for each of the votes:

Hart Trophy

1. Connor McDavid

2. Sidney Crosby

3. Brent Burns

4. Patrick Kane

5. Brad Marchand

McDavid was the obvious MVP as he helped lift the Oilers into the playoffs, and was the only guy in the NHL to hit 100 points this past season. In hindsight, I should have included Sergei Bobrovsky and omitted Patrick Kane from the list and always have a difficult time determining when a season from a goalie is or isn’t Hart-worthy. But I certainly feel good about throwing a fifth-place vote to Marchand after a phenomenal season for the B’s.

Norris Trophy:

1. Brent Burns

2. Erik Karlsson

3. Victor Hedman

4. Duncan Keith

5. Zach Werenski

Burns had such a transcendent offensive season for the Sharks and I like the fact that he can play a physical game as well as roaming around creating offense. That being said, it would have been an easy first place vote for Karlsson if the playoffs were included along with the regular season. The fifth place vote was the only one I really had to think hard and long about but felt like Werenski really played a big role in the Columbus turnaround this season.

Calder Trophy

1. Auston Matthews

2. Zach Werenski

3. Patrik Laine

4. William Nylander

5. Matt Murray

Plenty of good rookies to choose from in the voting, but it was fairly easy to choose Matthews as a dominant force for a Leafs team on the upswing. 40 goals as a 19-year-old rookie is a ridiculous amount of goals.

Lady Byng

1.  Oscar Klefbom

2.  Johnny Gaudreau

3.  Brandon Saad

4.  Marian Hossa

5.  Marcus Johansson

My votes are usually all over the map for Lady Byng, but Klefbom and Gaudreau were both solid picks as the top two. Gaudreau finished with 60 plus points and just four penalty minutes, and that’s pretty tough to do.

Selke Trophy

1. Bergeron

2. Kesler

3. Koivu

4. O’Reilly

5. Toews

All Bergeron all the way and there was a wide margin between him and second place. The fact he managed to play at a Selke level while also being hurt the entire season just adds to the toughness factor for the best two-way player I’ve covered in my time in Boston.   

On to the links...

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Chris Johnston has the Golden Knights ready to take their first step toward contending after building their team, and their coffers, at the expansion draft.

*We’ll see how history views this trade a year or two down the line, but the Islanders definitely got a lot better with Jordan Eberle joining John Tavares in Brooklyn next season.

*Fresh off his Norris Trophy win, bearded Brent Burns was mistaken for a swashbuckling pirate on a visit to Disney.

*Reilly Smith is on the move again, this time to the Vegas Golden Knights, and the word on the street was that Boston inquired about bringing him back if the Panthers were willing to take Jimmy Hayes back. Don’t think it was much of a conversation. I guess there really is no trade-backesies in the NHL.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has the Nashville Predators pretty busted up after losing James Neal in the expansion draft.

*For something completely different: Ron Howard is taking over directing the standalone Han Solo movie, and I’ve got to say that I don’t hate this.