If Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen is making the move to the NHL as a head coach, then he doesn’t know about it, yet.
A day after the Portland Pirates were eliminated in four straight games by the Manchester Monarchs, Dineen spoke about what’s next on the horizon, and from his point of view, Portland is his home now and in the future.
“I haven’t had any (offers) this year,” said Dineen. “There have been some opportunities out there (in the past), but my comfort level has always been right here in Portland, improving as a coach and doing what I’ve done.”
There has been constant speculation that Dineen was the leading candidate for the head coaching job with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but Dineen acknowledges that wasn’t necessarily the case as he’s yet to be contacted by the club, or any club for that matter in terms of potential NHL coaching positions.
“For me, (coaching vacancies) have not crossed my mind,” he said. “There’s a buzz. That’s natural. There’s an opening (in Columbus), and there has been success at the AHL-level, specifically what’s happened is AHL coaches have been promoted.”
“Right now, nothing has been broached, and it would certainly have to go through Buffalo.”
Dineen played 129 games with the Blue Jackets over the course of three seasons, before finally retiring and taking a scouting position with the team as their Director of Player Development where he was for two years before taking the job as the Pirates head coach under the Anaheim Ducks affiliation in 2005.
When the Sabres moved their affiliation to Portland in 2008, they retained Dineen as the Pirates head coach, something he’s appreciative about.
“I’m very proud and excited to be a member of the Buffalo organization,” said Dineen. I was with Anaheim for three years, now with Buffalo and it’s an incredible learning experience with both clubs.”
Dineen is the longest tenured coach in Pirates history after completing his fifth season with the team. During that span, he’s tallied a 219-131-23-27 record good enough for a .610 win percentage, which is tops for the Pirates.
One of the reason’s Dineen points to staying in Maine is his family life. Dineen has four children and has been very involved in the community, and enjoy what the city and surround area has to offer in terms of a quality of life for his family.
“(Relocating is) getting into an area where you are respectful of your family,” he said. “We consider our family extremely wealthy that we have this quality of life (living in Portland).”
From the Sabres point of view, they would like nothing more than to keep Dineen around long term whose contract expires on June 30 and would like to extend their deal, but have indicated that they wouldn’t stand in his way should he want to make that next step to the NHL.
“We’d love to keep him, and certainly will when appropriate,” said Sabres GM Darcy Regier. “You won’t have to worry about the Buffalo Sabres keeping Kevin Dineen in Portland, but it’s more a question of the National Hockey League taking Dineen out of (Portland).
“I think a lot of him and the staff and that’s the first choice (to keep them) and hopefully the only choice.”
That shouldn’t be an issue if Dineen has his way.