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VIP Insider Post #96: Merrimack Filling Out Staff, Early BU Candidates

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Exclusively for our VIP supporters, TMR editor Mike McMahon brings you these “insider” posts, where he’ll discuss the news and give some insight and perspective on the stories we’re covering here at The Mack Report as well other insider info from stories around the country …

— Merrimack coach Scott Borek is rounding out his staff. Jim Tortorella will be with the program in a hockey operations role. He informed his players at Saint Anselm, where he was the head coach, on Monday night that he was leaving for Merrimack. Merrimack is also shuffling some roles around; current director of hockey operations Matt Lamalfa is remaining with the program in a new capacity. It sounds like Merrimack is going to utilize their hockey ops role more as a fourth coach. There are some limitations on what a hockey ops person can do, as far as coaching, but more teams are using the role this way. A prime example would be David Berard, who was in hockey ops at Providence before taking the Holy Cross head coaching job a few years ago.

Tortorella was previously an assistant at UNH and was a volunteer assistant at Providence, both where he worked with Borek. Prior to that, he was the longtime head coach at Colby College. He’s the brother of Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella.

— Here are some early candidates in the rumor mill to replace David Quinn at BU:

Joe Sacco is the obvious name, and I think he’ll be involved in this process. Albie O’Connell has been brought up, and while I’m sure he’ll be discussed, there are some that question how effective he would be as a head coach. “Being a team manager, being able to navigate all of those players, especially top draft picks like BU, that’s a totally different role than just recruiting those kids,” one source said.

My money would be on Steve Greeley if he wanted the job. He’s on the path to becoming an NHL GM — he turned down the Carolina job last week — but he has a really extensive background for someone who is just 37 years old. He’s worked with Quinn and three different NHL organizations, sitting in on those coaching meetings and helping run those ships. That should make him an attractive piece for BU athletic director Drew Marrochello.

Clark Donatelli’s name might be thrown in the ring as well as Scott Young. There was also a rumor floating on Tuesday that Chris Drury might be interested, but I personally think that is a longshot. First, he helped hire Quinn with the Rangers, so that would be quite odd. And second, he doesn’t have many Boston connections, it seems.

You’ll also hear about Mike Bavis, but I doubt he’d have a shot this time around. The relationship between Bavis and BU ended poorly when he didn’t get the job last time around. Someone brought up Nate Leaman earlier in the week, but poaching a sitting head coach from another team in your own league is almost unheard of.

My money is on Sacco or Greeley, but I wouldn’t be surprised if O’Connell got the job, either. Especially where it’s so late, the easiest move for BU would be to elevate an assistant coach.

About Mike McMahon

Mike McMahon is in his 13th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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