The New Jersey Devils decided to promote from within and hired Rick Kowalsky for one of their assistant coaches. This left a void at the Head Coach position for the Binghamton Devils, which has been filled by Mark Dennehy. When the position was available, a potential candidate frequently brought up was Sergei Brylin, who was a long-time Devils player and current assistant coach with the Binghamton Devils. Because of this, a fair thought to at least entertain the notion of whether Sergei Brylin was snubbed for the head coach position in Binghamton is warranted. Brylin still remains an assistant coach for the B-Devils, but the best way to analyze the idea is to breakdown what both coaches have done respectively.
Mark Dennehy never played in the NHL, but played four years of NCAA hockey for Boston College, and has been coaching for a good while now in the NCAA ranks. Dennehy first started out as an Assistant Coach at UMass-Amherst with other stints as an Assistant Coach at Princeton and Fairfield University, before going back to UMass-Amherst for another five seasons. Starting the 2005-2006 season, Dennehy became Head Coach for Merrimack College, where he stayed for 12 straight seasons. The Devils hired Dennehy just two weeks after he accepted a job with the Pittsburgh Penguins ECHL affiliate. This will be his first coaching job in general outside of the collegiate level if the two-week stint with the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL is not counted.
Sergei Brylin has been an assistant coach for the past five seasons with the Albany/Binghamton Devils, and coached with Rick Kowalsky prior to his NHL promotion. Brylin has a tremendous amount of playing experience, and spent his entire time in the NHL (12 seasons) with the New Jersey Devils. There are only five players in Devils history that were a member of all three Stanley Cup Championship teams; Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko, Scott Neidermayer, Martin Brodeur, and Sergei Brylin. From this, one can gather Brylin knows what it takes to win as a player, who has learned how to approach interacting and leading players from a coaching position. There’s also the fact Brylin is very well-known by most fans and people within the organization from both his playing and coaching time.
There is just as much a case for Mark Dennehy being a savvy move and good hire as there is for Sergei Brylin being snubbed. What may never be known is whether Brylin felt comfortable and what level of interest he may have had in the Head Coach position for Binghamton. Whether Brylin was or wasn’t interested does not dismiss the accolades and history he has both from playing and coaching. Ray Shero and the Devils organization have made a lot of smart moves since the regime change, so that can give Devils fans faith to believe the decision to hire Dennehy was the right move, along with his experience coaching for many years in the competitive NCAA.