Predators follow proven path, add coach from Milwaukee

Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 3:45pm

The Nashville Predators do not ask anything of their players that they do not also ask of their coaches.

Specifically, they expect their personnel to spend time in Milwaukee before they make it to the NHL.

That notion was reinforced yet again Thursday when Lane Lambert, Milwaukee’s head coach for the past four seasons, was promoted to assistant coach for the Predators. He followed Peter Horachek, who made the same move eight years earlier.

That means the only times coach Barry Trotz has had openings on his staff, he has filled them with the top man from Milwaukee.

“[Lambert] has done so much in the American Hockey League, I think he’s ready to be a player, if you will, in the National Hockey League,” Trotz said. “It was unanimous with everyone in the organization … Lane is a perfect fit for us.”

Lambert replaces former associate head coach Brent Peterson, who will be reassigned because he no longer can be on the ice due to the advancement of Parkinson’s disease, with which he was diagnosed seven years ago.

“I can’t fill Brent Peterson’s shoes,” Lambert said. “He’s a tremendous person and a tremendous coach. … He’ll be around, and I can’t wait to work alongside him as well.”

Peterson’s role going forward has not been determined. Likewise, Lambert’s specific duties have not been finalized because Horachek remains a candidate for the job as head coach job with the Dallas Stars. If he gets that one, the Predators actually will have to step outside the organization to replace him.

Lambert matched his predecessor, Claude Noel, for the longest tenure as Milwaukee’s coach during that franchise’s time as Nashville’s American Hockey League affiliate. He mtched Noel with two division championships but failed to deliver an AHL title, as Noel did in 2003-04.

Eleven players on the Predators’ playoff roster played under Lambert with the Admirals, at least briefly.

Much like Nashville, his teams relied on defense. Milwaukee allowed the second-fewest goals in the AHL over the past four seasons.

“One of the things that attracted me to this opportunity is that I have been with a number of these players in some way, shape or form, since Day One, for a lot of them, in terms of their professional careers,” Lambert said. “To be able to go to Nashville and to be able to continue helping with that process … it’s exciting.

“We’ve a great culture that’s conducive to success. It’s the process of winning and how you get there that we’ve created here.”

The process, clearly, starts in Milwaukee for both players and coaches.

“Lane has done such a great job with the players in Milwaukee,” Trotz said. “He’s touched so many players in Milwaukee. We just felt there was no other person for the job.

“We’ve always built from within.”

Briefly

• The Predators also announced that they re-signed goaltender coach Mitch Korn, who has been with the organization since the inaugural season of 1998-99.

“Mitch Korn is the best goaltending coach in the National Hockey League, as evidenced by his development of this organization’s goaltenders from Year One with Mike Dunham and Tomas Vokoun, to this past season with Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne and promising rookie Anders Lindback,” General Manager David Poile said in a release announcing the move. “Our goaltending is a big part of our success, and Mitch is at the forefront of that.”

• Predators’ prospect Austin Watson, the franchise's 2010 first-round draft pick, was one of 40 players invited to participate in the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp at Lake Placid, N.Y. in August.

The camp will run from Aug. 6-13 and will be used to select the team that will participate in the 2011-12 World Junior Championship.