Thursday, June 9, 2011

Predators’ New Assistant Coach Lane Lambert's Long Road Back to the NHL

The Nashville Predators named Milwaukee Head Coach Lane Lambert as their new assistant coach on Thursday. He will assume the position previously held by Brent Peterson who will have other duties in the organization due to his ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Make the jump for our story and the complete audio of the press conference with Lane Lambert and Barry Trotz...

Lambert has been in the Predators’ system for five years, the last four as the Admiral’s head coach where he compiled a 178-118-37 record. Milwaukee had 40 or more wins and at least 90 points in each of his four years as the teams leader.

Lambert is thrilled to be back in the NHL, “I feel fortunate every day to be in the Nashville Predator organization and being able to work with people like David (Poile), Paul (Fenton), Barry (Trotz) and everyone else in the organization because it is a well respected organization but most importantly because of the way they treat people.”

“I’ve been in the organization for five years and it’s an exciting day for me to be able to work alongside Barry and with a lot of the players again that I have coached down here. I’m really looking forward to it and can’t wait to get started.”

Predators’ Head Coach Barry Trotz explained the importance of hiring from within the organization.

"We've always built from within, not only our players but for our coaching staff. We promoted Peter (Horacek) a few years back and he's done an excellent job and Lane has done the same thing in Milwaukee that Peter has. I have a lot of respect for what Lane can add."

Lambert’s professional hockey career has taken an unusual path. The 46 year-old had an outstanding junior career with the Saskatoon Blades from 1981 to 1983 when he had 111 and 126 points for the WHL team.

He was chosen as the 25th overall pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft. He went directly to the Wings where he appeared in 73 games as a rookie and had 20 goals and 15 assists and added 115 penalty minutes.

Lambert played two more seasons with the Wings and then spent time with the Rangers and Nordiques with his last game at the NHL level coming in 1989. His NHL totals were 58 goals and 65 assists in 283 games. He also took care of himself well, picking up 521 penalty minutes.

From there, as a player, he had stops in Halifax, Cleveland, and Houston at the AHL/IHL level. He also played for the Canadian National Team, in Germany, and also in the Swiss League.

As a coach, he has had stops with Moose Jaw and Prince George in the WHL and Bridgeport in the AHL before joining the Admirals.

Having been in pro hockey for 28 years, Lambert has played and worked with many coaches and General Managers. "You pick up something from everyone you work with. Sometimes you pick up things you don't want to do but you add things you like to your repertoire."

"When I was playing and really thinking about coaching toward the later stages of my career, I really took a lot and learned a lot as a player and took a lot in demeanor from Dave Tippett. He was just a tremendous teacher and developer. In watching him do what he did, it made me really understand the importance of that side of it. As long as your team is getting better every day or working to get better, you are going to have success."

"When I got into coaching, I think I have learned from everyone I have coached with but would have to say Claude Noel is a guy I learned a lot from. I learned a lot about the pro side of hockey but more importantly, I learned about relationships and how to treat people."

"That was my first year here in the system and that is a reflection of the organization from top to bottom being good people that have the ability and knowledge of how to treat people and Claude really helped me with that."

With the first half of his career at the highest level and the second half at a lower level, Lambert went from worrying about playing the game to looking deeper into the game.

"When you start your career as a young guy in the National Hockey League you are so focused on the game and playing the game. As you get older you start to think about life after hockey and what you want to do and I knew for a number of years before I retired that I wanted to get into coaching and continue to help and provide knowledge through my experiences to the players."

"One of the things that has helped me in my coaching career is the fact that I have been through a lot of the same experiences as the players. The communication side is probably a stregth of mine."

Lambert will be familiar with most of the current Predators as 17 of the 33 players who suited up in Nashville in the past season played under him in Milwaukee.

As always, the Predators do things the right way and the hiring of Lambert shows their continued loyalty to those in the organization which is another aspect of "The Predator Way." 

Lambert is ready to go and will be busy with the entry draft and development camp later this month. "It's been a long time since I was in the NHL so I'm looking forward to it."

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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