Rumble to coach Norfolk
Here's a nice comeback story.
Darren Rumble will coach AHL Norfolk next season, and promised to try to pay back Admirals fans who watched their team for the first time in 19 years, miss the playoffs. Why is this a nice story? Because Rumble was an assistant to coach Steve Stirling last season and was basically fired when his option was not picked up after Stirling was re-assigned.
Also because Rumble, a former Lightning defenseman, is just a really good guy. Former NHL tough guy Alan May, who had 1,333 penalty minutes in 393 NHL games, mostly with the Capitals, will be the assistant.
An official announcement is expected Tuesday.
"I feel like we owe something to the fans here in Norfolk," Rumble said. "They were pretty spoiled hockey-wise as far as making the playoffs 18 straight years. We sort of let them down a little bit, so I'd like to get the team back in the playoffs. More importantly, with the salary cap era, you need to develop from within. I think we have some kids who have a chance."
He also said he will make sure to build the lines of communication with the big club and Tampa Bay coach Barry Melrose.
"We're going to make sure we're running the same systems, and have good, solid communication between the staffs," Rumble said
Rumble, 39, played 24 games for the Lightning from 2002-04. He was a healthy scratch for almost all the 2003-04 Stanley Cup season, but used the time to start honing his coaching acumen. He was an assistant at AHL Springfield before Tampa Bay moved its affiliation to Norfolk last season. He also played with Lightning owner Len Barrie for AHL Hershey from 1990-92.
Rumble, who was let go by former Lightning owner Palace Sports & Entertainment, said he approached Barrie and owner Oren Koules about sticking with the Admirals. He said it didn't hurt he knew Barrie, but his familiarity with the team was more important.
"That was huge, knowing the players and being familiar with everything," he said. "That was a big help. And it allowed a little continuity from last year."
Admirals owner Ken Young would not confirm or deny Rumble was coach, deferring to Tuesday's scheduled news conference.
Still, he said, "I do think Darren will be a very good fit for the Admirals. He's familiar with the ownership and the people he's reporting to, and that's good. We're real excited with what the new ownership has done with the Lightning."