Florida Panthers entrusted to Andrew Brunette after Joel Quenneville's resignation

Kevin Weekes joins SVP for an explanation of the steps that led to Joel Quenneville's resignation, and what the NHL has in store. (2:20).
Andrew Brunette is now a candidate to become a head coach in the NHL, as he takes over a Florida Panthers team which has had the best start in its history.

It should be a joyful time. It isn't.

Brunette, who was replacing Joel Quenneville as Florida coach, led the Panthers through a Detroit gameday practice. Brunette made it clear that the Panthers on-ice issues are secondary to the larger issue of Kyle Beach's 2010 sexual assaults and the subsequent investigation that has engulfed this sport.

Brunette stated, "It's an awful day for hockey with Kyle Beach and all he's been through." "You feel for him, and all he has had to go through. It's a sad time for our team, for our players and for hockey.

Quenneville resigned on Thursday, just two days after Beach made allegations that he was sexually assaulted during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs by Brad Aldrich.

Quenneville was Chicago’s coach at the time when Beach claimed he was attacked by Aldrich. The Blackhawks released a report on what they did and didn’t do during that time. It was clear that the team neglected Beach and prioritized the Cup run over it. Quenneville's job was immediately in danger.

Brunette was appointed interim coach on Thursday night, shortly after Quenneville announced his resignation.

Jonathan Huberdeau, Panthers forward, said that Huberdeau is a "great guy" and that he will be a great coach. "It's not an easy task for everyone, but we'll get through it together."

Brunette could be in the job for a few short days, weeks, or months. The Panthers have not yet stated if that is their intention. The Panthers will play Saturday in Boston, then Brunette will be off until Thursday's home game against Washington.

"I'm day-to-day," Brunette said.

The impact of the report has been huge. Stan Bowman, Chicago's president of hockey operations, resigned and Quenneville resigned from his Florida job. After meeting with Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, Kevin Cheveldayoff, general manager of Winnipeg Jets -- who at the time worked for Blackhawks -- managed to avoid sanctioning.

Huberdeau stated that hockey should seem secondary to what Beach has gone through.

The Panthers forward stated that everyone feels sorry for the incident and that it doesn't matter.

Aaron Ekblad, Panthers defenseman, said that he saw Beach's interview on TSN Wednesday night and found it "extremely sad." When asked about his opinion on Quenneville, he said that he had watched it.

Ekblad stated, "I'm not sure what my feelings are right now."

Brunette, 48, spent four seasons with Quenneville. Three years of that time were in Colorado, and the fourth was in Chicago. Brunette was no longer a player. He was also a Beach training camp teammate.

Brunette was a 16-year veteran of six franchises, six of which were in Minnesota. After his playing days ended, Brunette returned to the Wild and held several positions, including assistant general manager, director of player personnel, coach assistant, and assistant coach.

Quenneville, a three-time Stanley Cup-winning Chicago coach, called Brunette in 2019 to offer him a job as an assistant. Brunette has lived in Florida ever since, possibly hoping to become a head coach.

Brunette stated, "I'm just trying a process." It's been a blur. I wish I could offer a better explanation. I don't know how to explain it. Kyle is the bigger problem right now.

Florida was seeking to be the fifth and seventh NHL teams to start a season with eight consecutive wins. It has been done by the Toronto Maple Leafs (1933-35) and 1993-94 (2006-07 Buffalo Sabres), the Nashville Predators (2006), and the 2015-16 Montreal Canadiens.

Ekblad stated that it's been an intense few days due to all the information and all the events. "We are a team that is a bit disoriented right now."