Buzzing The Net

Sarnia Sting make ex-NHLer Trevor Letowski coach, as OHL club tries to turn page on turmoil of Jacques Beaulieu era

Former NHLer Trevor Letowski (centre) has been a Sarnia asst. coach for 3 seasons (Sarnia Sting photo)

Stability and Sting are not that far apart in the dictionary, but have often tended to be light-years apart where the Sarnia OHL franchise is concerned.

Fortunately for the Sting, which promoted alumnus and former NHLer Trevor Letowski from assistant to head coach on Friday morning, it did not overthink the first step of the post-Jacques Beaulieu era. While their former coach and GM might have come across as a bit bull-in-a-china-shop by times, it's best to have some continuity for the Sting's younger cohort, which includes 11 players who are moving into their 17- and 18-year-old seasons. So promoting Letowski, while trying to retain Alex Galchenyuk Sr. as a de facto skills coach, probably makes the most sense for a franchise that found out two years after the fact that no, the ends did not justify the means with Beaulieu. Especially when the ends were successive first-round playoff exits and the embarrassment, by association, of a coach facing assault charges.

Having a fresh face in the top job behind the bench in the 36-year-old Letowski, who is associated with being a star for the Sting in the 1990s, will probably give the Sting a short grace period to ride out any fallout from the Beaulieu era. The Sting, which are taking a by-committee approach to the general manager's job, seem willing to be patient before they hand someone that GM hat.

(Whoever gets it will have his work cut out for him. Thanks to Beaulieu getting his Trader Vic on, particularly in 2011-12 when the Sting loaded up in anticipation of Nail Yakupov leading them on a playoff run, Sarnia has only one second-round pick in the next four priority selection drafts through 2017.)

Injuries to the likes of Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk in '11-12 and to star defenceman Connor Murphy last season certainly affected Sarnia's performance. Fair or not, though, under Beaulieu the Sting came off as overpromising and underdelivering. Taking the opposite, say-all-the-right-things approach under Letowski is probably the wisest tack. From the likes of 2014 NHL draft prospects Anthony DeAngelo and Nikolay Goldobin through their incoming rookie group with first-rounder Nikita Korostelev, there are some elements to rebuild with properly.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

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