One of the new faces on Hershey’s bench this season is assistant coach Scott Allen, who is entering his 12th season in the AHL, none of which were as a player.
“I never played in the AHL, just coached and have been doing that for 24 years that included six in the East Coast and NHL,” said Allen. “Most of the AHL games were with teams out west, but I was here in the east several times with Lowell and Portland. The trips I made here were all in the Giant Center. I did see games in the old building, but I wasn’t coaching in the league at that time.”
Allen’s most recent stops were the past two campaigns as an NHL assistant with Arizona, and prior to that, three seasons with the New York Islanders, and one with Florida.
“This definitely isn’t a lateral move because for me, it’s all about the people you work for and with, so getting the opportunity to work with Washington and Hershey organizations is phenomenal,” Allen said. “I’ve been fortunate to coach in some great cities in the AHL and I had one place left, so I’m here now. I’ve never been a guy that worries about where I’m not, because it’s really about where I am at the current time, so I’m very excited to be here. Situational for me it is always goes back to what I said before about the people you work with.”
When asked about how this most recent move came to fruition he replied, “It all came about in a matter of days. I didn’t really know the job was available to be honest. Somebody reached out to me to see if it was OK to pass my name on to the Capitals and I agreed.
“By the next day, I interviewed with Spencer Carberry and the management of the Bears and the Caps, then talked to General Manager Brian MacLellan, and a couple days later I was offered the job,” continued Allen. “It was a combination of everything between the Caps and Bears, and it was all positive, so there weren’t any negative things for me to consider.”
Allen conceded that being at the NHL level, whether as a player or coach, isn’t all sunshine and roses. Sure the money and per diem are better, but the travel, despite flying more frequently than riding the bus for 6-8 hours, still has a down side.
“The last two years with Arizona we had the second longest, mileage-wise, travel schedule in the NHL,” Allen said. “You play the hand you’re dealt and if you worry about that kind of stuff it can weigh you down and just gives guys a built in excuse.”
“The NHL does fly more, but the big difference in that is, because you fly through different time zones, that wears on the players and their routines, but it is what it is,” added Allen. “The AHL and NHL both have situations where you have several teams located relatively close to each other, so despite having a road game, many times they are back home a few hours later.”
He concluded with an interesting story about his time as a player that occurred during the 1988-89 season with Winston-Salem when, despite being injured, he offered to help the team when it needed a goaltender.
“I was a forward all of my career except for 14 minutes and you can find that in the record book,” Alle said with a laugh. “It came about because I volunteered to do it when I had a broken foot and couldn’t skate. Back then it wasn’t so easy to get players in on short notice. Since I had been playing for almost a month before it was determined it was broken I just said I’ll do it because I couldn’t skate any way.
“I faced 10 shots and made seven saves and one of those was against the leading scorer in the league on a breakaway,” continued Allen. “Other than my pride, I didn’t get hurt any more than I already was. It was just an unbelievable experience but I’ve had a lot of those in this game.”