Peter Horachek’s offseason of uncertainty continues.
Finally, he knows where he will be. He also knows his title.
He just does not know precisely what he will do during the 2011-12 season.
The Nashville Predators announced Wednesday that Horachek has been promoted to associate coach under Barry Trotz, the role that previously belonged to Brent Peterson.
“[I] may be required to do some different things and [have] some more responsibility with the media, more responsibility in different situations,” he said. “But that’s really up to Barry and what direction he wants me to go with that.”
The promotion comes after several weeks during which Horacheck unsuccessfully attempted to move even higher in the ranks.
He interviewed for two NHL head coach jobs, those at Florida and Dallas. The Stars, in fact, brought him back for a second visit but informed him earlier this week they intended to hire someone else.
“You’re going through it and you’re thinking, ‘I’m interviewing with Florida and I’m interviewing with Dallas and if this happens, things are going to change real fast; things are going to have to happen real quickly’ — selling a house and moving and staff [decisions],” Horachek said. “All those things are going through your mind, and when it didn’t happen, it’s almost a relief to say, ‘OK. All those things don’t have to happen.
“I’m in a comfortable situation with really good people.”
Still, it is not the same situation it was before he went through those interviews.
Peterson’s battle with Parkinson’s disease has made it impossible to continue in a traditional coaching capacity. He now will be the team’s hockey operations advisor, a nebulous title for which the specific details will be developed over time.
Former Milwaukee Admirals coach Lane Lambert was named a Predators assistant last week, the same day the team announced goaltender coach Mitch Korn had re-signed.
Horachek, however, will not necessarily assume all of Peterson’s duties, and Lambert will not necessarily function in the same manner Horachek has for the past seven seasons.
“I would say that the role [Horachek] had during his first year with us compared to what he’s going to be doing this year is way different and way more important,” General Manager David Poile said. “Like a player, he’s more experienced. He has developed. He is more confident. And that’s a good thing.”
In fact, he contends he is different as a result of the interviews even though none resulted in a change in franchises.
“It was a whirlwind but those were great experiences to go through,” Horachek said. “For me, it’s like going to the playoffs and tasting what some people call pressure. I just call it the game. You want to go through all those things, and when you lose that’s just a little more experience you’re going to gain.”
Experience that ought to serve him well in his new duties … whatever they turn out to be.
“I think Barry is yet to have a chance to sit down with Peter, Lane and Mitch to carve out all the roles and responsibilities,” Poile said. “There’s no question that [Horachek’s role] will change from last year, and there’s no question Peter will be Barry’s go-to guy and his right-hand guy.
“I’d say it’s a natural evolution, if you will.”