The Montreal Canadiens’ New Coach? Relax!


Relax don’t do it
When you want to go to it
Relax don’t do it
When you want to come
Relax don’t do it
When you want to come
When you want to come

Frankie Goes to Hollywood

One can only hope this is the song encircling the Habs’ new G.M. as he gets acquainted to his new office in Le Centre Bell.

Aside from little things such as removing Pierre Gauthier’s signed print of the Marx Brothers from his wall, M. Bergevin must commence repairing the on-ice Canadiens de Montreal. Pronto …

Forget the off-ice stuff. For now.

Leave that to Mr. Molson – after all, he comes from a long line of superior marketers. Who else but the Molson family could get folks from Port Hope, Ontario to drink Molson Export by re-naming and bottling the same beer as Molson Canadian. A spade is a spade and a drunken Wendel Clarke fan is a drunken Wendel Clarke fan.

Bergevin may or may not have his priorities in the following order;

  1. Hire a coach
  2. Concentrate on the draft.

If the number one choice is his number one choice – presumably a logic is tossing about in his Chicago – raised, Montreal – born mind. It all depends which type of team he is envisioning in his  thoughts.

A successful squad in the NHL is basically built in three ways. A trio of options that usually lead to a parade somewhere.

  1. A balance of speed and tremendous talent on the top two lines, countered by toughness and a couple of talented fifteen goal scorers on the bottom two lines.
  2. Three lines of talent blanketed with a tough fourth line.
  3. Four lines of character with two superstars.

As for the defence …

  1. Two offensive – minded players with speed, three tough and defensive – minded defence men and two that possess a combination of both.

Goaltending …

The goalie must stop pucks at key moments in a game. The type of save that lifts his team to greater heights. There is nothing worse for a player sitting on the bench witnessing a soft goal when they are doing their best to win a close game.

A goalie’s feelings work in reverse. A soft goal more often the end result when he sees his mates not scoring when he keeps them in the game. This was part of the problem for the Canadiens in 2011 – 12.

Bergevin’s job is to understand in himself which type of team he feels can win. He must keep the pieces of the puzzle that are part of the solution and rid the current day Habs of the parts that are non – conducive to his dreams. The coach he hires must be on the same ice rink. The new guy cannot be skating in Quebec city while Bergevin and his team are practising in Brossard.

Bergevin’s Options ( according to everyone but him).

Names of possible coaches are being bandied about in Montreal as loosely as loose lips sink already  sinking CH ships.

Bergevin should consider the following if indeed some of the candidates are his candidates as well;

Marc Crawford

The last five years Crawford coached in the NHL, his teams missed the playoffs. Vancouver, L.A. and Dallas. Crawford holds a.536 winning percentage as an NHL coach in fifteen years. He won a Stanley Cup in Colorado in 1995 – 96. It must be noted – the Avalanche team that won was filled with talent. Foote, Deadmarsh, Forsberg, Sakic, Nolan, Lemieux and Patrick Roy to name a few. Jean Perron and Jacques Demers won a Stanley Cup because of Patrick Roy – they are not considered to be candidates for the current day Habs. Just saying …

Bob Hartley

Almost a mirror image of Crawford. Hartley won a Stanley Cup in Colorado with pretty much the same line-up as Crawford possessed. Again – a certain M. Patrick Roy was between the pipes. In the last six years as a coach in the NHL (Colorado and Atlanta ), Hartley’s team missed the playoffs five times. Career -wise, the Hawksbury born coach has a winning percentage of .579 and most recently coached the Zürcher Schlittschuh Club Lions in the Swiss league to a championship.

Alain Vigneault

Anyone who follows the Habs is aware Alain Vigneault commenced his NHL coaching career in Montreal. M. Vigneault is a good coach who possesses a good sense of humour ( he coached Maxime Lapierre ) and a career winning percentage of .581. In Montreal for three seasons and twenty games ( 1997 – 2000 ), Vigneault was learning his craft as his borderline .500 record attests. Recently, M. Vigneault was blessed with a very talented team in Vancouver. A Stanley Cup finalist last season and a somewhat surprising exit in the first round this year. Does his stint in Vancouver and his gained experience allow him a return to Montreal? There are no Sedins in Montreal. Just sayin’…

Michel Therrien

Like M. Vigneault, Therrien started his career in Montreal and parted with a .500 record. He then went to Pittsburgh where he had two winning seasons with Malkin and Crosby. The following season – again with a talented Pittsburgh team, Therrien was fired with a 27 – 25 won / lost record and Pittsburgh went on to win the Cup under Dan Byslema. Really, Therrien has no business being considered for the job … If you can’t win with Crosby and Malkin, where can you win?

Guy Carbonneau

Probably the most sane choice of the bunch. He is the only Canadiens’ coach to gain over 100 pts in the past 18 seasons in Montreal. Very popular with the fans in the city and what could be his downfall – also allegedly very popular with the clubs around Montreal as well. He is associated with Bob Gainey which is bad yet he is no longer speaking to Bob Gainey which is good if he hopes to regain the coaching job. Bergevin and Carbonneau played their youth hockey in Quebec and come from the same era. This may help Guy get the job. Sheesh – the guy won with Kovalev on the team! Credit is due …

Patrick Roy

If a vote was held tomorrow in Montreal for a new mayor – Patrick Roy would get the job and he is not even a politician …

If M. Roy did not possess a winning attitude, M. Hartley, M. Crawford and M. Perron would not be Stanley Cup winning coaches. His ego and winning attitudes are legendary and dangerous. Roy wins when he can control situations and loses when he cannot. To be named as a rookie head coach in Montreal, Bergevin must understand Roy’s intentions. Roy must commit to Montreal and not have his heart in Quebec. Roy and Bergevim must also come to a very strict understanding about who is boss and where.

As an opponent and journeyman – Bergevin is well aware of Roy’s reputation. He probably knows better than anyone in the Habs organization the real stories of Roy. The ones the Habs were not privy to. Roy’s passion is what the Habs require – Roy’s passion is what the Habs do not need right now. Good luck Marc Bergevin …

The Result?

The great thing about Bergevin being hired is the fact he has never been part of the Canadiens’ organization. He has a mind of his own that was formed outside of the madness.

M. Bergevin did not arrive in Montreal and think about taking the job without ideas in his head. These ideas were talked about in his meeting with Molson and Savard. The Habs’ brass obviously enjoyed listening to Bergevin or else the Hawks’ former assistant G.M would be walking in the Windy city right now with his wife.

He could fool everyone and bring in some guy who is not on the top of the gossip lists in Montreal.

Someone like Joel Quenneville …?

Shooting stars never stop
Even when they reach the top
Shooting stars never stop
Even when they reach the top

Frankie Goes to Hollywood

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1 Comment

  1. philippe ouimet

     /  May 4, 2012

    Rick,

    I like your candidates I’m also impressed with the new GM and like everyone I’m trying to find out as much as possible on his background and especially what makes him tick!!!! and who would be a good fit as the new coach. Two things come to mind Bergevin is a real TEAM PLAYER which brings me to beleive he could very well turn towards his old teammate Guy Carbonneau and offer him the job…I think big Serge would fully agree.
    second and most important Bergevin demonstrated in one of his numerous interviews his passion for the game, his sensetivety and his ability to listen…but what really impressed me was his description of his day with the Stanley Cup!!!! When he left Chicago and came to Montreal with his wife, kids and the Cup and went to a little town West of Chateauguay…Ste Martine Cemetery and placed the Cup by his parents graves….Well all I can say is…. I will put my money on Marc Bergevin !!!! Special thanks to big Serge for his recommendation

    Reply

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