Kukla's Korner Hockey
And the better save of the night goes to?
Or Petr Mrazek?
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Question that would be rhetorical except that it is not:
In what world would a team allow its just-fired, universally respected coach to be hired within a week by not only a blood rival, but one that it could very well meet in the playoffs?
In the world of Jeremy Jacob$, the Boston owner who allowed Claude Julien to skip to Montreal so the B’s wouldn’t be on the hook for the approximately $1.5 million due on his contract for this season. And that $1.5M? Wouldn’t that be less than the value of a single home playoff gate?
Please don’t suggest that the Bruins granted Julien permission to go to the Habs because of their respect for him. There were other places for Julien to go and would have been still more for the 2011 Cup winner to land this offseason.
from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
Relax, people. The Canadiens are going to right the ship and win the Atlantic Division. How do I know this? Because Claude Julien is a good coach, this is still a good team and Saturday’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets was as meaningless as a press conference from that gas-bag Donald Trump.
There are losses that can’t be blamed on the coach, the GM or even the players. Schedules, acts of nature, events no one can control. And let’s face it — the bye week is an idea whose time has gone.
Going into Sunday’s games, teams coming off the bye were an abysmal 3-12-4, including five losses Saturday, a day when Washington and Tampa Bay were the only bye teams to salvage a point. Even the powerful Blackhawks lost 3-1 at home to an Edmonton Oilers team they had crushed 5-1 a week earlier.
And what do the players gain in terms of a mental and physical break? Coming out of the bye, the Canadiens play five games in eight days. Surely, it would be better to spread a couple of those games over an extra week? Anything would be better than having a team go into the stretch run looking rustier than a ’77 Ford Pinto?
feom Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Claude Julien owes a tip of the cap and maybe a whole lot more than that to his friend, Mike Babcock, for the $25-million deal he just signed with the Montreal Canadiens.
And he’s not alone in the coaching fraternity.
When Babcock left the Detroit Red Wings for Toronto, he did so with more than one intent in mind. He wanted to change the salary structure for the head coach in hockey. He wanted it more in line with what coaches are paid in the NFL, NBA or Major League Baseball. He wanted to be the difference maker — not just behind the bench — and he did considerable research to establish a new paygrade for a coach in the National Hockey League.
Babcock is paid $6.25-million US salary per season with the Leafs and in signing that deal, he absolutely obliterated the previous marks. And with it has come a difference.
continued plus a few NHL topics...
Canadiens fans who were so excited by the return of Julien to replace the fired Michel Therrien ended up booing the team off the ice Saturday.
Welcome back, Claude.
-Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette where you can read more on the Habs...
from Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette,
I’ll throw out another query at you. Did the players give up on Therrien? Is that what happened? Is that why the kindly ol’ coach was fired even though his record during the past five years was 194-121-37 and his team was still sitting in the No. 1 spot in the NHL’s Atlantic Division?
If the Habs players did indeed stop playing for their coach, then maybe all is right in the world for Canadiens fans and, beginning Saturday afternoon against the Winnipeg Jets, Nos Glorieux will go right back to their winning ways. But if in fact they didn’t give up, if au contraire they were still giving their 110 per cent for Mike T, then we — meaning Marc Bergevin, Julien, and all of us who care about the team — have a problem on our hands.
Because no players got fired this week — sadly enough. Phillip Danault is still your No. 1 centre — or maybe the No. 2 guy down the middle if the new bench boss decides Alex Galchenyuk gets the top-centre gig. Andrew Shaw presumably hasn’t become a smarter hockey player since Tuesday.
So which scenario is it? Were they throwing games to oust the coach or are they simply a not-very-good team? I know, neither scenario is particularly great.
from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
If it were true that nice guys finish last, Claude Julien wouldn’t stand a chance in the cutthroat world of big-time hockey.
Mercifully, Leo Durocher’s old saw doesn’t always apply —at least not to Julien. The man is one of the most respected coaches in the National Hockey League, a hockey lifer with a Stanley Cup championship on his resumé, a winner who doesn’t have an arrogant bone in his body.
I thought that after 10 years dealing with the stress in Boston, Julien deserved a few months’ worth of beach time before he took another job. Obviously, he begged to differ. He’s ready to go to work and this old columnist, for one, couldn’t be happier.
I’ve dealt with every Canadiens coach since Pat Burns and to me, Julien and Alain Vigneault are numbers 1A and 1B when it comes to honesty, decency and character. In my world, character matters. Julien has character. He’s the real deal, salt of the earth, a standup guy, whatever you want to call him.
Julien is not a screamer and he won’t use Michel Therrien’s heavy-handed sarcasm to motivate a player. He’s honest, he lets his players know where they stand, he gets the job done.
MONTREAL (February 14, 2017) - Montreal Canadiens general manager, Marc Bergevin announced Tuesday the appointment of Claude Julien as the Club's new head coach. Michel Therrien has been relieved of his duties.
"I would like to sincerely thank Michel for his relentless work with the Montreal Canadiens over his eight seasons behind the bench, including the last five seasons when we worked together. The decision to remove Michel from his coaching duties was a difficult one because I have lots of respect for him. I came to the conclusion that our team needed a new energy, a new voice, a new direction. Claude Julien is an experienced and well respected coach with a good knowledge of the Montreal market. Claude has been very successful as an NHL coach and he won the Stanley Cup. Today we hired the best available coach, and one of the league's best. I am convinced that he has the capabilities to get our team back on the winning track," said Canadiens general manager, Marc Bergevin.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
I was curious the morning after if the NHL would share everyone else's enthusiasm with McCauley's emotional call, complete with his "put up your dukes" gesture. I mean, the days of NHL on-ice officials showing a lot of flair or personality or individualism appear to be long gone. No one is suggesting the guys in stripes should become the show, but there's no reason they can't genuinely contribute to it either.
So it was gratifying to hear NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkom say he had no issue with it, since McCauley's call was an accurate and true reflection of who he is and how he officiates a game. He has a passion and a feel for it; that's who Wes McCauley is.
More importantly, at least in terms of the "put up your dukes" fight signal, McCauley was actually following a directive from his superior.
"I loved that part because I used to do that and I've been telling the guys if they're signalling a fight, use it," Walkom said. "The funny thing is there has never been an actual signal for fighting in the NHL. We have always had an official signal for every other infraction but we have never had one for fighting.
If you haven't seen it, you can watch McCauley's call below...
Four minutes for high-sticking.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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