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Coaching Change In Montreal

MONTREAL - Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced on Wednesday that head coach Claude Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller were relieved of their coaching duties with the Canadiens earlier today.

The organization also announced having promoted Dominique Ducharme as interim head coach in addition to the appointment of Alex Burrows to the Canadiens' coaching staff. Luke Richardson and Stéphane Waite retain their respective duties within the coaching group.

"I would like to sincerely thank Claude and Kirk for their contributions to our team over the past five years during which we worked together. I have great respect for these two men whom I hold in high regard," said Bergevin. "In Dominique Ducharme, we see a very promising coach who will bring new life and new energy to our group. We feel that our team can achieve high standards and the time had come for a change. "

Ducharme, 47, is being promoted to the interim head coaching position after two seasons as an assistant coach with the Club. A native of Joliette, Ducharme joined the Canadiens coaching staff in April 2018 after 10 seasons in the QMJHL. He hoisted the Memorial Cup with the Halifax Mooseheads in 2012-13. That same year, Ducharme earned the CHL's Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award, while also being recognized in the QMJHL with the Ron Lapointe Trophy as the top coach in the league. Ducharme served as head coach for Canada during the IIHF World Junior Championship in 2017 (silver medal) and 2018 (gold medal).

Marc Bergevin and Dominique Ducharme will address the media this afternoon when the team arrives in Winnipeg. Information regarding the press conference will follow shortly.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

TreKronor's avatar

Hey look, Blash WASN’T the first coach fired!!!!

It’s an interesting move from MTL; depending on how their next few games go they could be anywhere between 2nd to 3rd in the division given the number of games they have in hand vs. the Oilers. 

Bergevin seems to be the master of staying half a step ahead of receiving criticism.

Posted by TreKronor on 02/24/21 at 12:50 PM ET

The Meal's avatar

I felt MTL overperformed at the beginning of the season, and is currently underperforming.  To some extent Julien set expectations higher than I thought were warranted (though in the offseason leading into this season many of the pundits were higher on this club than I was, so what do I know?), and now he’s paid for those higher expectations.

I definitely agree with TreKronor that Bergevin has a knack for pulling triggers just ahead of the storm washing up on his shore.

Were I a Canadien fan, I’d be excited to see what some new blood brings in for this club.  But I was never much of a Julien fan in the first place, so again, what do I know?

Posted by The Meal from Firestone, CO on 02/24/21 at 01:03 PM ET

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I’m interested to see what Ducharme can do and how much leash they give him.  Now that Bergy fired CJ he’s all out of bullets, the next head to roll will likely be his if things don’t improve soon.

Posted by dwgs on 02/24/21 at 03:04 PM ET

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I don’t know much about Julien, but I do like the way the Bruins played when he was their coach.  I’d take him over Blashill, just because at this point I think a different voice might be what the players need.  Blashill is a great guy, and I know he doesn’t have much to work with, but too many players have regressed under his watch. I’m sure they will ride out the season with him, but knowing that Gallant and now Julien are available makes me wish that Stevie would make a move before they end up taking other jobs. 

Posted by MikeO on 02/24/21 at 03:43 PM ET

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felt MTL overperformed at the beginning of the season, and is currently underperforming.  To some extent Julien set expectations higher than I thought were warranted (though in the offseason leading into this season many of the pundits were higher on this club than I was, so what do I know?), and now he’s paid for those higher expectations.

I completely agree. Expectations were way too high going into this season based on a couple of roster moves. I thought it was insane that so many were predicting them to win the Canadian Tire division or is it the Tim Horton’s division.

Those lofty expectations put Bergevin on the hot seat and he knew this latest slump could mean his job. He did the smart thing (for him at least), firing the coach,  and taking the focus off of him temporarily.

It’ll likely take more than just making the playoffs for Bergevin to save himself. He’ll certainly try to spin any failures as the team taking time to adjust to the new coach. But the fans/press in Montreal are expecting much more. Bergevin could have this team headed in the right direction and still be out of a job come June.

Posted by evileye on 02/25/21 at 11:01 AM ET

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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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