by PuckStopsHere on 12/20/11 at 03:30 PM ET
In an ideal world, the only concern a team should have in making a decision is will it help the team to win. This should be the bottom line around which all personnel and coaching decisions are made. In Montreal they have recently fired coach Jacques Martin and replaced him with Randy Cunneyworth. There is uproar in Quebec, largely among non-hockey fans, that it is outrageous that the Habs coach does not speak French. This is an unnecessary distraction that keeps Montreal from winning. Montreal needs to hire the best coach available regardless of if he speaks English, French or Japanese.
In responce to the uproar, Montreal owner Geoff Molson has affirmed this opinion and stated that Cunneyworth is an interim coach and that French is very important for their coach.
It is bad enough that the ill-timed coaching change was forced in part by pressure from the fans. The problem in Montreal was not a coaching problem and now they appear to have one. Martin is an acceptable coach and likely Cunneyworth will be too. It is unlikely that either will be the top coach in the league or the worst coach. The problem is they now have a coach who is undercut by ownership.
People are now setting odds for the Montreal coach next season and several top coaches are missing or downgraded because they don’t speak French. The leading candidate is Patrick Roy. Roy is best known as an NHL goaltender, but he has coached the Quebec Remparts, the team he owns in the QMJHL. This doesn’t make him a better coach than Cunneyworth, who has NHL assistant coach experience and nine years AHL head coaching experience.
If Montreal’s coaching decisions are made for non-hockey reasons then the wrong decision will likely be made. When the wrong decisions are made the team is less likely to win. This is done because Quebec politicians and French language activists are given input into the Montreal coaching decisions. They are not interested in building a winning hockey team and are preventing it from being accomplished.
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