The Upper Canadien
And with a sweeping reach back to 2001-02, when Jose Theodore was great, Saku Koivu was a hero (still is), and Donald Audette was a playoff luminary, Marc Bergevin shocked no one and named Michel Therrien head coach of the Montreal Canadiens (again).
Let’s just get this out of the way: yes, he shouldn’t have had Bill Lindsay on the ice, and yes, Yanic Perreault should have taken the face-off. He hasn’t coached since he was in Pittsburgh, and he hasn’t won anything at the NHL level. They’re talking points, but we’ve heard them a lot today. Let’s move on.
Now, what sort of coach will Therrien be? A defensive, gritty, hard-nosed leader who demands accountability. What will that mean for Montreal? Perhaps a lot more of the Jacques Martin hockey that was loathed, but with a touch of physical play and a lot more emotion. Therrien is known as a short-tempered bench boss, someone who let’s the referees know when they’ve made a mistake, and let’s his players know when they’ve crossed him.
Is that what Montreal needs? I don’t think it necessarily is - but I also think that just about anything is an improvement on the previous regime, so I’m willing to give Bergevin a pass here.
So Hartley is out, and now word from RDS that Patrick Roy is no longer in the running to be coach of the Montreal Canadiens:
That leaves Michel Therrien and Marc Crawford as the favourites, with whispers of Guy Carbonneau and a few others being candidates as well.
I’d have to think Therrien is the favourite, given his background. However, Crawford, or Carbonneau for that matter, would also be a solid choice. That said, don’t be surprised if Marc Bergevin throws a curveball and a name comes out of nowhere. Denis Savard, perhaps?
Bergevin clearly has a clear idea of where he wants to take the Canadiens, and he’ll want his own guy in there from the get go. As such, this could take a few more weeks, as the new Habs management team plots their course. If I had to guess, I’d suggest a coach will be in place for the draft. As to who it will be - your guess is as good as mine.
As you probably know by now, the Canadiens named Scott Mellanby Director of Player Personnel earlier today, as GM Marc Bergevin begins to build his staff.
Meanwhile, more speculation that Bob Hartley is the front runner for the Habs head coaching job, discussed today in the Montreal Gazette and on the radio. However, of note, Hartley is a regular on RDS, and I have yet to hear one of his colleagues mention the strength of his candidacy. Hartley would be a solid choice, being a Stanley Cup winner, French speaker and strong media personality. That said, he’s not my favourite - I like Guy Carbonneau taking the reins again - but Hartley would be a good choice nonetheless.
Breaking news via the Canadiens official Twitter account: Rick Dudley is now assistant GM of the Montreal Canadiens.
I’m on the road the next 3 days (this is via iPhone) but I will have more commentary next week. Until then: great addition, as Dudley is one of the best talent evaluators in the game today.
Pure speculation at this point, but Subban tweeted this to followers earlier this evening:
P.K. Subban @PKSubban1
Big announcement coming soon… All my #twitts and #subbaniacs stay tuned…
Subban, and teammate Carey Price, are both restricted free agents this off-season.
From TSN’s Bob McKenzie:
Bob McKenzie @TSNBobMcKenzie
MTL is in process of touching base with potential head coach candidates incl Michel Therrien, Guy Carbonneau, Marc Crawford, Bob Hartley etc
I still like Carbonneau. He’s got unfinished business in Montreal, and he was a damn good coach. Should never have been fired in the first place.
As expected, Rick Dudley is on the verge of jumping from Toronto to Montreal to assume the Assistant General Manager’s post with his friend, Mark Bergevin.
Darren Dreger @DarrenDreger
Expect Rick Dudley to be soon named asst gm of the Mtl Canadiens. Marc Bergevin and Leafs gm Brian Burke are in discussions.
Darren Dreger @DarrenDreger
Dudley’s move is complicated as he’s done extensive work on Draft for Tor. Leafs would prefer his start with Mtl be delayed to after Draft.
So we’ve got Marc Bergevin. He wasn’t my first choice, but I think he’ll do a solid job. My major concern? Not sure he would have been considered for a GM post anywhere else at this point, and I’d certainly never heard his name mentioned until the Montreal vacancy appeared. No one can deny that language plays a role in Montreal, and I believe it did here to. That said, the Canadiens are in good hands, and I have no doubt Bergevin will surround himself with good people.
My first move if I was in his shoes? I’d be phoning the runner-up, Pierre McGuire, and asking him to be assistant GM. Even Serge Savard commented on the radio yesterday that McGuire probably knows more about players across the NHL than anyone else going today. If that isn’t an endorsement, I don’t know what is. Rick Dudley would be another good addition to the front office. More than anything, I’d like to see some depth at the Bell Centre. Enough of the one man show. The Canadiens are a tradition, a spiritual necessity, and they need to start acting like it again. The press conference yesterday suggests they are, finally, doing that again. Now, let’s see it continue.
Now onto the head coaching vacancy. Derrière le banc. Who’s on the longlist? Who knows. But my best guesses, based on logic, media coverage, and the unemployed:
Reports out of Chicago this morning have Marc Bergevin being named the new General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens, after he and Pierre McGuire apparently received final interviews this week. Bergevin, after seven years with the Blackhawks, would be joining the Canadiens for the first time in what has been a long NHL career, both as a player and an executive. Who might Bergevin name as his head coach? Many will note that his last NHL coach was Marc Crawford, a bilingual Stanley Cup winner who has been mentioned more than once as a potential candidate to take over the Habs.
And this, from Bob McKenzie on Twitter:
Bob McKenzie @TSNBobMcKenzie
As per reports out of CHI/MTL, Marc Bergevin is new MTL GM. Pierre McGuire was informed by Geoff Molson this a.m. he was runnerup.
Are you happy with Bergevin? He was my second choice, but better him than the old guard that always seems to assume these sorts of situations and bungle them mightily.
Welcome to Montreal Marc Bergevin…as long as the reports out of Chicago are true.
Not Habs related, but I had to share this link. Anyone who ever suggests bloggers do not have a place in the professional sports conversation, please read this article and realize that, in fact, if this passes for professional journalism then everyone has a say.
About The Upper Canadien
The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.
I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.
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