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The Upper Canadien

Bergevin’s reign begins: so who’s the coach?

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:

Bob Hartley
Michel Therrien
Marc Crawford
Benoit Groulx
Pascal Vincent
Patrick Roy
Guy Carbonneau
Andy Murray
Craig MacTavish
Larry Robinson
Denis Savard
Clement Jodoin

and, should he not return in Vancouver, Alain Vigneault.

Now, who’s on the shortlist? Well, we know that ownership interviewed Bergevin and McGuire regarding Roy as head coach, so he’s on there. Bob Hartley is another name that makes sense, based on experience, his Stanley Cup win, and his ties to Quebec as a former broadcaster. Marc Crawford was Bergevin’s last coach when he was playing. Denis Savard is known to be a good friend, and former colleague, of Bergevin’s. Guy Carbonneau had a strong stint before being turfed, very suddenly, by former GM Bob Gainey. And Vigneault is respected league wide for his hockey acumen.

So there are some names to chew on. My two cents? Well, Carbonneau has something to prove. I’d love to see him as part of the new staff. Andy Murray is another very, very intelligent hockey man who once worked for the Habs in a front office capacity. Heck, for that matter, Jacques Martin wouldn’t be a bad addition as an assistant. Patrick Roy is too emotional. Therrien is a retread. I wouldn’t mind seeing a fresh face, but someone with a history of winning. Marc Crawford jumps to mind off that list, as does Robinson - though he’s known to have declined the opportunity in the past.

And so, we play the waiting game again. However, this time, we know who the puppeteer is. Now the offseason fun can begin.

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Comments

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If Michel Therrien is a re-tread, how is Guy Carbonneau or Alain Vigneault not?  Therrien had a lot of success coaching the Penguins, more than Carbo ever had here.

Posted by Jean-Paul on 05/04/12 at 09:45 AM ET

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Sorry, forgot to add, I think you’re bang on about Patrick Roy being too emotional, but I don’t understand why you don’t apply that same logic to Pierre McGuire? Also an overly emotional guy.  Last thing about McGuire v. Bergevin and the question of language: McGuire lived in MontrĂ©al for a long time, he speaks French, I’ve heard him speak French in a coffee shop here.

Posted by Jean-Paul on 05/04/12 at 09:46 AM ET

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Hi Jean-Paul: you’re absolutely right regarding Therrien/Carbo/Vigneault, but I meant a retread as a head coach. Carbo would make a very fine assistant (or assistant GM for that matter, he has experience from Dallas). Vigneault is the exception, because he’s gone on to some pretty good successes that Therrien and Carbonneau can’t match.

As for McGuire, you’re absolutely right, but he’s not seen as French by the media in Quebec - and that’s largely what matters. He’s referred to as an Anglo, or an American. That’s what differentiates him and Bergevin the most.

Should be a very interesting next few weeks. Thanks for the comments.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 05/04/12 at 09:50 AM ET

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I would be extremely surprised if Robinson were to throw his hat in the ring. His last head coaching stint ended because of stress-related health problems. He seems to much prefer the relative quiet of NJ, or perhaps going back to Florida semi-retirement (having gone back and forth to stabilize the Devils bench in recent seasons.) That Montreal circus would be much, much more chaotic.

Posted by Dave on 05/04/12 at 11:35 AM ET

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I can’t help but wonder why we expect next year to be any different.  Anytime a team is run by a committee like the Habs were under the ownership scheme that led to their sale to begin with, the Committee structure has spelled disaster in Montreal.  Maybe it is time we as fans ask the ownership committee that runs the habs to back off and let the GM actually run things for once.  We had enough of the experiment.  Let hockey be run by hockey legends who can get us cups again in Montreal!  Do you hear that Geoff Molson?  Maybe it is time you let by gones be by gones and let the GM and coach actually play hockey in Montreal.  Enough of the priority of rock concerts and hockey comes second.  Canada has had enough of this, we need the dynasty back for the good of Canada!

Posted by habsfannorth from Iqaluit, nunavut on 05/08/12 at 01:32 PM ET

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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.

Questions or comments? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com