What the Puck: Canadians’ change must start with a new head coach


Things are going from bad to worse for Canadians and management must act. The first thing to do is firefighter trainer Dominique Ducharme.

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The Canadiens’ management treat the team’s fans with utter contempt.


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The Habs are one of the worst teams in the NHL. They’re 30th in the 32-team league, but it’s not even just the points. I had the misfortune of witnessing the 6-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday and the Habs were indeed a team that didn’t even want to win the game.

When nearly every player on the team sucks eggs, which was the case in Washington, there is something really wrong with that room. However, general manager Marc Bergevin said a few days ago that they were staying the course, that no radical changes are to come.

I would tell you what President Geoff Molson says about all of this, but he’s still hiding under his desk, where he’s spent most of the past two years. His team crumbles apocalyptically to the ground and he can’t take five minutes to address the Habs Nation? This is not to treat the fans of the team, the ordinary workers who pay his wages with respect.


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Molson and Bergevin might care, but it doesn’t seem like they care at all about the pain they cause to the people who love this team so much. If they cared, they would do something.

If they cared, they would fire head coach Dominique Ducharme. I spoke with prominent sports scribe Roy MacGregor last week and we had a quick chat about the Habs. The first thing MacGregor said is that Ducharme’s body language is terrible, that he seems to have lost the coin.

Looks like that because he lost the room. These players have lost respect for their rookie head coach, who has an appalling 20-30-9 record in the regular season. He was the coach when they reached the Stanley Cup final, but it’s now clear that they didn’t make it to the final because of him.


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They reached the final because Carey Price played like he had never played before, Shea Weber took the team under his iron grip, Corey Perry provided a lot of inspiration and the group jellied in such a way. magical.

Ducharme has to leave, but Molson won’t let Bergevin fire him because the GM made the mistake of signing him this summer for a three-year contract. They are still paying Claude Julien $ 5 million this season and it turns out that Julien’s firing and his replacement by Ducharme was a big blunder.

The elephant in the hall is the unwritten rule that the coach must speak French. I understand the thought behind it, although I relish the rich irony that the guy who is the hardest pushing the agenda forward as the coach and the bilingual GM be is a dude who lives in upper Westmount and is a member of one of the richest and most famous families in Anglo Montreal.


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I believe that French-speaking Quebecers would accept a unilingual English-speaking coach if he made the team a competitor and immediately began to make serious efforts to learn French. Air Canada boss Michael Rousseau is the standard bearer for scornful English speakers who don’t believe they should speak the language of the majority. This is so wrong.

But anyone can learn a second language. So why isn’t the Canadiens coach learning French?

But forget about language policy. Go find a French-speaking coach. Anyone would do better than Ducharme. What is astounding is that they had a good French-speaking coach, Joël Bouchard, who is great with young players, and they let him go. While we’re talking about letting the good French-speaking talent on the A list go, they also had Julien BriseBois – who just won two Stanley Cups with Tampa – and they let him go before Bergevin was hired.


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Instead of planning for the future, they not only destroy the squad, but potentially damage their two best young players, Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. They gave Suzuki a huge contract and named him # 1 center far too soon. He’s a good player, but he’s far from ready to be the No.1 cross.

And rather than make a cohesive plan for Caufield, a natural goalscorer, they started him with the big team, sent him into the minors and called him back. He still looks lost, even though he finally scored his first goal of the season on Wednesday.

There is simply no reflection in the executive suites. When cash is the top priority, you spend a lot of time worrying about language policy and public relations. And hockey comes a long way third.

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