Montreal Canadiens: Breaking Down the Potential Coaches
An abysmal season by the Montreal Canadiens has seen them finish last for the first time in franchise history, sparking panic within the organization. Interim head coach Randy Cunneyworth took the helm midway through the year leading his team to a 31-35-16 record—far short of preseason expectations.
To add fuel to the fire, according to USA Today, Cunneyworth was the first Habs coach in four decades to not speak the native tongue of Quebec—French. This caused outrage amongst the Montreal fans who demanded that the tradition of the franchise be kept intact and for a new head coach be set in place.
Here is a list of the possible coaches that can fulfill the Canadiens language requirement, as well as put the team back in playoff contention for the 2012/2013 season.
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Marc Crawford is an experienced candidate, with a 14 year coaching resume in the NHL as a testament to his success.
He was a Stanley Cup champion with the Avalanche in the 1994/1995 season, and is a fluent French speaker thanks to his time with the Quebec Nordiques in 1994.
With such a plethora of know-how and a knack of getting the job done, Crawford may be exactly what the doctor ordered for the struggling Canadiens.
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After being fired by the Canadiens back in 2003, it seems as though Therrien is once again in contention to take the hot seat in Montreal.
Even though he has been out of a head coaching job since 2009 when he was released by the Penguins, he is a Montreal native with bags of experience.
And yes, he speaks fluent French.
It is difficult to say whether the Canadiens will be willing to risk the resigning of a previously unsuccessful coach, but we've seen it happen before with outstanding results (ie: John Tortorella with the Rangers).
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Another man firmly in the hunt for the head coaching position is Ontario native Bob Hartley.
Success seems to follow this guy wherever he goes. He won a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001, and led the Atlanta Thrashers to the franchise's solitary playoff berth in the 2006/2007 season. In more recent history (2011), he won a championship with the ZSC Lions, a professional team in Zurich, Switzerland.
It also bodes well for Hartley that his primary language is French.
He has shown he has the credentials, and now it is up to Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin to decide whether or not he sees Hartley as the right man for the job.
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A surprising and somewhat unlikely candidate for the job is Patrick Roy, the legendary retired goaltender who plied his trade with the Canadiens from 1985-1995.
He made 550 appearances for the Habs, and his jersey, No. 33, has since been retired.
Roy has no coaching experience in the NHL, but everyone has to make their start somewhere, right?
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Finally, current assistant coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning Daniel Lacroix could be the man to take over for the Canadiens next season.
Born and bred in Montreal, the former left wing—who retired from the NHL in 2000—speaks fluent French and has been ever present in the development of youth hockey players in Quebec throughout his career.
At the age of 43, Raymond is still young and will surely need some time to mature as a coach, but who better to take the reigns than a man with such a deep involvement with the city?