Who Should Be the Next Montreal Canadiens' Bench Boss?

Zach AmaralContributor IMarch 20, 2009

Who should be the next Montreal Canadiens’ head coach?

“Le blue, blanc et rouge” should bring in an established coach this time around. It should be a guy that has gained his respect and taken his licks through his coaching career.

There are many candidates such as past coaches, past players, assistants, and minor league coaches.

The men rumored to be considered are Patrick Roy, Bob Hartley, Don Lever, Pat Quinn, Peter Laviolette, Tom Renney, and Marc Crawford. The latter four do not speak the French language.

While I don’t have a problem with the next bench boss speaking one language, it will be tough for him to succeed with the crazy French media. Jacques Lemaire could be another candidate as it’s rumored he’s on his way out of can’t grab a playoff spot.

We must remember that while Lemaire would be a great coach, he did walk away from the pressure in the mid 80s.

Three of the seven above are men I would consider for the job. Laviolette and Hartley each have won cups, which is key. These two know what needs to be done to reach the Stanley Cup finals and if given a solid team they can prepare their players for the big games.

All three have a career winning percentage over .500 and have coached a good mix of skilled, young, and gifted players. There is currently a similar situation in Montreal, as they have a young, skilled team that’s not hitting their peak.

The Habs need to find a player’s coach that knows when to lay down the law and push the right buttons. Hartley hits those pre-requisites, along with Renney and Laviolette.

Hartley won the cup with Colorado in 2000-2001, went to the conference finals on three other occasions, and worked with Atlanta, taking them to the playoffs after their first division win.

Laviolette has been to the playoffs three years in his six years of coaching while being the boss to a middle-of-the-pack team for many seasons. Renney has been to the playoffs the past three seasons, but has a sub-.500 playoff winning percentage.

Hartley has the best playoff winning percentage of the three, which is key for a playoff team looking for a new bench boss.

The fact is the Canadiens have been thinking too much about a French-speaking coach, and should focus on bringing in the best coach they can lure. Hartley being bilingual should be icing on the cake for Montreal’s management when considering a new head coach.