Saturday, 17 December 2011

Another coach falls but can his replacement change the fortunes around?

  Over the past couple of weeks, there has been numerous coaching changes in the NHL simply because the teams were struggling like the Ducks, Caps, Blues and Kings who fired Randy Carlyle, Bruce Boudreau, Davis Payne, and Terry Murray. Their replacements were Boudreau (Ducks) after being unemployed for 6 days, former NHLer Dale Hunter (Caps) who played 19 seasons, Ken Hitchcock (Blues) who won the cup as coach of the Dallas Stars in 1999, and John Stevens (Kings) who was the coach of the Flyers when the lost to the Pens in the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals.
   Now we can add another name to the list of fired coaches as the Montreal Canadiens after starting the season 13-12-7 and a 5-6-6 record at the Bell Center decided to fire Jacques Martin after 2 in a half seasons in which the Canadiens went on an improbable journey to the Eastern Conference Finals due to the strong play of Jaroslav Halak in 2010, losing in 7 games in the first round vs the eventual Stanley Cup Champs the Boston Bruins last season that also saw him win his 600th game on the final day vs the Toronto Maple Leafs. Replacing Martin is assistant coach Randy Cunneyworth which for the first time since the early 80's that they have an anglophone behind the bench. He brings a lot to the table as he played 20 seasons in the NHL, he also coached in the AHL with the Rochester Americans for 8 seasons with a record of 306-267-67 and the Bulldogs for 1 seasons and was an assistant coach with the Atlanta Thrashers for 2 seasons. Even though he is a rookie head coach, he has what it takes to change the fortunes around but the ultimate question is can he do it in a pressure cooker like in Montreal where over the past decade, most coaches last only for a few years? Well his peformance as coach will dictate whether GM Pierre Gauthier decided to remove the interim tag on him or keep him for next season.