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» 2006 » January

  • Canadiens fire Claude Julien

    Bob Gainey surprised many today by firing Claude Julien as the Montreal Canadiens Head Coach. Bob Gainey will step in as interim Head Coach to finish this season but Gainey welcomed back Guy Carbonneau as “Associate coach” with a contract in place for him to become Head Coach next season. Gainey and Carbonneau are ex-teammates of course and also worked together in the past in Dallas. Carbonneau won 2 Stanley Cups with the Canadiens and is part of the rich history of the Habs.

    Doug Jarvis will remain with the team and also become “Associate Coach” but Rick Green was also let go. Roland Melanson still remains as Goaltending Coach.

    This is huge news for the Habs and a pretty big surprise. No one really anticipated this move including the players and Claude Julien himself. All the focus was on trade talk and although some thought maybe Julien would go, it was a longshot. You can’t help feel a little bad when a Coach is fired. Can you put it all on the shoulders of Claude Julien? Julien took the heat for his players. Did his players let him down? I think so. Julien was a likeable guy but in the world of pro sports that doesn’t mean anything. Winning games does. Julien was notified by phone at 7:15 AM and it must have been a rough wakeup. Julien’s efforts to turn the team around were too little and too late.

    What kind of changes can we expect? Well Gainey already announced Theodore will be back between the pipes tonight. In essence giving him a fresh start and hopefully in his mind he can start over and become the goalie he can be. Gainey particularly noted Sheldon Souray and Andrei Markov need to be better. He feels they can both be Top D-men in the league. I’d also expect to see lots more ice time for rookie talent like Perezhogin, Kostitsyn and Plekanec. They’ll be a new feeling in the air in the Canadiens dressing room and certain individuals won’t be playing much if they don’t wake up. What will this mean to Mike Ribeiro? Richard Zednik? Alex Kovalev? Sheldon Souray? Jose Theodore? It’s about to get a little more serious in the Canadiens dressing room.

    What does this mean for trade talk? Is their a blockbuster deal still in the works? I don’t think so. I think Theo is here to stay like it or not and if they do make a trade it’ll be close to the deadline and on a smaller scale. Ribeiro for a player of similar value. I don’t think Bertuzzi, Tanguay or Luongo (despite rejecting his contract) are coming over anytime soon. That being said, Bob Gainey is a sneaky sneaky guy and who knows what else is up his sleeve.

    This is a fresh start for the CH. Whether you liked Claude Julien or not, something had to change. As of today the Canadiens are a new team with a new direction and with this change right before their toughest stretch of the season, the Canadiens might contend again.

    hockey coach

  • Habs Trade Rumors

    The Montreal Canadiens trade rumors are still a hot topic. The traffic to this site has doubled during the Canadiens recent slide and as trade gossip increases. People really want to discuss what’s going on and what’s going to happen. So let’s look at it some more…

    Who or what are the Habs lacking in their lineup? Who is or who are dissapointments? Who still has trade value? What teams need something we can offer?

    I think most would agree that the Canadiens are missing solid goaltending. (Luongo, Khabibulin) It’s come to the point where waiting for Theodore to turn it around just isn’t an option anymore. It’s been too long and the longer we go the more we fade away. Cristobal Huet is emerging as a potential starting goalie but it’s far too early to know what he can do and how consisitent he can be. A lot of people would agree the Canadiens are lacking size and strength up front. The team is built for speed and skill which should be a good approach considering the ‘new NHL’ and the Canadiens show signs of brilliance when they manage to play that game. That being said, they can’t really compete with some of the big teams in the league and a big strong Power Forward (Bertuzzi) would be a good addition to the lineup.

    Some would say the Canadiens lack a #1 Defenceman. Sheldon Souray’s expectations were high coming into the year but maybe they were too high. His play has been better recently but his inconsistency doesn’t make him even close to a #1 D man. Andrei Markov is emerging as a leader but can’t do it alone. Someone needs to fill the shoes that Mathieu Dandenault was supposed to wear.

    No trade has been made yet. Just a lot of banter and hearsay. To actually get a meaninful player or players, we’ll have to give up something of value.

    Player Trade Value Dissapointment? Probability of Trade
    Jose Theodore High Yes Likely
    Mike Ribeiro Medium Yes Likely
    Sheldon Souray Medium Somewhat Potentially
    Mike Komisarek High No Potentially
    ? ? ? ?

    Who’s on the market? Who would the Habs be interested in?

    Player Position Team What do they need?
    Roberto Luongo G Florida Everything
    Alex Tanguay F Colorado Goaltending
    Todd Bertuzzi F Vancouver Goaltending
    Nikolai Khabibulin G Chicago Everything

    It’s fun to speculate but no one knows but Bob Gainey. If a trade happens it’ll probably be a package deal and it’ll be a big deal involving a big name or two. The Canadiens aren’t trading for 2007 3rd round draft picks. If they trade it’ll be to address their current problems and right away.