Current interim head coach Dominique Ducharme may be the team’s next permanent man behind the bench
The Montreal Canadiens fired head coach Claude Julien on Feb. 24, after four years with the team. The Habs have missed the playoffs twice with Julien. Last season, the Canadiens were lucky enough to be the lowest-ranked club to qualify for the playoffs in a unique COVID-19 playoff format that saw 24 teams fight for the title.
Dominique Ducharme, who was already assistant coach, is taking the lead behind the bench for the rest of the season. However, it’s unsure if the Canadiens will look to bring in a new head coach for the upcoming seasons during the summer or if they will officially make Ducharme their new head coach.
This could depend on the team’s performances this season. After what looked like a solid start to this season, the team has been lacking consistency these past weeks, and losses have been more frequent than wins.
If Canadiens’ General Manager Marc Bergevin wants to sign a more experienced head coach this summer, there are some good candidates. However, we know that this Montreal market has always looked for bilingual coaches. In that category, options are very limited in terms of established coaches.
Gerard Gallant would be a familiar face to the Canadiens. He was an assistant coach with the team during the 2012‒13 season. He then coached the Florida Panthers and the Vegas Golden Knights. He has experience with veterans and rookies.
Another candidate could be former Dallas Stars head coach and current St. Louis Blues Assistant Head Coach Jim Montgomery. While not as experienced as Gallant, Montgomery has a 67-49-10 record in the National Hockey League (NHL), and an impressive 125-57-26 record with the Denver Pioneers in college hockey.
No matter Bergevin’s decision, it will need to be for the long term, as this Canadiens team is packed with young players and a promising future.
Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion