Tuesday, July 26, 2011

On Coaching and the Gorges Contract

by Louis Moustakas

On Coaching

For all the focus typically reserved for player development, the Montreal Canadiens have received an insufficient amount of credit for their ability to nurture talented young coaches. Michel Therrien took the Penguins to a Cup Final a few years ago. The highly touted Guy Boucher led the Lightning to the Conference Final in his rookie season. And, this spring, two former Habs bench bosses, Claude Julien and Alain Vigneault squared off in the Stanley Cup Final.

The departure of Kirk Muller, who will take over the reins of the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals, certainly leaves a hole behind the bench. But if the organization’s past ability to develop coaches is any indication, the duo of Randy Cunneyworth and Randy Ladouceur should prove to be able replacements.

On Gorges

Josh Gorges recently signed a one-year, 2.5 million dollar deal with the Canadiens. The brevity of this contract took many by surprise. It was generally expected that the well-respected blueliner would be signed to a multi-year deal, especially considering his leadership role on the team and relationship with Carey Price.

Reservations about his injury, questions about the next collective bargaining agreement and cap savings have been cited as the main reasons behind this relatively conservative deal. As my colleague Brian La Rose of HabsWorld also points out, the presence of youngsters like Yannick Weber, Rafael Diaz, Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu may have also adversely impacted Gorges negotiating position.

However, in the end, by attempting to minimize the uncertainty associated with the above factors, the Canadiens added a new risk to the equation: losing Gorges. Once his new contract expires, he will become an Unrestricted Free Agent, eligible to sign wherever he pleases.

Gorges seems like he truly wants to remain in Montreal and has the reputation of being very loyal. One has to wonder, though, why test this loyalty at all?

Louis is an editor at HabsWorld.net and has been writing about Canadiens and NHL hockey since 2009. Louis was born in Chicago but grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval. He currently lives in Ottawa and works for the Coaching Association of Canada. He can be reached at l.moustakas@habsworld.net.


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