He simply would not have slipped through their fingers.
Listening to TSN 990 this morning, it seems that the Canadiens have followed the same hiring process for their coach as they did with their GM.
That is, they made a huge list, cut it back to a handful, did initial interviews, made the group smaller still, and are now poised to make a decision.
Making the cut
The rumoured list of finalists is/was Bob Hartley, Patrick Roy, Michel Therrien, and Marc Crawford. Give that Hartley is now with the Flames, he is clearly off the list.
Next up is Roy, whose fiery temperament and lack of NHL experience make him a pretty risky hire. Also, it is rumoured that Roy has been making some demands that perhaps make him even less attractive to new GM Marc Bervegin.
But, to me, the bottom line is that you have you think Bergevin doesn't need for his coaching hire to become a potential problem. And going down the Roy path could do exactly that.
So, eliminating Roy from the equation leaves Therrien and Crawford as the last two men standing.
Just say no
To me, if these are the two choices left, then Crawford should be the hands-down selection. Why? Well, he's got the experience, pedigree and demeanor to last in Montreal.
Calm in the face of the media, fiery behind the bench, and able to adapt on the fly, Crawford would be a great fit for the Habs.
Moreover, he speaks French, so you can tick that qualification off the list too. Also, he is supposedly taking a French intensive course right now, so read into that what you will.
As for Therrien, well, I wouldn't go near him with a ten-foot pole. It's not that he's not a good coach, but he is a gruff, bully of a leader. As such, he's the type of old-school guy who tends to wear out his welcome pretty quickly.
The end result is that the team stops listening and he gets fired.
Just ask the Pens, who went on to win the Cup the same year Therrien was fired—under Dan Bylsma. No, the new breed of coach has to be able to speak to his players without berating them all. And Therrien is not that man.
Sure he knows the market and that is experience that you can't easily overlook. And that, to me, is why he's still in the running. But hiring Therrien would mean that is two to three years, the Habs would once again be on the hunt for a new coach.
And after almost two decades of a carousel in the coaching and GM fronts, that is certainly a problem they would do well to avoid.
So what do you think? Who would you chose as the Habs head coach?
Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com, and Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com. Kamal is also a regular on-air contributor on TSN 990, CJAD, and LiveSport New Zealand.
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(Photo Victor Decolongon/Getty Images North America)