Thursday, June 7, 2012

Habs Roundup: Therrien in, Randys Out, Lapointe on his way, Subban, Price

There has been a flurry of activity on the Habs front over the last few days. First, Michel Therrien was named as head coach in what amounts to new GM, Marc Bergevin's, first big decision.

And an agonizing decision it was too.

Apparently, Bergevin really struggled to choose between Marc Crawford and Therrien, in what amounted to a photo finish.

At the end of the day, it is believed that Bergevin went with Therrien because he has coached in Montreal before. And that alone was the deciding factor, allowed Therrien to narrowly edge out Crawford for the job.

Word has it that Crawford was absolutely crushed by the news, wanting very badly to coach the Habs. Moreover, he seemingly was doing everything in his power, including taking intensive French lessons, to get the job.

How does it shake out?

I have previously written about why I wasn't a fan of bringing in Therrien, and why I would have gone with Crawford instead.

But what I didn't mention is that I wasn't really a huge fan of either.

The fact is that Bergevin was fishing in a brutally shallow pool for a head coach, and that had little to do with the French-speaking requirement. The reality is that there really aren't many (any?) outstanding coaches sitting on the sidelines right now...French or English speaking.

It just wasn't a great time to be looking. Period.

That said, for me, I just wanted to see the team go in a new and different direction, hence my Crawford pick.

Still, I will fully give Mr. Therrien (did I just whip out a Gauthier-ism there??) the benefit of the doubt. He says he has learned and changed and, for what it's worth, I believe him. But the proof is ultimately in the pudding, so I'll certainly be reserving judgement.

Getting the boot

The day after Therrien was put in place, his two provisional assistants were let go. And so ends the miserable saga of the Randy's Cunneyworth and Ladouceur in Montreal.

What ugliness.

You've got to feel for these guys too. Thrown into an impossible situation. Hired to be fired. However you look at it, this was one of the most classless things that was done in the Pierre Gauthier era, and that's saying a lot.

While the two Randy's didn't achieve that much on the ice, they certainly garnered a lot of sympathy off of it. GMs, coaches and the like around the league saw what happened to these two and, to see them take the beating with heads held high has to bode well for them.

Moreover, I wouldn't be surprised if both or either of them find new employment elsewhere in the league in the not-so-distant future.

Familiar faces

According to TSN, ex-NHLer, Martin Lapointe, is about to be named the Habs Director of Player development.

The move makes sense on a lot of level, since Lapointe and Bergevin (like his previous two management hires) have a lot of history together.

Lapointe was actually looking at either the assistant coach or Director of Player Development position, but opted for the latter, preferring to work in management.

Trevor Timmins, who by all accounts has impressed Bergevin beyond belief, was/is the Director of Player Development, so I'm not sure what this exactly means for him. Given how blown away Bergevin is by Timmins, I highly doubt this means he will be put out to pasture.

What it likely means, however, is so shifting of responsibilities. We'll have to wait for the presser on that on to get all the details.

Negotiations start

According to Sportsnet
, Bergevin has begun negotiations with P.K. Subban and Carey Price. Listed as top priorities for Bergevin at his initial press conference, it seems like he is confident that they will be able to hammer out a deal.

And why not? These two are cornerstones of the franchise going forward. All that remains to be seen is the price tag (no pun intended) and term he attaches to them.

Subban's contract will likely be a little easier, since he had a slight step back last season (but who didn't?).

Price, on the other hand, is in more of a position to command top dollars. That doesn't mean he'll get it, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him locked up for five-plus years at $6.5 million or more.

Whatever happens, it is clear that Bergevin has a plan and is executing it one step at a time.

Bet ya can't wait till he deals with the Scott Gomez contract, eh?

Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of, and Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Kamal is also a regular on-air contributor on TSN 990, CJAD, and LiveSport New Zealand.

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(Photo: Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images North America)


Good stuff KP!

But, saying we can't wait for Bergevin to deal with Gomez is an understatement. That is top priority in my books. And, like most, I don't much care what he does, as long as Gomez isn't in Montreal next year.

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