The Montreal Canadiens have taken a bold move to start the day. They have relieved head coach Claude Julien and Associate head coach Kirk Muller are their coaching duties. Dominque Ducharme has been promoted to the interim head coaching position with Alex Burrows joining him. This is a huge shakeup on a team that has looked unbeatable at times this season. The teams announced the changes early Wednesday morning.
The Canadiens have appointed Dominique Ducharme interim head coach and have added Alex Burrows to the coaching staff. Claude Julien and Kirk Muller have been relieved of their coaching duties. https://t.co/rhkfrD9m8f
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) February 24, 2021
Canadiens Replace Claude Julien
It’s hard to detail just how huge this move is. The Canadiens are one of the deepest and most talented teams in the league this year. They began the 2020-21 campaign by losing five of their first eight games in the month of January. Two of the three losses were in overtime or the post-overtime shootout. Montreal is fifth in goals-scored and a respectable 16 in goals-against. There is very little to criticize from a raw statistical standpoint.
It is not like many did not see this coming. There had been rumblings out of Montreal for the past week that a change could be coming. Montreal is not like most places in the hockey world. Management could not have been happy watching the team lose its last three games, including two to the rebuilding Ottawa Senators. Not to mention they have lost three games to the Senators this season. The Habs are also below the league average on special teams. A power play ranked 20th and penalty kill at 22nd simply isn’t good enough when expectations are as high as they are for the Quebec franchise.
What This Means Moving Forward
This does two things. First, it shows that Montreal is not scared of making a switch when they see an opportunity to try something different. The new staff will likely be very aggressive in correcting the team’s slide down the North Division standings. It can’t be fun looking up at national rival Toronto, who has the most points in the entire NHL.
It also puts a very good coach on the open market. Julien has a career .548 winning percentage. He seemed to struggle with the Canadian franchise, but this is a coach that has one Stanley Cup victory. He should have no trouble getting a job again.
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