What the Puck: Canadiens’ change must begin with a new head coach

Things are going from bad to worse for the Canadiens and management needs to act. The first thing to do is the fire brigade trainer Dominique Ducharme.

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Canadiens’ management is treating the team’s fans with utter contempt.

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The Habs are one of the worst teams in the NHL. They are thirtieth in the 32-team championship, but it’s not even about points. I had the misfortune to witness the 6-3 defeat to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday and the Habs played well a team that didn’t even want to win the game.

When almost every player on the team sucks eggs, as is the case in Washington, there is something very wrong with that room. Yet general manager Marc Bergevin said a few days ago that they are keeping the course, that no radical changes are on the way.

I’d tell you what President Geoff Molson says about all of this, but it’s still hiding under his desk, where he’s spent most of the past two years. Is his team collapsing apocalyptically to the ground and can’t he spend five minutes talking to the Habs Nation? This is not treating the team’s fans with respect, the normal workers who pay his salary.

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Molson and Bergevin might care, but it seems they don’t care about the pain they are causing to the people who love this team so much. If they cared, they would do something.

If they cared, they would fire head coach Dominique Ducharme. I spoke to esteemed sports reporter Roy MacGregor last week and we had a quick chat about the Habs. The first thing MacGregor said is that Ducharme’s body language is terrible, that he seems to have lost the room.

It seems so because he lost the room. These players have lost respect for their head coach, who has an abysmal record of 20-30-11 in the regular season. He was the manager when they made it to the Stanley Cup final, but now it’s clear they didn’t make it to the final because of him.

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They made it to the final because Carey Price played like he had never played before, Shea Weber took the team under his iron grasp, Corey Perry provided a lot of inspiration and the group joined in a magical way.

Ducharme has to leave, but Molson won’t allow Bergevin to fire him because the GM made the mistake of hiring him on a three-year contract this summer. They are still paying Claude Julien $ 5 million this season and it turns out that firing Julien and replacing him with Ducharme was a big gaffe.

The elephant in the room is the unwritten rule that the coach must speak French. I understand the thinking behind that, even as I savor the rich irony that the guy who is the hardest line in carrying on the agenda that the coach And the bilingual GM is a guy who lives in Upper Westmount and is a member of one of Montreal’s richest and most famous families.

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I believe that French-speaking Quebecers would accept a unilingual English-speaking coach Self turned the team into a contender And he immediately began to make serious efforts to learn French. Air Canada chief Michael Rousseau is the poster boy for scornful Anglo-Americans who don’t believe they need to speak the language of the majority. This is so wrong.

But anyone can learn a second language. So why can’t the Canadiens coach learn French?

But forget the language policy. Go get a French-speaking coach. Anyone would do a better job than Ducharme. What is mind boggling is that they had a good French-speaking coach, Joel Bouchard, who is great with young players, and they let him go. While we’re on the subject of leaving some good French-speaking Serie A talent, they also had Julien BriseBois – who just won two Stanley Cups with Tampa – and they let him go. Why? Because they have Bergevin, the GM who sits lazily with his boss as their team is on fire.

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Instead of planning for the future, they are not only destroying the team, but potentially damaging their two best young players, Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. They gave Suzuki a huge contract and named him the No. 1 too soon. He’s a good player, but he’s nowhere near ready to be # 1 center.

And instead of making a coherent plan for Caufield, natural scorer, they got him into the big team, sent him to the minors and called him back. He still looks lost, even though he finally scored his first goal of the season on Wednesday.

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You don’t really think about the executive suites. When cash flow is top priority, you spend an enormous amount of time worrying about language policy and public relations. And hockey comes a far third.

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