What the Puck: Canadiens change needs to start 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 fire coach Dominique Ducharme.

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Canada’s management treats the team’s fans with utter contempt.

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The Habs are one of the worst teams in the NHL. They are number 30 in the league with 32 teams, but it’s not even just the points. I was so unlucky to see the 6-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday and the Habs mimicked a team that didn’t even want to win the game.

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

I want to tell you what President Geoff Molson says about all this, but he’s still hiding under his desk, where he’s spent most of the last two years. His team is crumbling to the ground in an apocalyptic way, and he can not spend five minutes speaking to the Habs Nation? It is not to treat the fan base of the team, the ordinary working people who pay his wages, with respect.

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Molson and Bergevin may not care, but it certainly seems like they do not care about the pain they inflict on the people who love this team so much. If they did not care, they would do anything.

If they did not care, they would fire head coach Dominique Ducharme. I spoke to the Honorable Sports Writer Roy MacGregor last week and we had a brief chat about Habs. The first thing MacGregor said is that Ducharme’s body language is awful, that it looks like he’s lost space.

It looks like this because he’s lost his room. These players have lost the respect of their rookie head coach, who has an eerie record of 20-30-11 in normal season. He was a coach when they got to the Stanley Cup final, but it is now clear that they did not get to the final because of him.

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They came to the final because Carey Price played like he has never played before, Shea Weber took the team under her iron grip, Corey Perry provided a lot of inspiration, and the group played magically.

Ducharme has to go, but Molson will not let Bergevin fire him because GM made the mistake of signing him this summer for a three-year deal. They are still paying Claude Julien $ 5 million this season and it turns out that it was a big mistake to fire Julien and replace him with Ducharme.

The elephant in the room is the unwritten rule that the trainer must speak French. I get the thoughts behind it, even though I enjoy the rich irony that the guy who is the toughest to push the agenda as the coach and GM be tolingual is a guy who lives in Upper Westmount and is a member of one of anglo Montreal’s richest and most famous families.

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I think French-speaking Quebecers would accept a monolingual English-speaking coach whose he made the team a challenger and immediately began to make a serious effort to learn French. Air Canada boss Michael Rousseau is the poster boy for despicable Englishmen who do not think they need to speak the language of the majority. That’s so wrong.

But everyone can learn another language. So why can’t the coach of the Canadiens learn French?

But forget language policy. Get a French-speaking coach. Anyone would do a better job than Ducharme. What confuses the mind is that they had a good French coach, Joel Bouchard, who is great with young players, and they let him go. While we are in the process of letting good French-speaking talents leave the A-list, they also had Julien BriseBois – who has just won two Stanley Cups with Tampa – and they let him go. Why? For they have Bergevin, the GM who sits passively with his boss while their team goes up in flames.

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Instead of planning for the future, they not only ruin the team, but potentially hurt their two best young players, Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. They gave Suzuki a giant contract and named him center number 1 far too soon. He’s a good player, but he’s nowhere near ready to become the No. 1 center.

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

There is just no mindset in the executive suites. When the top priority is cash flow, you spend an enormous amount of time worrying about language policy and PR spin. And hockey comes a distant third place.

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