Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has a few things on his plate this summer.
He wants to re-up with PK Subban on a new deal. He has Carey Price headed to RFA status this summer, after making $5.5 million in his last deal. And, of course, he needs to hire a head coach.
Bob McKenzie of TSN whet the appetite on Monday night by reporting that the Habs are "in the process of touching base with potential head coach candidates including Michel Therrien, Guy Carbonneau, Marc Crawford, Bob Hartley, etc."
Michel Therrien (190 games as Habs coach, 2000-03) and Guy Carbonneau (230 games as Habs coach, 2006-09)? Canadiens fans like BK were lobbying for a complete break from the Gainey/Gauthier era:
What the Habs need is electroshock therapy. That's why they also need a coach who didn't work with the ancien regime. So forget Alain Vigneault, Michel Therrien, and Guy Carbonneau.
Yet two of the three could be candidates, and the third would be had the Vancouver Canucks cut him loose. Brian Stubits of Eye on Hockey thinks this is a symptom of the language requirements of the position:
If you want proof that the ability to speak French is paramount to be coach of the Habs, look no further than the inclusion of Therrien. He has already done the Montreal thing once and was canned after 2 1/2 seasons. He then last 3 1/2 seasons in Pittsburgh. Yes, he did lead them to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2008, but he was fired midseason the next year when the team was struggling and was replaced by Dan Bylsma, who guided the Penguins to the championship.
Carbonneau has earned an endorsement from Dave Stubbs of The Gazette, although a proposed reunion with Larry Robinson seems unlikely. The theory is that he's better prepared to handle the Montreal media circus than he was in the first go-round.
Bob Hartley's an understandable candidate — veteran coach, with a Cup ring, although one imagines the Calgary Flames will come calling. But what about Marc Crawford?
We know a little more about Crawford's language skills. He has a French mother — hence the c at the end of his first name — and his wife is a French-Canadian. He was once the head coach of the Nordiques and was able to handle daily press conferences in French, although the francophone media regularly stuck around for the English portion of his remarks because he expressed himself better in his native tongue.
Again, Crawford has the coaching qualifications necessary for the job, but can he pass the language test?
Do any of these guys excite the Montreal fanbase? Are they anything more then retreads? (Of course, it's hard to argue with retreads when you have Darryl Sutter, Dave Tippett, John Tortorella and Pete DeBoer coaching in the finals and all on at least their second NHL rodeo).
If it's outside the box you want, how about this notion from Eric Engels:
The name that seems to be coming up most, at the moment, is Marc Crawford. Though it's been a long time since Crawford made a successful run at a Stanley Cup, his experience in Quebec and his willingness to rededicate himself to learning French legitimizes what should already be considered a significant resume at the NHL level.
Would Crawford be open to bringing Patrick Roy along for the ride?
Would Roy be willing to ride shotgun, or does he need to be driving?
We've heard about Quenneville and Vigneault, who for the time being, both have jobs. Others, like myself, have suggested Guy Carbonneau should get a look. And of course, Michel Therrien and Bob Hartley have certainly been deemed worthy of an interview by a lot of the fans, and by different media types. We haven't heard much about Roy since Bergevin's hire.
Maybe he's McKenzie's "etc."
Who do you think would make the next great Montreal head coach? Because from where we're sitting, someone with the temperament of Therrien and Crawford would seem to be at odd with the good vibes coming from the GM's office.