With the trading deadline drawing near in the National Hockey League, prospects are considerably brighter that we could see Stanley Cup playoff games in three or four Canadian cities, unlike last year when the postseason was entirely confined to Trumpland for the first time in more than 40 years .
Among the teams that appear to be heading in the right direction are the Montreal Canadiens. The folks in charge the Habs have decided that a coaching change might improve their chances. They have politely said thank you to Michel Therrien, and told him not to slam the door on his way out. And you have to wonder about ‘insider information’ in this case. Conveniently available to replace Michel was another familiar francophone, Claude Julien. Mere moments earlier, Claude had been sent out the door by the Boston Bruins.
Wait a minute, did he not have his name on the door of the coach’s office in Montreal before? Indeed, he was head coach of the Habs when they made it to the second round in 2004. Two years later he was sent packing, and he moved on to coach the Devils in Jersey, before settling in Boston.
Decades ago, when the world was young and prosperous, we were taught to be careful not to have a resume that was too long, lest it be regarded as a sign that you lacked the necessary skills to be a ‘winner’. Strange that does not seem to apply when it comes to directing professional athletes where winning is absolutely everything.
It is totally true that ‘coaches are hired to be fired’. Back in the good old days of the original six, there were a few men, such as Toe Blake, who stayed for what seemed like forever, but not lately.
Indeed there is some evidence that a coaching change can make a difference. We’ve seen it this season with John Tortorella in Columbus, and Mike Yeo in St. Louis. Both of them have been fired before, and no doubt it will happen again. But for a brief moment in time, they have what it takes.
Such a mystery.
I’m Roger Currie