Julien axed

01.14.06

Habs’ GM Bob Gainey fired head coach Claude Julien as well as assistant coach Rick Green, and plans to take over the coaching job himself for the time being. He also hired Guy Carbonneau as assistant coach and head-coach-in-training.

With only 7 wins in the last 25 games, it was clear that the Habs were in big trouble and something needed to be done. But was this the right move? That depends on how you look at it. If the talent is there and simply not producing, then it’s reasonable to blame the coach. But if the front office hasn’t made the deals to put the right guys on the ice, then Gainey ought to shoulder more of the blame himself.

Here’s Craig Rivet’s reaction:

I think it’s unfortunate that it’s always the coach that takes the fall for lack of production from players. He gave us a game plan and guys maybe chose not to follow it. That’s too bad because he’s a good coach.

Until the players step up and start moving and controlling the puck and creating scoring chances and playing a full 60 minutes each game, then no shakeups will have much effect. I’m sad to say this as a fan, but I’m not holding out too much hope that this move is going to turn things around. But who knows?

Update: Well, in the immediate term at least, the shakeup seems to have lit a fire under the Habs, who routed the San Jose Sharks 6 to 2 tonight. It’s been far too long since the last time the sounds of the “na-na-na-na hey hey hey goodbye” song were heard in the Bell Centre. Whether the team can keep it up remains to be seen, but this was a good start.

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