Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hey, What About THIS Guy?

Well, Guy Boucher's officially gone to Tampa, along with his entire staff in Hamilton. That leaves three jobs open for the people who will mold and develop the Canadiens prospects. In the grand scheme of things, the men who will be hired in those positions will be just as important to the future of the Canadiens as anybody behind the bench in Montreal.

Listening to the continued bemoaning of Boucher's departure is getting a little wearisome, though. Fact is, Boucher's no longer a Hab and the work has to start soon to hire a coach who can take his place. And you know what? It turns out there are actually OTHER young genius coaches out there. One of them has even worked with Habs prospects already, and done a darn fine job of it. Chuck Weber has been head coach of the Cincinnati Cyclones, the ECHL affiliate of both the Habs and the Nashville Predators, for the last four years. In that time, he's led his team to the Kelly Cup championship twice and the third round of the playoffs twice more. He's coached guys like David Desharnais and Cedrick Desjardins, both of whom dominated the ECHL under his guidance and are now doing well in Hamilton.

The guy is just thirty-seven, but he's been coaching in the pros for eleven years. He played some college defence, and realized that, while he wasn't much of a defenceman, he understood the game and was able to teach it to others. That's what he prides himself on now. He's made the decision to be a career coach, and he's got big dreams.

I had a chance to talk with Chuck Weber today, and it turns out he's the kind of guy who makes you realize there's more than Guy Boucher in the ranks of up-and-coming coaches. He says he and Boucher have talked together and shared notes. While Weber is more conservative than Boucher's 1-3-1 system, in terms of letting his defencemen pinch deep, he favours a 2-1-2 with aggression on the forecheck and on the puck...similar to the style the Flyers played in this year's post-season. He believes all kinds of other positive, promising things too. And he'd love to coach in Hamilton. I'd love for him to get the chance.

If you're interested in what Chuck Weber's got to say about coaching, you can check out what sort of inadvertently turned out to sound like a job interview here.


V said...

Good post JT.

Boucher is a tough loss. And there others out there. Heck, you have identified another right in our system - have to beleive there are a few more in other team systems.

I suspect (love him or hate him) Martin is with us for 1.33 more years at a minimum. With the run this year, the team could do less well next year and he would still get a third of the next season to turn it around.

Probably time for all of us to start talking about something else.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this! We don't want to see him leave Cincinnati, but I think he'd be a great fit in Hamilton ... and I'd much rather him be there than Peoria! :)


Anonymous said...

I think the reason there is alot of bemoaning the loss of Boucher amongst Hab fans is that most of us are sick of JM and the stagnant nature of the Canadiens as a franchise. A little excitement about the future is lost with his departure. There maybe other fine coaches out there for the Bulldogs but we lost a fresh face who could move up to the big club. English only coaches are fine for Hamilton but of no use to the Habs. If there aren't significant additions and subtractions in Montreal, the Habs probably won't make the playoffs next season.

J.T. said...

@anon: This is exactly what infuriates me about some fans and about Habs management. The Habs will never progress if they don't drop the French-speaking requirement. You have here a coach who has actually won more, and more often than Guy Boucher, but you say he's "of no use to the Habs." How can you believe that? If this guy...just as an example...develops into a great coach and could legitimately help the PLAYERS (every one of whom can speak English) win, you'd honestly let him go help some team like St.Louis win a Stanley Cup instead, just because he doesn't speak French? If you do, and Habs management really believes the same thing, the Habs will always, always be mediocre.

I would have been thrilled to see Boucher develop into the next Canadiens coach, but he's in Tampa and there's no predicting when, or if, he'll leave there. Since he's out of the picture, I want the Habs to look around and develop the BEST coach available. If he speaks French, great. If he doesn't, I don't want second-best who does.

The argument about "well, 50 or 60 or 70 percent of the fans in Montreal speak French, and so does the media covering it" doesn't cut it. The majority of the people also speak English, and if they don't...Pierre Bloody Gauthier does, so let HIM talk. What the hell are we missing anyway? "I haven't chosen my goalie yet?" Or "He's day-to-day?" Whoopee. If those are the gems we get to hear in both official languages, I'd sooner a mute coach who's exciting and knows how to win.

Anonymous said...

The problem continues to be the fact you will always get the second-best who does.

Anonymous said...

I think you have hit upon a fantastic solution to the language issue. Hire a fluently bilingual articuate press secretary for the coach and have press conferences like they do at the White House. A good job is created and everybody wins. You are a genius!

Being of no use to the Habs means he'll never get to coach them not that he's no good and won't help player development.

MC said...

Our entire Federal Government Public sector has a French language requirement for management. Our top bureaucrats are also chosen not as the best candidate, but as the best bilingual candidate. If you think this policy is hurting the Habs, imagine what it is costing you as a taxpayer? This the culture you are fighting on this issue.

pfhabs said...


-thanks for the research will read up on the 'interview' and well said in the comment section; however, one fly in the ointment !

-the one known as Pierre Boivin has already categorically stated the absolute need for a bilingual coach....if you remember last year he also stated in a business luncheon that the CH were going to sign a 'francophone impact player'

-I assume he was talking about the subsequently aborted Vinny discussions which would have been a disaster $7.7 million for 11 years on top of the Gomez nonsense

-in any case the tone and content of management/coaching hirings has been set by Boivin and one can assume with the blessing of the owner. this house needs a complete cleaning

-so as I continue to say the club doesn't strive for excellence on nor off the ice being good enough seems to be ok as long as other criteria are met...if Weber is the real deal then his contribution in Hamilton, if job offered and accepted, will be significant to the future of the CH...but be aware the early talk is of Pascal Vincent (Jr de Montreal) or Martin (?) Groulx (Gatineau Olympics) as possible Hamilton head coaches...also be aware that in the Boucher presser follow up yesterday Boucher said he'd be conducting interviews for TB assistant positions so it's not un fait accompli that entire staff is leaving hamilton

-as for Boucher you are also correct he represented some small hope of potential greatness as opposed to accepting the average joe or jacques...that is why the troops are disappointed

V said...

Nothing wrong with wanting a French coach from my perspective. History and culture of the team support it and a large part of the fanbase speak it or love the culture and it's influence on the Canadiens.

The argument that you can't have both - french speaking and top quality - is nonsense. At least that's what Steve Yzerman believes.

And I am reading more and more how the desire for change in Montreal is partly because people are bored with the team - they want something exciting to happen. They might want to have an affair instead... no wonder Sam Pollock advised against listening to fans about how to run the team.

Anonymous said...

Great point about Weber, and of course the other pro coaches with ideas. Thanks.

I sort of agree that the team limits itself. Now that GG is gone I think the best player available won't be rolling out of US High School.

On the other hand I think if you pay the facture you get to choose the dance card. The Habs backend is almost all pur laine. That says one obvious thing: That where you come from and family ties is very important to the team, and community. To make a statement of that nature shows a certain courage, that they will sink or swim in their own fashion.

Now if I was a hockey player I wouldn't give a **** as long as I got a shot at work, and my personal life was tolerable. I would want to win, and to be treated with courtesy off the ice.

So really, as long as those two things happen, Quebecois or TRTW (the rest of the world), who cares. I don't see a lot of the talented players from Quebec beating down the door to return home. Some of that is that their friends, families, and business interests are elsewhere when the press and fans come calling. Some is that the team has been lower tier of 18 years (the Houssa factor:).

Since the Molsons put buckets of someone's money into this purchase I suspect they are saying that people grow into jobs, and limiting your selection pool is fine for coaching and management. The previous owner I am sure felt the same way.

Everyone always says that ownership doesn't meddle (except for MLSE of course) and I would hope that is true. I get a little interested in the draft, and have been consistently puzzeled that players who look big, strong, fast, and skilled on paper always get drafted by someone before the Habs draft, regardless of round. So it leaves me in a quandry. Are the Habs drafting badly, developing badly, or both?

The only ones who know the answers are within the organization. They know who is running the show, who is taking the fall, and how much is spent on party vs development.

Bottom line of course is that the team and center are a very profitable cash register for the owners. Would it be any better with a Cup or three? So if it is making money why can't you satisfy your preference of language? Sure a succession of Quebec coaches couldn't do anything with the team but it was an illiterate Quebec coach who won their last cup.

Maybe this management and coaching combination will make some bold moves. Move Pleks (I couldn't resist:-}and Halak for something valuable while the getting is good. With Halak Philly would have won that Cup this year. With Pleks Washington might have made it past Montreal.

But probably it will just be a case of trading draft picks for nothing, drafting poorly, hyping what you have excessively and letting UFAs walk. Koivu, Kovalev, et al didn't tear up much more than tendons this last season. Maternal language has nothing to do with that. But last year at this time UFAs consumed us all. Now it is the language of the coach?

pfhabs said...


-perhaps a little of the facts concerning this past season. no argument on Kovalev vs Gionta nor Cammalleri even if all 3 are similarly overpaid BUT

Koivu: 52 points $3.2 million cap hit

Gomez: 59 points $7.3 cap hit

that bit of CH history is an upgrade only in the minds of those that made that decision and the fans that refuse to see the deal for what it really is; a mistake with huge implications

Anonymous said...

That's a good point. How far did the Ducks get in the playoffs with Koivu?

V said...

... and let's gauge their relative worth 2-3 years down the road. Part of the impetus for the trade was to get younger. Which they did.