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The Chicoutimi Cucumber

Covid time-killer: Rank the coaches!

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None of us are really privy to what goes on between coaches and players. But I thought it might be a fun time-killer to invite some discussion about our most and least favoured coaches over the past 15 years - taking Gainey's arrival as GM as the starting point. (The decade before that just seems like some Grande Noirceur). How do you rank 'em, and why?

 

With (1) as best and (6) as worst, here's my list:

 

1. Bob Gainey. He didn't work miracles, but I always felt that he was a steady hand at the tiller when he went behind the bench. I remember several players spiking upward in performance when he took over from Julien. He wasn't able to do anything when he replaced Carbo in '09, however.

 

2. Claude Julien. On his first go-round, his team played with a lot of defensive structure, which I always take as a sign of good coaching; that GM Gainey kept him around for a good while also suggests he was impressing the right people. He was canned partly because our young players were not developing, but in retrospect guys like Komisarek were never going to amount to sh*t anyway. On his second go-round, I have found relatively little to complain about. A solid, competent pro. Whether he is anything more than that is an open question.

 

3.Jacques Martin. I know a lot of folks hated The Count, but I actually think he was something of an innovator behind the bench. The 2010 Habs pioneered a "bend don't break" style of play which deployed insane amounts of shot-blocking to box out scoring chances, while happily surrendering tons of low-percentage shots from the outside. That became very influential for a few years, when shot-blocking suddenly became the rage in the NHL. JM was also ahead of his time in placing great importance upon the quick transition, which killed our rivals during the 2010 playoff run. Unfortunately he could not contain a player rebellion in 2012 and that did him in. That he was never hired again as a head coach (only as an assistant) suggests he's not super well-regarded, despite quite a bit of success.

 

4. Michel Therrien. A clown on his first go with us, he evolved into a flawed but decent coach on the second round. He built on JM's quick transition and benefited from a D led by Markov and Subban, despite his best efforts to crush all life and creativity out of PK. Jerking around Galy with the C/W thing probably was unwise, although the real sin was bringing up Galy too soon; how much this was MT's fault is another question. Therrien was kept on long past his best-by date, which further sours me on him. MT was like Trump, a bloated, bullying mediocrity who thinks he is the Second Coming. I could never understand how this egomaniacal boob got a second shot in the NHL (with Pittsburgh) while a truly excellent coach like Alain Vigneault had to wait so much longer.

 

5. Carbo. One of the smartest players of his era, somehow he never managed to translate it into coaching. Equally puzzlingly, his team lacked defensive structure, and it took him forever to figure out that yelling at the refs only hurt us. He deserves some credit for the Kovalev-led miracle season in 2008, but the team completely quit on him in 2009 and even class act Koivu had little good to say.

 

6. Randy Cunneyworth. Kneecapped by his owner, the poor bastard never had a chance.

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1. Jacques Martin: smart, can squeeze the most out of the talent he is handed, is not easily upset. 

2. Claude Julien: Can still learn and get better, needs a few players that play his style to anchor team

3. Guy Carboneau: smart, unconventional, able to find ways to get resutls if players buy in.

4. Michel Therrien: if he wasn't an A-hole, he would be higher. Gets results

5. Bob Gainey: steady hand, but cannot overachieve with lesser talent in team

6. Randy Cunneyworth: scape goat that deserved better treatment

 

 

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 Carbo supposedly had a swelled head and ego got in the way; but liked he and Bob as players... not so much behind the bench.

Julien-Therrien-Martin all are interchangeable and got no good/bad feelings about any of them.

Cunnyworth fiasco showed how little backbone Molson has.

 

Hope next coach is not an old retread.

 

Also hope to see Muller and Richardson both sent packing (sorry Kirk, world class guy but not as a coach)

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23 hours ago, DON said:

 

Julien-Therrien-Martin all are interchangeable and got no good/bad feelings about any of them.

 

 

It's definitely true that they are all of a piece. Veteran francophone coaches whose best years occurred outside the organization. Although I made the case for JM as an innovator, they all come off as risk-averse choices. There was a time when the Habs produced new coaching talent (Perron, Burns, Vigneault, Therrien, Julien, and Guy Boucher were all products of the Habs), but it's been a while since the organization seems to have had the confidence to bring along a coach internally and hand him the reins. Something about that bothers me - it seems like more risk-aversion, and maybe reflects a long stretch of mediocrity on the "developmental" side which goes back to Houle and includes coaches. Maybe Ducharme can break the cycle of retreads?

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Perron was a disaster, better known for his catch phrases in French than for couching.

his team won because they decided not to let bad coaching get in the way

 

Therrien was <insert explicit adjective> 

 

and Boucher never established himself as a respected winking coach

 

The Habs are batting .500 in quality coaching 

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2 hours ago, alfredoh2009 said:

Perron was a disaster, better known for his catch phrases in French than for couching.

his team won because they decided not to let bad coaching get in the way

 

Therrien was <insert explicit adjective> 

 

and Boucher never established himself as a respected winking coach

 

The Habs are batting .500 in quality coaching 

 

I didn't mean to imply that all those guys worked out. The point was just that the Habs used to groom coaches, but seem to have fallen out of the practice, preferring safe-seeming, established veterans.

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I am just trying to add to the thread TCC 

Forum silence is deafening 

 

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1 hour ago, alfredoh2009 said:

I am just trying to add to the thread TCC 

Forum silence is deafening 

 


It’s a dead zone, all right - understandably. I was hoping this thread would offer a rabbit hole for some discussion and some jaunts down memory lane, but no such luck.

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I did find it interesting that the two of you had effectively polar opposite views of how Gainey performed as a coach. (And Carbonneau, to a lesser extent.)

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1) Julien:  He adapts his style to the players on the team, being formerly known as a defensive coach, but has the current team playing a style that emphasizes puck possession. That adaptability is important to me in a coach.  He's not perfect, but he's the best of the bunch. 

 

2) Martin: Another coach who put in place a style that maximized his team's ability to win games, playing a system to limit scoring chances in the middle of the ice. 

 

3) Gainey:  Didn't get much chance to put a system in place as he took over teams mid-season and you can't really do that. However, it is clear that he steadied the teams on an emotional level and raised the level of their play during the time he took over. 

 

4) Carbo: Had the team playing an uptempo style in 2008.  Loses points for the way it fell apart. Also loses points for the fact that after leaving the Habs he failed miserably in Chicoutimi and nearly got a Canada U-18 team relegated, which shows his terrible coaching.

 

5) Therrien: Forced the players to adapt to and play his style and system even when it wasn't the best system for the talent on the team.

 

Not Ranked) Cunneyworth: Was put in an unfair situation.  Never stood a chance. Impossible to assess his job performance given the circumstances.

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6 hours ago, tomh009 said:

I did find it interesting that the two of you had effectively polar opposite views of how Gainey performed as a coach. (And Carbonneau, to a lesser extent.)

I think Carbo got a raw deal by uncle Bob.

 

I also think Gainey was overrated as a coach because most of us like him as a player and refuse to look at his record:

# Name Term[d] Regular season Playoffs    
GC W L T/OT PTS Win% GC W L T Win%

 

int Bob Gainey 2006 41 23 15 3 49 .598 6 2 4 .333    
23 Guy Carbonneau* 20062009 230 124 83 23 271 .589 12 5 7 .417    
int Bob Gainey 2009 16 6 6 4 16 .500 4 0 4 .000  

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The 2009 team was completely falling apart when Gainey took over though.  He stabilized it.  They were a disaster the last month under Carbo.  They weren't just losing games, they were giving up 6 goals in the first period to vancouver, they were losing like 7-3 to Edmonton, they had nothing.... 

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10 minutes ago, Commandant said:

The 2009 team was completely falling apart when Gainey took over though.  He stabilized it.  They were a disaster the last month under Carbo.  They weren't just losing games, they were giving up 6 goals in the first period to vancouver, they were losing like 7-3 to Edmonton, they had nothing.... 

 

Indeed. It was a total team "quit." Carbo's defenders always forget about the scale of that debacle - much worse than anything we saw under any of the other coaches listed above. And after he was canned, none of the players had a good thing to say about him.

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2 hours ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

 

Indeed. It was a total team "quit." Carbo's defenders always forget about the scale of that debacle - much worse than anything we saw under any of the other coaches listed above. And after he was canned, none of the players had a good thing to say about him.

All i remember later on is hearing that Carbo was head strong and didnt lack confidence in himself (in a bad way). When Carbo played he always was a "team first" player, it just seemed too bad if was true.

But, i want some fresher french blood young coach hired...or go totally crazy and hire an english speaking coach if he is better (e.g. Gallant).

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On 5/7/2020 at 10:30 PM, DON said:

All i remember later on is hearing that Carbo was head strong and didnt lack confidence in himself (in a bad way). When Carbo played he always was a "team first" player, it just seemed too bad if was true.

But, i want some fresher french blood young coach hired...or go totally crazy and hire an english speaking coach if he is better (e.g. Gallant).

 

I remember reading that some players hated that Carbonneau would show up later on game days than the players.  For someone who was detail-oriented as a player, it didn't seem like he was like that as a coach which explains why he didn't have any success in his coaching forays after Montreal.

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5 hours ago, dlbalr said:

 

I remember reading that some players hated that Carbonneau would show up later on game days than the players.  For someone who was detail-oriented as a player, it didn't seem like he was like that as a coach which explains why he didn't have any success in his coaching forays after Montreal.

The biggest complaint I remember was he was a lousy communicator.

his post habs coaching career doesn’t reflect well in him as a coach either and since it was with mainly younger players, probably highlights the communications shortcomings even more.

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On 5/9/2020 at 3:14 PM, hab29RETIRED said:

The biggest complaint I remember was he was a lousy communicator.

his post habs coaching career doesn’t reflect well in him as a coach either and since it was with mainly younger players, probably highlights the communications shortcomings even more.

The funny thing is that if this is true, a lot of that could be in large part due to language. I am a coach myself and I’ve had other coaches try to explain things to me in English, with their first language being French, and while they are great coaches in their own right, I can spend an hour with them and learn nothing, simply because of the way they communicate their words. 
 

I am in no way generalizing that to an extended portion of the population but I have heard Carbonneau speak English and hope he can speak well, it’s a whole other ball game when communicating specific tactics. To use myself as an example as well, I like to use precise wording in my coaching and can guarantee that I do not communicate my thoughts as concisely when teaching in French. 
 

Of course this is all speculation, but it would indeed be ironic, if our coaches having to speak French for the media, would ever have an impact on their communicative abilities with the players, who would mostly expect to be coached in English. 
 

 

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My list:

 

1) Therrien 

2) Martin

3) Julien 

4) Carbo 

5) Gainey 

6) Cunneyworth

 

It is what it is. 

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