We shoulda seen it coming

In case you were unaware, following the trend of hiring prominent former NHL players as coaches, Bob Gainey has stepped behind the bench to replace Claude Julien. Guy Carbonneau was named as an assistant for this year and expected to be handed the head coaching reins for next year. Rick Green was also relieved of his duties.

I'm as shocked as anyone, but in retrospect it should not have been such a big surprise.

All of the recent trade rumours reinforced the fact that the Habs are long on needs but short on assets. For a trade to make them better right now, they would have to sacrifice the future. Since Gillett has said they are aiming to be competitive for the 100th anniversary season in 2009, moving prospects is probably not an option.

Gainey was brought on board at the start of the last season and inherited Claude Julien as the coach. When a GM is hired, we often expect him to install his choice of coach. At the very least, when the team stumbles in this situation we expect the coach to be the first to go. Gainey was patient with his coach and was rewarded with a successful '03-04 season. Now that the team has been underperforming for a long time, Gainey has taken the opportunity to bring in "his man" for the job.

This somewhat parallels the Brisebois situation. When Gainey was hired, Brisebois' popularity was at it's nadir. Realizing he was stuck with the fragile, unpopular player, Gainey made the best of the situation by ripping those who were overly critical of Breezy. Brisebois proceeded to play relatively effectively for the season. Then Gainey unloaded the defenseman first chance he got by declining his option for this year.

So, the Montreal Canadiens now have a collection of eight Selke trophies behind the bench: Gainey has four, Carbo has three and Jarvis one. I pity the forward (Mike Ribeiro) who backchecks lazily.

Chris Higgins is my pick to be the next Habs Selke winner.


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