Habs Shake Things Up
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One Big Thing: Habs Shake Things Up
What’s Happening: The Montreal Canadiens made several swift changes to its coaching staff this week after a rough stretch of losses. New head coach Dominique Ducharme secured his first NHL win on Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators just before the Canadiens made one more change to its staff — Sean Burke will become director of goaltending.
Bringing in Ducharme: The Canadiens have had a rough season so far, but the last straw for former head coach Claude Julien came last week, after a loss on Tuesday night. “It's a hard thing to watch. Our team was chasing the puck. We're not in sync. Sometimes you can blame injuries. But we had none! Zero,” general manager Marc Bergevin said after last Tuesday’s game. Bergevin fired Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller the next morning.
The Canadiens struggled in Ducharme’s debut game last Thursday, and they lost a rematch against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. So this Tuesday’s win came as a relief. "It was important we had a solid game," Ducharme said. "But also getting the win so the guys can see that we’re going in the right direction. If we take care of our job, the results are going to be on our side quite often."
Burke’s Return: Tuesday’s win ushered in another coaching swap for the Canadiens. Bergevin announced that Sean Burke would take over as the director of goaltending from former director Stephane Waite, who had held the position since 2013. Burke will quarantine for 14 days and then join the team. He has worked for Montreal before, as a professional scout and goaltending consultant.
Fairbrother Gets Deal: Also this week, the Canadiens announced they signed defenseman Gianni Fairbrother to a three-year contract. Fairbrother was drafted to the Canadiens in the third round of the 2019 draft and has played with the Laval Rocket and the Everett Silvertips since then.
What’s Next: The Canadiens will host the Winnipeg Jets for two games this weekend. One today and one on Saturday. We’ll be watching to see if this new coaching lineup has the desired effect.
Insider Updates & Analysis
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Rumor: Jack Eichel will likely remain a Sabre for the rest of the season.
Update: Restrictions are helping NHLers enjoy the game, writes Associated Press reporter Stephen Whyno.