Pretty interesting discussion on last night’s Hockey Night in Canada Hotstove regarding the future of Montreal’s vacant head coaching job.
Specifically, the rumor that new Habs GM Marc Bergevin — formerly the assistant in Chicago — is targeting Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville.
(Can’t embed video. Here’s the transcript):
Elliotte Friedman: In a perfect world, Marc Bergevin’s hire would be Joel Quenneville, the head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks. You say “all right, that’s wonderful, but he’s under contract,” well…
There is a sense, if you watched Stan Bowman’s media conference from the end of the year in Chicago, that he wasn’t really happy with some of the coaching that was done this season. If the Canadiens come calling, is there something that could be — and there is no compensation — but would the Blackhawks be willing to listen?
Bergevin and Quenneville have a close friendship going back to when they were together in St. Louis. Quenneville does have a French background — I don’t know how well he speaks it, but he apparently knows it — and I think if the Canadiens went down this route, there would at least be a conversation about Quenneville leaving Chicago and going to Montreal.
Glenn Healy: One thing is very clear, guys — there are two separate camps in the Chicago organization. It is one of the worst-kept secrets in hockey. I think, as Elliott does, that Quenneville could have an opportunity to get away.
Now, Bergevin — he has to make a pretty big hire here. First thing I do, if Rick Dudley’s there, is get him a coffee and a car and get him to go scout players. Don’t ask him who the next coach is going to be. Does it have to be 100 percent French, as a coach? [Bergevin] may, in getting this kind of a star as your coach, he may be able to make this hire and then bring in an assistant that speaks French.
If you’re wondering what Bowman said in his year-end presser that raised eyebrows, here’s what Brough noted back on Apr. 25:
—- The power play (26th, 15.2%) has to get a lot better. “The results speak for themselves,” Bowman said. “A huge disappointment this year. The power play was unacceptable to have the caliber of players we do and not have it work.”
—- In a possibly related story, Bowman denied his relationship with Quenneville was strained: “Obviously there was a challenge when we had the long losing streak — if anything we came together as a unit.”
— Bowman didn’t say this, but assuming Quenneville sticks around, it’s extremely possible the guy in charge of the power play, assistant coach Mike Kitchen, won’t.