Bob Hartley

Dreger: Hartley-to-Montreal rumors are “untrue”


Yesterday, we wrote about the speculation that Bob Hartley was all set to become the new head coach of the Montreal Canadiens.

Today, TSN’s Darren Dreger said the rumors are “untrue.”

“That’s not to say that Bob Hartley won’t be the top candidate and end up with the top job as head coach,” Dreger told TSN Radio 990 in Montreal, “but I don’t get the sense that it’s imminent and I don’t think it’s going to happen this week.”

Hartley, the former head coach in Atlanta and Colorado, has one year left on his contract with ZSC Lions in Zurich, and Dreger said the Swiss team isn’t “about to rip it up and say good luck in Montreal.”

You’d have to think some form of compensation will be involved if Hartley’s permitted to take a job next season in Montreal.

And that’s assuming he’s the one the Habs want to hire. Dreger reports Michel Therrien and Marc Crawford are still in the running for the position.

Columnist: Boucher’s top assistants in Tampa candidates for Montreal job

boucher raymond
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Longtime Montreal Gazette scribe Red Fisher has weighed in on the Canadiens coaching search, and targeted a pair of potential candidates to be behind the bench next season.

From The Gazette:

Bilingualism is a priority, and since I’m told two interviews were held in Florida, I’m guessing that Tampa Bay assistants Daniel Lacroix and Martin Raymond are in the mix.

Put it this way: I’m betting both already have been interviewed among the five candidates GM Marc Bergevin has in mind. What they have going for them is that both were assistants to Guy Boucher with the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs and followed him when he was named Lightning head coach two seasons ago.

Lacroix is the more experienced of the two, having served three years as an assistant on Long Island (under Ted Nolan and Scott Gordon).

Raymond (pictured, w/Boucher) spent one year as an assistant in Hamilton before making the jump to Tampa.

Fisher suggests that both could be hired by Bergevin, which makes sense. What Lacroix and Raymond have going for them is 1) both are from Montreal, 2) both speak French and 3) chemistry — they’ve worked behind the same bench for three years and developed a strong working relationship.

This is important, especially given comments from former Habs defenseman Jaro Spacek that depicted the Habs as a dysfunctional organization lacking communication, leadership and continuity.

Columnist wonders if Radulov would follow Roy to Montreal

Alexander Radulov
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Here’s an interesting idea from the Department of Significant Ifs: Larry Brooks floats the theory that the Montreal Canadiens might “inquire” about Alex Radulov if they hire Patrick Roy as their head coach.

At this point, you might be scratching your head and asking why an “enigmatic Russian forward” would have a bond with the fiery former French Canadian superstar goalie. Brooks points out that Radulov won a Memorial Cup with Roy’s Quebec Ramparts, which explains why such a connection might happen.

Eye on Hockey’s Brian Stubits is probably correct when he places this rumor in the “insanity” range, mentioning (for one thing) that Roy’s presence as a Habs coach is far from a certainty. Stubits also says that Radulov is as good as gone from the NHL and that might be true, too. Still, I’d like to think that there’s at least a chance that a team might offer the restricted free agent a competitive enough contract to a) pry him from Nashville and b) keep him from fleeing to the KHL. If Radulov isn’t satisfied with the brief second taste of NHL play, then a reasonably decent offer might just keep him in the world’s best league.

And if that’s a possibility, perhaps the Habs might just have a shot. (A long shot, mind you, but a shot.)

What do you think, though? Would Radulov consider a jaunt in Montreal? Perhaps most interestingly, do you think he’d be a big difference-maker for the Habs?

Larry Robinson definitely does not want the Canadiens job

Larry Robinson

If you’re a Canadiens fan and hoping to see former Habs defenseman and current Devils assistant coach Larry Robinson behind the bench next season, you might want be really disappointed.

According to the New York Post, Robinson was asked about an earlier report from an agent representing him saying he’d be interested in the Montreal job. Turns out sometimes an agent may not be a great source of information.

Devils assistant coach and 2000 Cup-winning head coach Larry Robinson vehemently ripped a report suggesting he is interested in joining the new Montreal regime, saying that comments attributed to an agent, whom he called a friend, were five years old and that there has been no such contact or interest.

Robinson won seven Stanley Cups as a player with the Canadiens and bringing him back as a coach would seem like a nostalgic piece of fun, but if Robinson doesn’t want in on the job you can’t really blame him. Montreal hasn’t won the Cup since 1993 and the pressure is as high as ever to get things turned around.

Without Robinson to kick around, the Canadiens’ list of candidates is still pretty long.

Agent says Larry Robinson open to Montreal return

Larry Robinson

Could Big Bird be flying back to la belle province?

Maybe, yes.

That’s the news out of Montreal today after the agent representing New Jersey Devils assistant coach Larry Robinson told La Presse his client is interested in a return to the Canadiens.

“If there’s interest on the part of the Canadiens, we will certainly listen,” Robinson’s agent Don Cape said. “We’ve offered our services to the Canadiens in the past and they said no each time.

“I think that Larry would be very interested.”

Robinson played 17 seasons in Montreal and has his No. 19 hanging from the Bell Center rafters. Since he’s under contract to the Devils until July 1, the Canadiens would need to ask permission to contact Robinson at least until after the end of the Devils’ season.

A Hall of Fame player, Robinson also has an impressive resume as a head coach. He won a Stanley Cup with the Devils in 2000 and took them back to the Eastern Conference Cup finals the following year.

A potential Robinson hire would make sense for Montreal. One, he holds iconic status within the city having won six Stanley Cups with the Canadiens.

Two, he speaks French (here’s some anecdotal evidence) and has ties to the community as one of the founders of the Montreal Polo Club (Larry loves his horses.)

Three, as a two-time Norris Trophy winner and considered one of the best blueliners of his generation, he would provide excellent mentorship to the young Canadiens defense (PK Subban, Yannick Weber, Alexei Emelin, Raphael Diaz.)

All that said, New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello said he doesn’t know thing one about this rumor.

“It’s the first time that I’ve heard talk about this story, for Larry,” Lamoriello told reporters on Wednesday “He’s still under contract with us and I won’t in such speculation now.”