Dominique Ducharme learned he has some job security Friday morning as Canadiens executive vice president of hockey operations Jeff Gorton said there will be no in-season coaching change.
With the Habs off to a 6-17-2 start, the firing of general manager Marc Bergevin and assistant GM Trevor Timmins last weekend led to thoughts that more changes could be on the way. That won’t be the case, at least as of now, as Gorton said that Ducharme’s job is safe for the rest of the season.
Ducharme took over last February after the Canadiens fired Claude Julien. He helped lead the team to their first Stanley Cup Final in 28 years and later signed a three-year extension in July.
Gorton was inside Bell Centre Thursday for Montreal’s 4-1 loss to the Avalanche. He will join the team this weekend for their game in Nashville before a two-game homestead next week against the Lightning and Blackhawks. There are plenty of changes that will come over time but getting to see the team in action will give him a better idea of how to begin to re-shape it all.
“The team’s obviously had a tough start to the season. I recognize that,” he said. “And Geoff and I, in our conversation, we went through that. I think it will evolve over time; there’s obviously things that have to happen here. I would say that, if you look at some of the teams I’ve been around and been part of, we would want to be fast and skilled. We need to work on our player development here. I’d like to add to analytics. There’s a lot of different things I’d like to do.
“It’s my second, third day here so I’d ask you to give me a little time on that and how that plays out, but I think over time you’ll see my philosophy play out.”
Who will work with Gorton?
As far as who will be the next GM, that decision won’t come until after Christmas, Gorton said. Whoever that person is will work closely with Gorton, as owner Geoff Molson said it will be a two-person job.
One name that always enters the discussion when it comes to open positions and the Canadiens is Patrick Roy, the franchise legend who is currently coaching the QMJHL Quebec Remparts. After Roy expressed interest in the job earlier this week, Gorton said it will be a thorough search.
“I’m just getting here, and just getting a feel for the organization and as we move forward,” Gorton said. “Figuring out how we’re gonna go about picking the general manager, we’re gonna look at everybody that we think could be a fit. So, I’m not gonna rule anybody out, I’m not gonna say yes or no to anybody, but certainly Patrick Roy, I heard that he made that statement, I know he’s a passionate guy, I know a lot of people that know him well, and I have obviously a lot of respect for somebody like that.”
Gorton added that he has not yet created a list of people to speak to with Molson. “People can keep calling me, if they like,” he said.