Perry Pearn

Perry Pearn hired as Canucks assistant coach

Willie Desjardins may be a rookie head coach in the NHL, but he is going to have a veteran with him behind the bench.

The Vancouver Canucks announced they’ve hired Perry Pearn to assist Desjardins. Pearn spent the past two seasons with the Winnipeg Jets and was with the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, and Ottawa Senators before that.

You might recall Pearn was fired in Montreal early during the 2011-12 season while the Habs were mired in losing and the power play suffered under his watch. It was believed he was canned so as to give then GM Pierre Gauthier a bit more time to try and figure things out. He did not.

According to Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun, Pearn will assist Desjardins from upstairs and help work on the power play. Fellow assistant Glen Gulutzan will work on the penalty kill.

While Desjardins has plenty of coaching experience in the AHL, having two experienced NHL guys in Pearn and Gulutzan should help get things going for him in Vancouver.

Jets add ex-Habs assistant Pearn to coaching staff

The Winnipeg Jets turned back the clock on Thursday by bringing assistant coach Perry Pearn into the fold.

Pearn, 61, began his NHL coaching career with the “version 1.0” Jets in 1995-96, serving under then-head man Terry Simpson.

(Fun fact: Winnipeg’s other assistant at the time was current Leafs bench boss Randy Carlyle.)

After serving time with the Jets, Pearn bounced from the Senators to the Rangers to the Canadiens. It was in Montreal where he was controversially fired just eight games into the 2011-12 season, viewed by many as a scapegoat after the Canadiens got off to their worst start to a season in 70 years.

According to a statement released on the Jets website, Pearn isn’t replacing anybody from last year’s staff, but rather adding to the dynamic. He’ll work under head coach Claude Noel along with assistants Charlie Huddy, Pascal Vincent, Tony Borgford and Wade Flaherty.

Pierre Gauthier might want to protect his neck

Considering how things have been going in Montreal for those in charge, Habs GM Pierre Gauthier might want to make sure the Canadiens get things turned around.

Montreal’s mostly disappointing season has seen messages being sent from above all year long.

They fired former assistant coach Perry Pearn to send a message that the losing had to stop. That move got the Canadiens turned around a bit, but consistency was still lacking.

They traded for Tomas Kaberle from Carolina to help clean things up on the blue line with Andrei Markov out with knee problems. Now Jacques Martin has been fired and if this move doesn’t pan out for Montreal, it could be Pierre Gauthier who goes next and his track record isn’t too hot.

Since taking over as Canadiens GM from Bob Gainey in February 2010, Gauthier’s moves haven’t been impressive. Checking out his track record courtesy of All Habs (Part 1, Part 2), Gauthier’s done more to find parts for Montreal’s AHL team than the NHL team. All that’s left behind in Montreal now are Tomas Kaberle, Lars Eller (the “big name” in the Jaroslav Halak trade), Mike Blunden, and Petteri Nokelainen. Yikes.

Those trades on top of Erik Cole’s monster contract this summer don’t make for a great track record while the Canadiens roll along in mediocre fashion. Gauthier’s pick for the next head coach had better be a good one because it could be the man that saves his job.

Fired Montreal coach: “To be let go this early is tough to take”



Former Montreal Canadiens assistant coach Perry Pearn spoke with Sportsnet Magazine today about the circumstances which led to his controversial firing.

Clearly, he’s still a little perturbed with how the situation unfolded:

I’m a proud person, I think I’m good at what I do, so I can’t help but be disappointed that what’s happened has happened.

Do I think it’s my fault the Montreal Canadiens had a bad start? I’ll take my share of the responsibility. Our power play wasn’t as good as it should be; our penalty-killing wasn’t as good as we wanted it to be. But to say I’m the only reason we had a bad start, no, I don’t accept that.

And I’m sure that’s not the point of me being let go, is that it was all my fault. It was a way of sending a wake-up call to everybody that things had to change.

The ‘sacrificial lamb’ angle has been played up by numerous media types, with most contending the move smacked of Habs GM Pierre Gauthier buying himself some time. Time for what, exactly?

Possibly for the likes of Andrei Markov, Chris Campoli, Scott Gomez and Ryan White to return from injury. Maybe to orchestrate a more meaningful deal than the Petteri Nokelainen trade. Perhaps to get his ducks in a row for a head coaching change, should it ever come to that (remember, the coaching heir apparent was supposed to be Kirk Muller, but he left to take Nashville’s AHL gig.)

Pearn also added that “if you’re sitting today from the general manager’s standpoint, he would have an argument it worked,” alluding to the fact that Montreal has gone 2-0 since his dismissal. This, of course, ties into the old “you can’t fire the players” adage. GMs can’t fire players, but they can make players feel incredibly guilty for getting a guy that had no business losing his job fired.

After that, I guess the hope is that pangs of guilt will motivate players to better on-ice performances. (Motivational Guilt: 3 out of 10 NHL GMs approve!)

It might sound like an awful way to run a hockey team but hey, the Habs are rolling.

Montreal’s explanation for firing Perry Pearn is ‘outside the box’


Let’s face it, there are two ways to explain the Montreal Canadiens’ decision to fire assistant coach Perry Pearn.

1. The team wanted to appease their angry fans by parting ways with someone, even if that person’s name wasn’t “Gomez” or “Martin.”

2. GM Pierre Gauthier wasn’t happy with the power play, which was Pearn’s area of focus.

Naturally, that’s not how Gauthier & Co. explained things to the press, though. (At least not if you take the statement at face value.) Gauthier instead provided an answer that’s about as sensible as firing a staff member a few hours before game time.

“We’re going to function outside the box more than we have,” Gauthier said. “This is one move in that direction …  Any time you face new challenges you need to look in the mirror, starting with myself. We’re not looking to place blame on anyone. But to do my job as the leader of this team I need to help people function better.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this doesn’t seem like functioning “outside the box,” aside from the very unusual practice of canning a coach moments before a contest starts. It instead follows the time-honored tradition of firing someone merely to make a statement to the rest of your workers. Call it the managerial equivalent to “kicking the dog” transference.

Maybe there’s more to this situation than meets the eye, but it’s an awfully ugly move from the outside.

A lot of times hockey fans overreact to the latest story (see: struggling goalies), but most – if not all – of the snarky responses to this decision have been justified. Gauthier can use all the fancy marketing buzzwords he wants, but let’s hope that his future decisions fit into the “fair and professional” box.