Should Canadiens stick with Ducharme as head coach?

Throughout their end-of-season interview, the Canadiens assessed their go to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, with some talk of the future. Plenty was clarified, consisting of Corey Perry not being all set to retire. However something that’s not yet totally clear is if the Canadiens will raise the “interim” tag and make Dominique Ducharme their full-time head coach.

Approved, it sure appears like things are headed because instructions.

As Sportsnet’s Eric Engels reports, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin explained an agreement for Ducharme as “one of the first dossiers to sort out.”

(More youthful readers need to utilize that line to delay errands. “Don’t fret, Mother, cleaning my space is ‘one of the first dossiers to sort out.’”)

Such a delay opens the door for an obvious question that’s likewise challenging to respond to. Sure, it seems like the Canadiens are most likely to stick with Ducharme as their head coach … however should they?

Here’s why it’s such a hard nut to fracture.

Ducharme getting the ‘interim’ label got rid of as head coach likely simply a matter of time with Canadiens

From a PR viewpoint, providing Ducharme the upgrade by raising the “interim” tag as head coach most likely seems like a no-brainer.

To put things slightly, Marc Bergevin’s discovered himself on the hot seat frequently. You practically presume his trousers all have frying pan marks. So, he likely feels indebted to lots of associated with this sensational Cinderella run.

(C’mon, it’s type of odd that a GM of the Year candidate fired his head coach throughout the exact same season, right?)

So, anticipate Bergevin and the Canadiens to keep Ducharme as head coach. It’s reasonable to question if that’s for much better or even worse, however.

Modest returns throughout the routine season — at finest

When Bergevin fired Claude Julien in February, the Canadiens were a respectable-but-underwhelming 9-5-4. From a routine season viewpoint, Ducharme’s performance of the Canadiens didn’t precisely light the NHL on fire. They didn’t even go the jeopardized NHL variation of “.500,” as Ducharme’s variation went 15-16-7.

In 2020-21, and actually considering that Bergevin made the Hail Mary hire of Julien in February 2018, the Canadiens established a pattern. They regularly gobbled up the puck, playing terrific (if possibly doing not have some imagination) at even-strength. Typically, they failed due to the fact that they couldn’t complete sufficient possibilities, and due to the fact that Carey Rate didn’t play like a $10.5M goalie frequently enough. Julien likewise lost his job, it appeared, due to “meh” unique groups.

Throughout the routine season, things remained usually the exact same for the Canadiens under Ducharme. You might most likely boil modest underlying dips to situations such as Brendan Gallagher‘s injury.

In other words, Ducharme’s not going to utilize the routine season as a talking point in agreement settlements.

Just how much did Ducharme drive the Canadiens’ go to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final

Rather, Ducharme will trumpet his training job in the Canadiens’ go to the Stanley Cup Final.

However just how much did that really need to do with Ducharme’s own work? That’s a hard call, even by the currently challenging requirements of determining an NHL head coach. (It’s not as apparent as, state, an NFL coach either being a hoodie-wearing genius or absolutely overmatched.)

[Stanley Cup notebook: Nikita Kucherov’s press conference, more]

You can play the “Who really knows?” video game with almost any series. The greatest shoulder shrug originates from the Canadiens’ upset of the Golden Knights.

  • On one hand, the Canadiens really beat an exceptional Golden Knights group. It wasn’t simply a fluke, which’s a testimony to Montreal’s structure.

  • However, uh, just how much of that was Ducharme vs. Luke Richardson? (And, yeah, even Claude Julien?)

  • After all, Ducharme was separated from Video game 3 of the Semifinal to Video game 3 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final after a favorable COVID test. Ducharme might definitely assist strategy in between video games, however it just makes his effect cloudier total.

This doesn’t imply Ducharme wasn’t a property for the Canadiens. It’s simply hard to different Ducharme’s effect from, state, the arrival of “Playoff Carey Price.” Integrate those ideas with things that simply takes place throughout these runs (John Tavares injury, Mark Scheifele suspension), and the muddiness just intensifies.

2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Three

(Image by Francois Lacasse/NHLI by means of Getty Images)

Will Ducharme get the most out of young Canadiens like Caufield, Suzuki?

So, it’s challenging to determine success appropriately. That’s not outrageous. Simply take a look at the Lightning, where you can enter a battle over providing more credit to Steve Yzerman or Julien BriseBois.

However if there’s one location where it’s much easier to gripe about the Canadiens, it’s in a few of the lineup choices from Ducharme & Co.

Sure, it was good to see Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield emerge. They weren’t let loose immediately, though.

Ducharme and the Canadiens withstood injecting Caufield into the lineup till they began to get in problem vs. the Maple Leafs. When Julien left, Ducharme relatively built a various dog house for Jesperi Kotkaniemi. If you have an excellent description for why appealing defenseman Alexander Romanov just played 4 championship game beyond “he’s young,” I’d enjoy to hear it.

The Canadiens’ rejection to play Tomas Tatar was downright overwelming, if not worsening. Yet, a minimum of because case, it’s unworthy worrying about. He’s essentially specific to leave as a totally free representative.

Moving (or a minimum of not stunting) a youth motion

If the Canadiens stick with Ducharme as coach as anticipated, then it is vital to enjoy how he brings along young gamers.

The early returns stay unpleasant, even if the Canadiens delighted in that run. Will Ducharme offer Suzuki, Caufield, Kotkaniemi and others space to grow?

(Honestly, some coaches offer more youthful, innovative gamers actually brief leashes while looking the other method relating to veterans who need to “know better.”)

Actually, this is a location where Ducharme has the possibility to really be an upgrade over Julien. Coming from a minimum of his Bruins days, Julien got criticism for the methods he managed young gamers. While almost every coach wishes to restrict errors, you likewise reduce your ceiling if you don’t discover the ideal balance.

Is Ducharme the ideal option as Canadiens coach? Honestly, it’s prematurely to really inform. The Canadiens simply need to hope that Ducharme can show that their wonderful run wasn’t simply a one-time impression.

(However, possibly the genuine magic technique is to hypnotize “Playoff Carey Price” to appear regularly throughout the routine season.)

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James O’Brien is an author for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Should Canadiens stick with Ducharme as head coach? initially appeared on

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.