Monday, May 11, 2009

On second thought...

...maybe Larry Robinson doesn't need that kind of a headache.

Kudos goes out to colleague Dave Stubbs over at The Gazette for calling RDS on that report of Robinson's interest in the Habs head coaching gig.

Though Robinson is never quoted as saying flat out that he wouldn't want the job, he appears to be pretty reticent to become the head coach here, and who can really blame him?

I think Robinson would be a strong candidate for the job just because he would instill a defence-first style of play that might make life easier for Carey Price in the coming years. But, honestly, it's been nearly four years since Robinson's been the head man behind an NHL bench, and it's probably not the best idea to make a comeback like that in Montreal for someone who originally left the coaching ranks because of stress New Jersey.

Meanwhile, Marc Crawford has confirmed his interest in the job in this interview with blogger Raphaël Gendron-Martin, going to great lengths to stress the presence of Francophones in his life like his mother (a Duval from Chicoutimi, he says) and wife (Franco-Ontarian from Cornwall).

Crawford's track record as a coach is a bit stronger than Robinson's, but he never really accomplished a whole lot coaching teams that didn't have Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic, winning only one playoff round in six full seasons in Vancouver and missing the playoffs twice in that span despite banking on one of the top lines in hockey. It goes without saying that Crawford never made the playoffs in his two seasons in Los Angeles.

That's where Crawford and Robinson cross paths, because they both coached elite teams to the Stanley Cup yet struggled to coach the Kings. And I don't think anyone should really be blamed for that.

But the question is whether or not either Robinson or Crawford could take whatever this Habs team looks like in the fall and turn it into a winner.

Crawford appears to believe the Habs still have a good, young core to build around and sees a bright future for the club, but what else is he supposed to say when he clearly wants that head coaching gig? Robinson, on the other hand, appears to be more willing to discuss an assistant's job, and having someone like him to help the defence is exactly what the Habs lacked this season (among other things).

So maybe the solution is to bring in Crawford as head coach and Robinson as his assistant? Maybe the two of them combined could become the equivalent of one elite head coach. While we're at it, why not also hire François Allaire away from the Ducks as goalie coach and completely rebuild the coaching staff?

It could be exactly what this team needs.

UPDATE: I missed this little nugget of news over the weekend, but apparently Patrick Roy would be willing to listen if the Habs came calling. He told ESPN's Pierre LeBrun as much after meeting with his former agent and Colorado Avalanche president Pierre Lacroix in Denver. Roy as head coach in Montreal, wow. I thought Guy Carbonneau was a good quote, but I have a feeling Roy would easily top him.


metricjulie said...

Good article. I don't know much about them, but I like the direction you took and the parallels you made. Nice work.

Anonymous said...

i would welcome a crawford-robinson tandem! i just hope it doesn't take all summer to make it happen because by that time the habs will look more like the kings than the avs...

if patrick roy wants to replace rollie i'm cool with that, but behind the bench? oh dear.


Sliver24 said...

It would be great to have that much coaching experience behind the bench. The oversized rings on their fingers don't hurt either!

As for St. Patrick, I like him right where he is. St. Elsewhere.

Schrick said...

This isn't Sweden, two strong coaches on the bench, and one watching from above won't work.