If you’ve ever watched Malcolm In The Middle, you may remember this line. To put it into context, Dewey and his other brothers are in a competitive game of basketball against their father. After they team up and win, Dewey looks down at his defeated dad and tells him, “The future is now old man.” The connection between this line and the Montreal Canadiens goes back to the end of year press conference which took place at the Bell Centre.
Geoff Molson made it very clear that after a horrible season like the one that just ended that it would lead to several changes and for a better future on all spectrums surrounding his club. The changes came and they came in numbers. When looking around the league and where you can connect pieces to Montreal, Rick Dudley left for the Carolina Hurricanes after interest reportedly grew with the Canadiens organization. Furthermore, they moved on from all NHL coaches except for Claude Julien, Kirk Muller and goaltending coach Stéphane Waite. Everyone in Laval no longer had a job and Larry Carrière was no longer the GM of the inaugural AHL Rocket team. However, he is still a member of the team, now severing as assistant GM of the Habs alongside Marc Bergevin. The old is gone and the new comes in.
Dominique Ducharme was hired to assist Claude Julien, Joël Bouchard was brought in as bench coach of the Rocket while a bright future on the horizon with the signings of our skilled prospects to entry level deals such as Jake Evans, Lukas Vejdemo, Will Bitten and undrafted free agents such as Hayden Verbeek and Alexandre Alain. 6 picks in the first 70 selections (10 in total) are held by the Canadiens in this year’s NHL entry draft next month in Dallas. When I said the future was now, it means the new wave is coming. New age coaches, new age players and a new team will prove to leave the old way behind and evolve into a more refined organization.
Ducharme and Bouchard come in with a track record not many have. Both won gold medals at this year’s World Juniors with Team Canada. Ducharme won CHL coach of the year in 2012-2013 as a member of the Halifax Mooseheads. Bouchard lead his junior team, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, to two straight finals while he also adds two QMJHL coach of the year awards to his impressive resume.
This is the future of coaching in this city and both are from our own back yard. I am excited when I hear prospects heading to Laval will have a great instructor and mentor like Bouchard. Those who make it to the big club will have a modern voice to listen to with Ducharme. These two were not hired because they were French-Canadian, but because they were the two of the best coaches available.
For the longest time, the Montreal Canadiens were described as old fashioned and building a team for the 90’s. While I disagreed at first, the truth comes to find you whether you like it or not. Marc Bergevin cut ties with those he no longer felt would bring this team to the next step and now he brings in fresh blood and that is something to be excited about.
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.