Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Cross Checks [Print without images]

Friday, May 25, 2012
Rumblings: Montreal coaching search

By Pierre LeBrun

An update on the coaching search for the Montreal Canadiens before I head back out on the road Monday for the Stanley Cup finals.

The sense I get is that the Habs aren’t terribly far from making their decision, my guess is sometime within the next week or two.

The candidates I continuously hear mentioned include Michel Therrien, Marc Crawford and Bob Hartley -- all three have interviewed.

Guy Carbonneau and Patrick Roy are other names that have percolated -- I think the Habs have met with both, as well -- but I’m not sure at this point how serious they are as contenders. You never know on the Roy front, but personally I would view it as a risk for a rookie GM (Marc Bergevin) to hire a rookie coach. I could be wrong, but that’s my own opinion.

Alain Vigneault would have been a serious contender for the Habs job had the Canucks decided to let him go. But that’s a moot point now with Vancouver wisely signing him to an extension.

Hartley’s situation is complicated because he is under contract to coach in Switzerland and it’s not clear whether or not he’d be able to get out to come back and coach in the NHL.

Crawford is bilingual in French and English from his days with the Quebec Nordiques. That certainly works to his favor, as does his relationship with Bergevin, who he coached in Vancouver.

Therrien, of course, is a former Habs coach but that was a decade ago and I personally don't think that should work against him. At least I wouldn’t hold it against him. Therrien’s career has grown since then, including coaching a young Pittsburgh team to within two wins of a Stanley Cup championship.

Also, I would expect the Canadiens to soon announce the hiring of executive Rick Dudley from Toronto. My sense is that will be announced before the coaching hire.

UPDATE 11:05 a.m. ET
The Canadiens announced Friday they hired Rick Dudley as their assistant general manager.