Canadiens Fire Ducharme, Hire St. Louis as Interim Coach

MONTREAL (AP) — The Montreal Canadiens fired coach Dominique Ducharme on Wednesday and made Corridor of Famer Martin St. Louis the interim coach of the workforce with the NHL’s worst file.

Ducharme was dismissed after Montreal started its season with a dismal 8-30-7 file for a league-worst 23 factors. The 48-year-old’s final sport was a 7-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night time, Montreal’s seventh straight defeat. The workforce has but to put up back-to-back wins this season.

The Canadiens went 23-46-14 in 83 regular-season video games below Ducharme and 13-6 in postseason play, making the Stanley Cup Ultimate final season for the primary time since successful their twenty fourth and final Stanley Cup in 1993.

“We wish to sincerely thank Dominique for his work and contributions to the Montreal Canadiens group. At this level within the season, we felt it was in the most effective curiosity of the membership to make a change,” Canadiens common supervisor Kent Hughes mentioned in an announcement.

St. Louis had 391 targets and 1,033 factors in his 16-year profession, serving to the Tampa Bay Lightning win the 2004 Stanley Cup. He additionally performed for the Calgary Flames and New York Rangers.

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The Canadiens opened this season with 5 straight losses and Normal Supervisor Marc Bergevin was fired Nov. 28 with the workforce struggling at 6-15-2. Montreal has simply two wins since.

Final July, Ducharme agreed to a contract extension by the 2023-24 season. He had been interim head coach since he took over from the fired Claude Julien final February.

Ducharme paid the worth for Montreal’s terrible begin to the season after its dramatic run by final yr’s Stanley Cup playoffs. The Canadiens are a shell of that workforce. They misplaced facilities Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Philip Danault to free company and are lacking star goaltender Carey Worth and captain Shea Weber.

Worth voluntarily entered the joint NHL and NHL Gamers’ Affiliation’s help program throughout coaching camp and is presently working his means again from low season knee surgical procedure. Weber, a staunch defenseman who anchored the blue line, is on the long-term harm reserve listing with a foot/ankle harm and isn’t anticipated to return.

And the younger gamers have slumped. Nick Suzuki, who signed an eight-year contract extension value $63 million earlier than the season, has 27 factors on 9 targets and 18 assists by 45 video games. Cole Caufield, who impressed tremendously when known as up as a rookie final season, has only one purpose and 7 assists in 30 video games.

Due to a mix of latest programs, inconsistent play, a COVID-19 shutdown, key accidents and a condensed calendar, the workforce initially struggled with Ducharme on the helm. The Canadiens managed a 15-16-7 file to complete the common season and had been the lowest-ranked workforce to qualify for final season’s Stanley Cup playoffs earlier than they abruptly got here alive, beating the Maple Leafs, Jets and Golden Knights to achieve the finals.

Montreal misplaced the Cup to the defending champion Lightning in 5 video games.

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