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There are two questions dominating the water cooler talk throughout Montreal
these days.  The first is who will the next coach of the Habs be while the
second is who should the next coach be.  Earlier this month, we covered the
latter of those questions when we asked fans to evaluate several of the options
out there and who their choice was to be behind the Canadiens’ bench in 2012-13. 
Here are the results of that survey answered by 374 Habs fans.

First, a quick overview of the characteristics portion.

Having NHL coaching experience was something that two-thirds of the voters
found important.  However, that experience doesn’t have to be with the Habs
as less than 10% said that having played or worked for the team is important. 
One element that I found interesting was that most voters wanted a system-based
style.  After seeing so many complaints about past coaches it appears that
the fans still don’t want a coach who just lets his players play.  One
thing that most fans agreed on was that it’s not important for the next coach to
rely on the veterans in late situations, a philosophy that most of Montreal’s
recent coaches shared. 

Much has been made about New York Rangers coach John Tortorella this
postseason with regards to his demeanour behind the bench during the game. 
He is regularly vocal with his players and the officials which is something of
an opposite to Jacques Martin.  The fans are looking for ‘chirpiness’ as
two-thirds of the voters felt it is important that the next coach is heard a
little more often.  The biggest point of contention of course is the
language issue.  It came as no surprise to me that this was the closest of
any of the categories.  In the end, a few more felt it wasn’t necessary for
the coach to be bilingual but it was an underwhelming majority to say the least.

As for who the choice of who fans want to be the next coach, we have created
an approval score based on the 1-4 scale used in the survey.  Each
candidates’ score was tallied and divided by the best score possible before
being divided by 100 to yield a percentage.  There are some distinct
favourites, some definite no’s, and some in between.  I’ve broken them into
three categories.

The ‘Anyone but him’ category:

Coach


Approval Score (/100)
Mario Tremblay 23.9
Andy Murray 26.7
Jacques Martin 28.9
Benoit
Groulx
30.2

Although it doesn’t really surprise me to see any of the first three names in
this category, I do find it intriguing that they all have coaching experience,
something a majority of the voters indicated was important to them in the first
half.  Groulx had a cup of coffee in the AHL a few years ago but his
reputation of being one of the more respected QMJHL coaches didn’t seem to
matter here.

The ‘He’s better but so are other options’ category:
 

Coach


Approval Score (/100)
Gerard Gallant 33.5
Brent Sutter 33.9
Pascal Vincent 33.9
Michel
Therrien
35.2
Paul Maurice 35.4
Denis Savard 36.0

There was an interesting trend out of this group.  The older the coach,
the lower the support.  The younger group was penalized some as more voters
opted to pick ‘I don’t know’ rather than give an opinion.  The biggest
surprise to me was the presence of Michel Therrien here.  Personally, I’m
not a fan of his candidacy but I sensed he had more support than he received
from the voters.

The ‘Legitimate option’ category:

Coach


Approval Score (/100)
Marc Crawford 51.0
Jacques
Lemaire
51.3
Bob Hartley 52.4
Guy
Carbonneau
52.5
Patrick Roy 54.9
Larry
Robinson
62.6
Alain Vigneault 67.0

Of course, Vancouver went and messed up this results article by announcing
that Vigneault had extended his contract so we now know he won’t be the next
coach.  With the exception of Robinson, all of these candidates were rather
polarizing; they each had a lot of number one choice picks but also had numerous
bad option selections. 

When you consider that Vigneault is no longer an option and Robinson’s
comments suggesting he won’t be a candidate, that means we’re looking at a group
with a rating barely better than 50 as the ‘most popular’ candidates.  In
other words, there isn’t much of a consensus out there for who our readers want
as next coach.  The hiring of Marc Bergevin as GM was widely applauded. 
Based on this I think it’s safe to say that the next coach of the Montreal
Canadiens will not have the same level of support as the man who hires him. 
The debate for who the next coach of the Habs continues and likely will for
quite some time after the hiring is announced.  Of course, you can weigh in
with your thoughts on the continuing discussion on the

HW Forums
.