Following Tuesday’s victory against Ottawa, the Canadiens made another coaching change as goalie coach Stephane Waite was relieved of his duties. Sean Burke, who had been serving as a scout, has been named Montreal’s Director of Goaltending and will serve as his replacement. As he will first need to undergo a quarantine period before joining the team, Laval goalie coach Marco Marciano will serve in an interim role until that time.
Waite has been with the Habs since 2013 after being hired away from Chicago. He and Carey Price had a good working relationship over that time but Price’s poor performance this season certainly was a big factor in this decision. Even with yesterday’s victory, he has just a .893 SV% this season in 13 starts, well below his career average of .917 and also considerably lower than his previous career-low of .900 in 2017-18. Speaking with the media on Wednesday, GM Marc Bergevin indicated that he didn’t consult with Price before making the move.
Bergevin also acknowledged the strong relationship between the two but called it a “gut feeling” that led him to make the move which was based on the ups and downs of Price’s performance in recent years. He also indicated that there will be no other coaching changes this season.
As for Burke, he has been with the team since 2016 in a scouting role but is no stranger to goaltending having spent parts of 18 seasons in the NHL between the pipes. This also won’t be his first time in a goalie coaching role as he held that position with Phoenix for seven years from 2009-10 through 2015-16 before joining Montreal. The Habs are expecting him to be available to begin his coaching role on March 19th.
The Director of Goaltending is a fairly new position that has just started over the past few months but the Panthers, Flames, and Islanders are among the teams that have already appointed one. With those teams, people in that role will have a greater say in goaltender scouting and development and it’s reasonable to infer that this will be the case with Burke as well.