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The Fans Choice: The next coach of the Habs should be...
The Fans Choice: The next coach of the Habs should be...(2012-05-24 21:46 posted by B. La Rose)

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.



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