Monday was a very busy day for the Habs as it
was announced that Jacques Martin would be taking over as the Habs’ new coach.
It didn’t take long for the second domino to topple either, as GM Bob Gainey
announced during Martin’s introductory press conference that longtime goalie
coach Roland Melanson would not be returning next season after spending the past
12 seasons in the organization as the team’s goaltending instructor.
Over the years, there seems to be a rather significant difference of opinion
when it comes to his success with the franchise, particularly in the last few.
Jose Theodore had his best seasons under "Rollie the Goalie" but also became the
league’s most expensive backup under his tutelage. Cristobal Huet was a
complete unknown when he joined the Habs but played well enough to make Theodore
the league’s most expensive backup. David Aebischer’s lack of success on
the other hand fuels the fire for his detractors, as did the up and down play of
the enigmatic Carey Price.
It’s a sad thing in sports but it always seems to hold true – no matter how good
a coach may be, there comes a point when a new voice is simply needed, and this
could very well be the case here. Personally speaking, I think the time is
right; Melanson has had a very fruitful run with the team and with a new coach
(and likely coaching staff) coming, why not start fresh?
As always, now comes the debate about who could join the staff to replace him.
There are a lot of qualified candidates out there, but like Melanson, they are
butterfly specialists with a #1 goalie whose best performances came as more of a
hybrid/stand up goalie. A shortlist of candidates at this point are as
François Allaire – goaltending coach with Anaheim through the end of this
season – his contract expires in 2 weeks; reports suggest he’s already asked the
Ducks to allow him to speak with other NHL teams.
Olaf Kolzig – an off-the-wall name considering he’s still playing, but
Kolzig owns the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, and worked with Price during his
junior days. Will he even retire though?
David Marcoux – was recently relieved of his duties with the Calgary
Flames when GM Darryl Sutter fired then-coach Mike Keenan.
Phil Myre – worked with new coach Jacques Martin during his stint with
the Panthers, not currently working with another team.
Perry Pearn – under that same idea, Pearn was the goaltending coach with
the Senators during Martin’s stint there.
Eli Wilson – current goalie coach with the Senators, Price attends his
goaltending summer schools on a regular basis.
At this time, I’d like to extend my public congratulations to HW writer T.C.
Denault. T.C. took a leave of absence from the site earlier this season to
work on a new book that will be released this November, entitled Jacques Plante:
The Man Who Changed The Face Of Hockey. Everyone at the site is extremely
proud of you T.C., I know I can’t wait to read it! More information about
the book can be found