On Wednesday afternoon after arriving in Winnipeg, Marc Bergevin spoke to the media via zoom to explain his decision behind firing Marc Bergevin and Kirk Muller and replacing them with Dominique Ducharme and Alexandre Burrows.
“I saw a team that was lost, I saw a team that lost its sense of direction and it’s stuff that happens in the world of professional sports that the coaches continue to talk and give instructions but after a certain period of time the message doesn’t get through anymore and based what I saw in the last couple weeks and a little bit last year with a short season I took the decision to make a change and to bring Ducharme to the team.”
He was also asked when he had decided to pull the trigger and fire both his head coach and lead assistant:
“It was a decision that took a lot of thinking, the final decision in my head was taken overnight, it was very important and it’s one that I assume but I didn’t take it lightly and in the morning after a short night of sleep I got in touch with Claude and Kirk and told them the news.”
Bergevin also spoke that due to the fact they were playing a shortened season if that was one of the factors into firing his coaches 18 games into the season:
“That came into play, yes we have a short season, it’s almost a quarter away already, we raised the bar early on, I addressed the team this morning, I felt a change needed to be made and that’s when I made my final decision.”
He was also asked if he considered Joel Bouchard for the position and how he decided on Ducharme:
“No, first of all, I want to make that clear quarantine or no quarantine, Dom was my guy from the time I made my decision and the reason why he’s a new model of coach, a young coach that came a long way, had success at the junior level, had success at the world juniors, I feel with a new voice that’s what a team needs also he’s a good communicator and based on what I saw that’s what the players are looking for.”
He spoke also on the decision to bring up Burrows from Laval to work on the special teams behind the bench:
“He’s a young coach and I liked what I saw from him in Laval and I spoke to Dominique he supported me 100% on the move to bring Alex up.”
Bergevin addressed the high standard he has for the team and what his expectations are:
“I know what type of team we have, I know what we are capable of doing, obviously our special teams need to be better, a lot better, and again it’s like losing momentum, we were looking like a team we didn’t know, it was not in sync and that needs to be better.”
After hearing from Bergevin, Ducharme was up to face the media for the first time as the “interim” head coach.
“First of all, we need a plan that is clear, we still have a lot of work to do, I still have to meet with the coaches and the players tonight were going to come up with objectives and take it gradually and we will start like that.”
Ducharme added what he can change on the team in regards to strategy on the ice:
“There’s a few things like I said in all three zones, there are not too many practices, we have different tools, we’ll use everything we have to grasp it and get better every day”.
He also spoke on what it’s going to take to get back to the level that the team was playing at the beginning of the season:
“Playing with energy, playing in sync, playing the right way, I think we need to go back to those little things and make sure we are doing them right and for sure there’s going to be some adjustment but we’ll focus on our plan and I’m confident that we have a good team here and we’ll have success.”
He added what it meant for him to be named the next head coach of the Montreal Canadiens:
“It means a lot but I’m losing two colleagues, two great persons, Claude is a great man and I got to know Kirk to see them leave obviously it’s a mixed feeling, yes I am proud to be here, It was a long road for me, I’m proud of that, I think it made me grow as a coach and I feel ready for it.”
Ducharme added if we would see a major difference in the way the team would be coached:
“That’s a good question, I think we’re going to see it in the way we play, the best answers are going to be on the ice, we have ways to go, it’s going to take a little bit of time for sure.”