…….Russia won the World Hockey Championship Sunday and Alexei Emelin recorded a personal hattrick. He now has a gold, silver and bronze World Hockey medal in his four trips to the championship. He had a terrific tournament. In three tournaments and 27 games. In his 27 Emelin scored 2 goals and 3 assists. This championship he almost doubled his total; 2 goals, 2 assists in his nine games. (He missed one game with a suspension) Emelin was also the plus/minus leader among Russian defensemen at plus-twelve. Playing on the big ice surface must have seemed easy after a season in the unfriendly confines of NHL arenas. His confidence was very apparent.
……..Conspiracy theorists will tell you the NHL scouting combine has it in for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. What other explanation,they would say, for the disdain they demonstrate when NHL Central Scouting releases it’s final draft rankings. For accuracy’s sake there are actually three who played in the Quebec League this season. One of them is a Russian; Mikhail Grigorenko – Quebec/ranked 3rd. The other two are Czechs (Martin Frk-Halifax /20thand Gatineau’s Tomas Hyka/45th. The first Quebec born player is Francis Beauvillien of Rimouski, a centre/right wing ranked 56th. In Central Scouting’s top 100, only four are Quebec born. The pattern is a continuing one caused by a perceived lack of real competition in a league that is overextended in relation to the available provincial talent pool.
……Unless things change between now and the end of June, it appears that Alain Vigneault and Joel Quenneville are off the list of potential Canadiens coaching candidates. Unless Marc Bergevin wants to take an untested coach out of the junior ranks, the pickings are slim. Does Bergevin really want to resurrect Michel Therrien or Guy Carbonneau, neither of whom had demonstrated a grasp of defense-first nature of today’s game. Bob Hartley has had some success in that direction but his explosive coaching act seems to have a short shelf life with his players. Who do we know who coached that kind of hockey and actually had success? That’s right – Jacques Martin. After all, he is still in Canadiens employ with another year left on his contract. His firing was another one of Pierre Gauthier’s mid-season blunders. The team was a game above .500 when he was fired in mid-December and they would up five games under. Fans probably wouldn’t like returning to Martin’s deadly dull public persona and his defense first coaching style but, if you’ve paying attention to the way this year’s playoffs have gone, you know that offensive style hockey is dead. And Martin’s conservative system allowed him to get the most out of the players that were available to him.
…..Which brings us to something else – the assistant coaches. When assistants are effective, outside of their ability to actually coach, they walk that line halfway between head coach and players. Kirk Muller supplied an effective buffer and commication line between a demanding Jacques Martin and the complaints of his players. So did Perry Pearn. Seemed to me that Randy Cunneyworth was more effective in that role than in the head coaching job he inherited. Quite often, the head coach is given the opportunity to choose his own assistants. That has not been the case with the Canadiens in recent years. If Bergevin follows that pattern, his decisions on assistants may be as critical as his head coaching choice.
……It seems a long shot at this point but if the Canadiens actually bring on Patrick Roy as head coach Larry Brooks in Sunday’s New York Post offered an interesting scenario.
* If Patrick Roy becomes coach of the Canadiens, Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin likely would inquire about Alexander Radulov, the Nashville winger who is an impending restricted free agent, and who won the Memorial Cup playing for Roy’s QMJHL Quebec Ramparts in 2005-06.
Radulov, who does not fit the model as designed by Predators’ coach Barry Trotz, recorded 152 points (61 goals, 91 assists) playing for Roy in what was the Montreal legend’s first year behind the (Remparts) bench.
Don’t get excited. Fun to consider. Unlikely to happen on many levels starting with the hiring of Patrick Roy as head coach.