There was a point where Larry Robinson’s name came up when new Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin was on the hunt for a head coach to replace Randy Cunneyworth. The rumour floated around for a couple of days and then fell away and Robinson, who most of us thought had no interest in being an NHL head coach again, signed as an assistant with the San Jose Sharks. Turns out Larry actually was interested in the head coaching job in Montreal, but has he hold the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson over the weekend, things never worked out.
“I kind of thought of working there (in Montreal) this year, but I guess the writing was on the wall … it wasn’t going to happen. I was supposed to meet with Bergevin (to interview) but we had a big storm and a flood in Florida and I wanted to make sure everything was fine at the farm. I wanted to make sure the horses and my machinery weren’t going to float away,” said Robinson.
“Then he got word I was taking other offers (Sharks general manager Doug Wilson had called out of the blue to see about Robinson moving to San Jose). He did what he had to do and I did what I had to do. They found somebody else,” said Robinson, who scoffed at the suggestion they had to go for a French-Canadian coach after interim coach Randy Cunneyworth was left to hang in the wind.
“If Randy had gone on a 20-game winning streak, would they be talking whether he was English or French or British? No. To me that’s a crock, a lame excuse, any time you’re not having success,” he said. “I was an English-Canadian when I went to Montreal and lived there for 18 years and never felt uncomfortable. I never felt like I was an outsider. You hire the best people available.”
You can read Matheson’s Robinson column here.