MONTREAL – With two new additions in a single day, the Canadiens coaching staff is nearing completion.
If you found yourself wondering over the past week what the coaching team Michel Therrien was planning to assemble might look like, it’s safe to say you should have a pretty good idea after this Friday.
While there still remains one position left to fill – that of defensive coach – Therrien made some major progress over the course of Friday with the additions of first, Gerard Gallant, and then Clement Jodoin, to his staff. Taking a moment to meet with the media on the heels of his two personnel signings, Therrien outlined his reasons for bringing both men on board.
|Clement Jodoin and Michel Therrien|
“I’m extremely happy to have Gerard Gallant joining us – I thought he’d be the prefect guy,” began Therrien, singing the praises of former Sea Dogs’ coach, who will be expected to work closely with the Canadiens’ forwards. “When I got hired, I had a few people in mind, but he was my number one choice. First of all, I have huge respect for him as a player and I respect the fact that he went to the American league, really learned to be a coach there, and ended up in the NHL as a coach. When he went back to the QMJHL, he had enormous success with the Sea Dogs.”
In the same way that Therrien himself turned around a largely inexperienced Pittsburgh Penguins’ squad when he took over the struggling team in 2006-07, the Habs bench boss clearly has great respect for Gallant’s ability to develop and get the most out of his young skaters.
“He’s capable of working with young kids and the kids really love to work with him,” added Therrien. “We’ve got some great young prospects and I believe that it’s really important to be able to adapt to young players. I know Gerry is going to be a great fit in that way.”
Within a few hours of the announcement of Gallant’s nomination, came another, welcoming former Hamilton Bulldogs’ coach, Clement Jodoin to the team.
“He’s such a good teacher. Every year he goes to Europe and tries to find new things, and that’s the way he works,” pointed out Therrien, going on to explain what he has in store for Jodoin. “The rolls aren’t all definite yet, but I foresee him working in the pressbox, doing some scouting. He talks hockey, he sleeps hockey and I’m not sure, but he might even eat hockey too. He’s got so much passion for the sport and he’s going to be a huge plus for us.”
No stranger to change, and equally excited to climb on board with the Canadiens after only one year in Hamilton, Jodoin weighed in on his new position and what he hopes to bring to the Habs’ coaching staff.
“I wasn’t really expecting this at all. Being a coach is a little bit like being a gypsy – you move, you start over, you keep going. I’m starting my 36th season in this business and I have the same amount of interest and passion as I did on Day 1,” shared the two-time QMJHL coach of the year, who coached against Gallant during their time in the Q. “We know the challenge we have ahead of us and we know it’s a big one. We have to bring pride back to this organization.
“For sure, I have experience and a certain expertise. That’s what a head coach looks for – good support, and it’s my job to help him find solutions as quickly as possible,” continued Jodoin who also helped Team Canada win three gold medals at the World Junior Championship. “That’s what coaching is: finding solutions when there’s a crisis. It’s a battle and we have to take the elements we have at our disposal, learn how to use them best, and then go to war.”
After confirming that goaltending coach, Pierre Groulx will be back next season to continue his work with Carey Price, Therrien now only has the role of defensive coach to fill before completing his coaching staff.
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
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