Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien, associate coach Kirk Muller

USATSI

Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller were relieved of their duties on Wednesday, general manager Marc Bergevin announced. Montreal is promoting Dominique Ducharme to interim head coach, while the team is also adding Alex Burrows to the coaching staff.

Luke Richardson and Stephane Waite will remain in their respective assistant coaching roles.

“I would like to sincerely thank Claude and Kirk for their contributions to our team over the past five years during which we worked together,” Bergevin said in a statement. “I have great respect for these two men whom I hold in high regard. In Dominique Ducharme, we see a very promising coach who will bring new life and new energy to our group. We feel that our team can achieve high standards and the time had come for a change.”

Julien, who helped lead the Boston Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011, is one of the league’s highest-paid head coach with a $5 million annual salary. His contract was due to expire following the 2021-22 season. Muller served as the Canadiens’ interim head coach in the 2020 playoffs when Julien missed time due to chest pains. 

Ducharme had been an assistant coach the past two seasons prior to Wednesday’s promotion. In April 2018, the 47-year old joined the team’s coaching staff after 10 seasons in the QMJHL. Ducharme helped lead the Halifax Mooseheads to the Memorial Cup during the 2012-13 campaign while also earning the league’s honor for top coach.

The Canadiens currently hold a 9-5-4 record during the 2021 season and are actually off to a strong start this season. The team won five of their first seven games, and the two losses came via overtime or shootout. However, the Canadiens have won just two of their last eight games and are currently on a three-game losing streak.

Montreal are currently just eight points behind the North Division-leading Toronto Maple Leafs, so the team is still firmly in the playoff race despite the personnel changes.

Published: 2021-02-24 18:13:31

Tags: #Canadiens #fire #coach #Claude #Julien #associate #coach #Kirk #Muller

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