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Canadiens fire coach Carbonneau; Gainey takes over

Monday, 03.09.2009 / 6:01 PM / News

Associated Press

MONTREAL (AP) -Guy Carbonneau was fired as coach of the struggling Montreal Canadiens, hockey's most historic franchise that is in danger of missing the playoffs in its 100th season.

The timing of Monday's move was a bit surprising because the Canadiens are currently in a playoff position and there are only 16 games left in the regular season.

General manager Bob Gainey, who handed the coaching duties over to Carbonneau three years ago, will return behind the bench when Montreal hosts Edmonton on Tuesday.

The Canadiens started Monday in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but they were only one point above the postseason cutoff. What was supposed to be a season of celebration has turned into one of difficulty.

Montreal (35-24-7) went into a free fall in late January and February, losing 10 of 13. The Canadiens, 5-4-1 in their previous 10 games, won 3-1 at Dallas on Sunday in their last game with Carbonneau as coach.

Carbonneau officially became the head coach on May 5, 2006, after serving as an associate to Gainey for the final 41 games of the 2005-06 season. Gainey took the job after firing coach Claude Julien. He announced then that Carbonneau would take over as head coach the following season.

In 230 games with the Canadiens over three seasons, Carbonneau was 124-83-23. He is the seventh NHL coach fired this season, and the fourth in five weeks.

Associate coach Doug Jarvis, along with assistant coaches Kirk Muller and Roland Melanson will remain on Gainey's coaching staff.

Gainey, a Hall of Fame forward in 16 seasons with the Canadiens, also had a coaching stint with the Minnesota-Dallas franchise from 1990-96. He was 23-15-3 behind the Canadiens bench.

Quote of the Day

Your team is going to want to recapture the feeling. What they're going to have to figure out is they're going to have to rewrite the story. Because you're going to rewrite the story doesn't mean you want a different end. It's just that you're going to have to learn that there's different challenges to get there, and if you're going to try and tap the same feeling, it ain't going to happen.

— Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi on maintaining their success from last season