SHARE

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

It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun.

— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday
AMP No Bull Moment of the Week