The way things are going, we may have Canadiens news every day until hockey season!
Doug Jarvis, who was such an intelligent, hard-working defensive specialist as a player for Montreal between 1975 and 1981, and who was an assistant coach for the Habs from 2005 until now, has been fired. There’s been a lot of questions about the style of play implemented by the coaching staff in Montreal this year, and maybe Jarvis’ idea of style of play was the wrong idea.
Bob Gainey, with probable urging from new head coach Jacques Martin, has sent Jarvis packing, but has decided to keep Kirk Muller to help Martin. It’s a good, solid partial-change to coincide with the sacking of Don Lever and Ron Wilson in Hamilton. Fresh faces with fresh thinking is what’s needed for this ailing team. And it’s the old adage that’s been around longer than Chris Chelios; you fire coaches because you can’t fire twenty players.
When you have such defensive specialists like Jarvis as assistant coaches, why were the Habs so drastically outshot on most nights last season? It’s that one simple question that many of us asked all season. And because the team’s defensive forwards were so abominable, then Jarvis was someone who had to take the fall, and why the team has to try someone different, go in another direction.
How many nights were the Canadiens bombarded with outlandish numbers like 40 shots to 20 or so? How many nights was Carey Price hung out to dry because both forwards and defence allowed the other team to shoot at will?
Montreal had four of the greatest defensive forwards in the history of the game in charge last season – Guy Carbonneau, Kirk Muller, Jarvis, and Gainey. And yet most teams on most nights had their way with the Habs – even strength, short-handed, and power play. The Canadiens let the opposition swarm in and blast away. They couldn’t stop anyone. Things snowballed out of control in goal because there were so many shots that bad ones were bound to go in, which led to a massive confidence problem for a young goalie like Price. Rarely did he receive any defensive help from either the forwards or defence. And Jarvis, along with Muller, were in charge of making sure the forwards looked after both ends of the rink.
Good luck to Doug Jarvis. He’s a class guy. But the Canadiens need a complete revamping. Coaches and players need to be replaced if this team is to go anywhere. Jarvis was just another casualty as the Canadiens look to climb out of the deep pit they’ve found themselves in.