Announcement: Canadiens Set To Hire Former Player To Replace Burrows

Announcement: Canadiens Set To Hire Former Player To Replace Burrows

The Montreal Canadiens just completed a successful draft, selecting a player that both fans and management had hoped for. The Canadiens selected Ivan Demidov with the fifth overall pick, a player they coveted prior to the 2023 draft. That wasn’t the only news from the Habs during the weekend; they also lost an assistant coach, who will need to be replaced before the start of the next season.

Canadiens’ Burrows Chooses to Step Down From Assistant Coaching Job

During the 2024 NHL Draft, Canadiens assistant coach Alex Burrows stepped down to spend more time with his family. He spent 12 seasons with the Vancouver Canucks from 2005-2016 before being traded to the Ottawa Senators in 2017 and concluding his career there in 2018. He had 205 goals, 409 points, and 1,134 penalty minutes as a player. He also represented Team Canada in the World Championship twice, accumulating four points in 11 games but never winning a medal.

The Canadiens hired Burrows as an assistant coach for their American Hockey League affiliate, the Laval Rocket, in 2018. He held the job until Feb. 24, 2021, when he was promoted to assistant coach with Montreal. He had the position until this offseason when he decided to step down and take a lesser role as a player development consultant.

Canadiens Find a Good Power Play Coach

Burrows was hired primarily to coach the Canadiens’ power play (PP), which was one of the worst in the NHL at the time. It wasn’t all Burrows’ fault; the club lacked the quality to have a consistently effective PP, and it appeared that Burrows was unwilling to modify anything to improve or change the look of the unit. Last season, head coach Martin St. Louis indicated that he was assisting with the PP, while Burrows was mostly responsible for offensive coaching. St. Louis was a good coach who accepted responsibility for Burrows’ safety. Nonetheless, the power play was terrible and never improved, even as the Canadiens players improved their entire game.

The Canadiens now have a chance to look for a coach who can help bring their PP along and improve it, which will help the team win more games and instill greater confidence in the young roster. It would be wise for management to bring in a successful coach who can also help St. Louis improve on the team offence, which was also one of the worst in the league the past few seasons. The PP would be a great start to improve on, and its success will trickle down to other aspects of the game and help the team get closer to their goal of making the playoffs this upcoming season.

The Canadiens have numerous options for replacing Burrows. They might stay with the organization and promote one of Laval’s remaining assistant coaches. However, the Rockets are short on coaches and need to replace their head coach. They could look at their player development team and consider Francis Boullion, but he is a defenceman and has never played on the power play. The franchise could consider hiring a former NHL head coach, such as Gerrard Gallant, Vincent Pascal (who was recently sacked by the Columbus Blue Jackets), or Guy Boucher. Any of these coaches would greatly benefit the team, particularly those with more experience behind the bench, which may also help St. Louis progress.

They could also hire a former player that coaches overseas with Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec, and Alexi Kovalev. Kovalev stated he would like an NHL job and contacted Montreal before. All three players have coaching jobs in Europe or Russia and have experience behind the bench since they retired. One of these Canadiens alumni being hired would excite the fans, and they all could help improve the PP. Kovalev and Markov have extensive knowledge of how a successful PP works. No matter who the Habs hire, if they stick to their mantra with players they play or acquire, they will hire someone to improve the team and make it successful.

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