Dreger: Carbonneau's firing a complicated decision

Darren Dreger
3/9/2009 8:09:23 PM
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Guy Carbonneau's firing isn't as simple as the Montreal Canadiens needing a new voice or a late season change in direction.

As is often the case when an NHL coach is let go in-season, there's much more to it than that.

There's too much respect for Carbonneau for anyone inside the Montreal organization to pick at his carcass, but his firing with just 16 regular season games remaining came as no surprise to some, while others speculate Carbonneau's firing may have been encouraged by ownership.

Sources say Carbonneau struggled when it came to communicating with his players and tried to avoid any dialogue with a player that may have led to confrontation.  Because of this, at times, sources say the players felt the distance and in certain instances, retreated.

Canadiens star Alex Kovalev was banished for two games last month after Bob Gainey stepped in and forced him to stay home from a road trip, hoping to re-ignite his star forward's passion.

Some suggest that situation and the publicity circus that followed could have been avoided with better communication between coach and player.

Gainey says his decision to intervene and attempt to rectify the issues plaguing Kovalev was made following a meeting with his coaching staff.

Although the Canadiens have managed to stay in the playoff mix, Montreal hasn't played well for a long time and for reasons that extend well beyond a failure to communicate, the players were no longer playing for Guy Carbonneau, or as Gainey stated, "emotionally the team was no longer engaged".

Hence, it's Bob Gainey's job to fix what ultimately cost Guy Carbonneau his job.

Darren Dreger

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