Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Canadiens Fire Perry Pearn

Less than 2 hours prior to their game against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Montreal Canadiens announced that assistant coach Perry Pearn had been relieved of his functions.

This opens a spot behind the bench for Randy Ladouceur, who had been "assistant coaching" from the press box. Ladouceur came up to the Habs from the Hamilton Bulldogs along with Randy Cunneyworth this summer, but only one spot on the bench was available at the time (that replacing Kirk Muller).

Pearn has been an assistant coach in the NHL every season going back to 1995-96, when he was behind the bench with the Winnipeg Jets. He joined the Habs prior to the 2009-10 season, coming over from the New York Rangers who were no longer pleased with his services after 4 seasons there, where he was in charge of a sputtering powerplay as well as the defense. Rangers fans seemed please about his departure at the time, painting him as someone who sticks to his guns even when the plan is failing. (for more on that, see here:

He previously worked with Jacques Martin as part of the Ottawa Senators staff, feeding into the notion of a Jacques Martin / Pierre Gauthier "country club" running the team.

Gauthier said Pearn was offerred another position to remain with the organization, but it is still unknown whether or not he'll take it. Over the summer, there were rumours that the Edmonton Oil Kings were interested in hiring Pearn to head coach their Western Hockey League club, so perhaps he will try to go the junior route.

When pressed on a reason for the firing, Gauthier repeated several times a mantra of the team "changing its global outlook" and starting to "think outside the box." While he wouldn't give specific details, he did also add that he was getting frequent phone calls from other general managers proposing trades. It will be interesting to see what the next few days hold, especially given the team has a long break following Saturday's game against the Boston Bruins.

This isn't the huge Gauthier / Martin firing shake-up that many are clamouring for, but it's a start. In Gauthier's press conference, he mentioned that Martin is still his "homme de confiance," or "his guy." It seems like the pair will sink or swim together, though Gauthier also said that Martin tried to convince him not to fire Pearn. One might read into this move that the PG / JM team has some degree of immunity for this season, especially given that Gauthier was able to offer Pearn another position. It will be interesting to see how Geoff Molson will address the situation as President if the team continues to struggle.

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