After St. Louis Blues assistant coaches Brad Shaw and Kirk Muller left following head coach Ken Hitchcock signed a contract extension, the Montreal Canadiens were quick to sweep up their former powerplay director.
Kirk Muller took a job as the Habs’ associate coach for the second time in his coaching career. It’s not the second time he’ll be the assistant coach, but the second time that he’ll be coaching with the bleu, blanc et rouge. Muller was previously the assistant coach of the Canadiens from 2006 to 2011. So what’s the difference between associate and assistant head coach? Good luck figuring that one out.
Kirk Muller was the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes from 2011 to 2014, where he and the team failed to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs. It wasn’t Muller’s fault, as the Hurricanes organization had been poorly mismanaged. Muller’s best players were Eric Staal, Justin Faulk, and Cam Ward, without a proper supporting cast.
Muller was in charge of the sixth ranked Blues’ powerplay in 2015-16, while the Canadiens had a dismal 16.2% which ranked 19th in the NHL. Back in 2007-2008, the Canadiens had a first-ranked 24.3% powerplay, which Marc Bergevin hopes Muller will resurrect in 2016-17.
The first move for Muller should be advising Therrien to put the best players on the first unit. That means Gallagher, Galchenyuk, and Pacioretty on forward, and Subban and Beaulieu on defence. And make that a consistent unit.
Muller should be able to maximize the offensive abilities of Alex Galchenyuk, Max Pacioretty, and star defenceman PK Subban. Habs fans should be happy to get back their fan-favourite player and coach, as they look to be a better all-around team in 2016-17.
What do you think of the Montreal Canadiens grabbing Kirk Muller as their associate coach?