Making the case for Carbo

Gazette Sports Editor Stu Cowan thinks the Canadiens should re-hire the man who coached the team to a 104-point season not so very long ago.
“I definitely want to go back behind a (NHL) bench, and I think Montreal is a great place for that,” Guy Carbonneau told Cowan.

Cowan’s column

Red Fisher on P.K.

Pat Hickey on disgruntled Habs fans

Josh Freed’s take on the coaching carousel

Dave Stubbs on the concussion epidemic

And if you can bear to watch it, the Benoit Pouliot highlight-reel goal:


  1. Vid says:

    Hmmm, I dunno, it’s an intriguing idea. Let Cunneyworth finish the season and then decide. My issue with Carbo was that when things weren’t going well it seemed like his only tactic was to randomly mix up the lines. Wasn’t he the first to start putting an extra Dman as a forward? The first playoff loss to the Flyers had a large part to do with Price letting in some really bad goals especially against Umberger. Remember we were actually dominating them initially but then kept hitting posts and then some flukey shot from the blueline from Umberger would beat Price. That playoff loss where the Bruins swept the Habs 4-0 was bad but the team had just lost Markov and the Bruins were the #1 team at the time so it wasn’t really unexpected. I’m sure there were some other player personalities and egos clashing unrelated to coaching.

    Was Carbo unfairly dismissed? Maybe, I certainly believe in giving multiple chances, you can’t be turfing everybody after their first mistake. I think in that instance Gainey was right to clear house of many players on the team but perhaps he should’ve given Carbo a chance with a new core set of players and see what he could do.

    Vigneault was definitely unfairly fired. That guy always had an injured roster, made the playoffs his first year, missed it the next and only missed it by 2-3 pts the 3rd year. Is it really the coach’s fault when on a near talentless team decimated with injuries that some guy named Sergei Zholtok (RIP) is your top scorer?

  2. steve17 says:

    I wrote on another site that I believe that both Gauthier and Gainey should be let go and Serge Savard be brought in as GM/President at least for the rest of this season. He has a great relationship with the Molson’s, is welll respected, was the last successful GM in Montreal, understands what the Habs mean and what it means to be a Hab. Savard is also a solid business man outside of hockey. Even if he did not want to remain as GM long term, he would be able to get them back on their feet. Even if he has been out of hockey for a while.

    As for Carbonneau, I think he was let go too soon and he should be given another opportunity. Fir tose who say stop recycling, look at Vigneault and Julien. The Habs thought enough of them to give them a chance, but did not let them gain the experience. Management knew they were rookie head coaches when they hired them, they should have known that they would need to grow into the position. It was management that screwed up then. If they weren’t ready to let them learn, then they should have hired an experienced coach!! Both of those coaches are successful now.

    I agree, Pierre McGuire talks the talk and for the most part makes good sense when he talks about players and teams and their strengths etc. I am not sure that would transalte into being a great GM. He had little if any experience as GM and being able to do the things he says he would do is easy as an arm chair GM, like it is for us fans, but to put it into action against other GM’s is another matter!

    The Habs have some speed and skill and with 5 players at the world juniors, some solid prospects on the way. I think it is time to build this team for prolonged success and that means tough player decisions need to be made. You have to give something up to get something. As much as speed kills, it does not when opposing players are running over Habs players all the time.


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  4. --Habs-- says:

    OMG! We want this current ship builder to replace another coach or make another trade? Haven’t we seen enough over the last 3 years? The only half decent thing the Habs did in the last 3 years was sign Cole and it took players to convince him to come here. Once here his calling buddies leave him hanging. Only player in the lineup playing night in and out is Cole.

  5. Habitant14 says:

    I’ve been checking this site religiously for a while now, but this article forced me to join and leave a comment…YES PLEASE BRING BACK CARBO!!!

    This guy can right the ship and he never should have been fired in the first place. I’d still like to give Cunneyworth a shot, despite objections, and if that doesn’t workout then bring back the man who can show the Canadiens what a mistake they made to get rid of him.


  6. aj says:

    Forgive me for being ignorant here, its my first time being in this forum site.

    I didn’t really read much about Mr. Cowan’s article on his case for Carbonneau to return as Head Coach.

    I do however agree with HabFab and Brian Wilde regarding about Pierre McGuirre. McGuirre is the right fit to replace Gauthier as GM OR Cunneyworth (if ‘Quebec’ and I didn’t say the CH wishes him to do so!) as Head Coach.

    Its interesting that there is a recent article published by the Journal de Montréal:

    with that in reference, I do agree with Scotty Bowman’s choice for McGuirre as Head Coach of the Habs (if possible).

    I’m not against Roy or Carbo being on the bench with the Habs. But wouldn’t it be better for Molson to start looking for other people/alternatives who can also lift this team to another cup run?

    My own personal take as well, if Not McGuirre as GM, I would actually pick both Serge Savard AND/OR Scotty Bowman as GM or Co-GM’s.

    Man, this team need some life inside Habs management and Geoff Molson should start looking as early as NOW, not 2012 to get this team on track!

    Everybody here is sick and tired of usless trades since the Roy trade in ’95 and due to incompetences of some ppl who held the GM office for the past 15+ years, the Habs are still eluded by having Lord Stanley’s Cup.

    I say, if they need to act, the time is NOW!!!

  7. AceMagnum says:

    Oh my freakin’ God this is nuts! We’re already the laughing stock of the NHL, if this insane proposition comes to fruition ….. I don’t even wanna think about the repercussions….


    “Horton Hears a Boo”
    -Mike Boone April 2011

  8. durocher says:

    I like Carbo (especially his crazy winning ties), but I would prefer us to have a head coach with a winning tradition as a coach. In that respect, I would put my support behind Larry Robinson, perhaps with Carbo as an assistant and Jacques Laperriere as an assistant again.

    In addition, we need a savvy, rational GM. PG and his adviser, BG, need to go because they are largely responsible for the mess that we are in now, from the overpaid contracts (Gomez, Kaberle) to the distractions (RC language issue). Yes, the media and fans may be the ones who bring up this issue, but PG had to have been aware that RC’s hiring would have raised the issue and become a media storm and public relations nightmare. Either he didn’t know (which is bad) or did know and didn’t sufficiently prepare for it (which is also bad).

  9. ds says:

    As long as it isn’t Mario Tremblay I don’t care about who comes in as the next coach.

    Also how sweet would it be if MTL unloaded some players to get Radulov’s rights and bring him over. The guy is in his early 20s and is the best player outside the NHL. Enjoyed his 2 years with the Remparts, won the memorial cup (2006). leading scorer.. hell bring in Patrick Roy as coach to get him. We know that Colorado tried to get Roy to coach them he refused because of his kids, he is open to the job now and has stated it. Before Joe Sacco gets canned MTL should start negotiating with Roy or else we’ll end up with some other scrub.

    Oh yeah Jacques Martin as GM is a colossal failure, look what he did to Florida.

  10. harrow15 says:

    As GM on NHL12, made a trade with Ottawa that they actually accepted (all injuries aside):

    Jason Spezza, Nick Foligno


    Andre Markov, Scott Gomez, 2nd Round pick.

    Which gives 3 strong forward lines and a decent 4th line:

    Camalleri, Plekanec, AK46
    Foligno, Spezza, Gionta,
    Pax, DD, Cole
    Moen, Eller, Darche

    Subban, Georges,
    Gill, Campoli
    Emelin, Kaberle.

    Would you propose such a trade?

  11. Bill says:

    Loved Carbo and would love to see him back! SMART hockey guy who did very well with a worse roster than this one.

    Say what you want, but under Carbo, guys produced like they should for the most part.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  12. Guy-Guy-Guy says:

    Would also be nice if RC benched some of the veterans to keep them honest. Cammyshould be the first one

  13. Guy-Guy-Guy says:

    It’s crazy how depressed the fanbase has become in the span of 5 games. 2 weeks ago many were praising PG for acquiring Kaberle and good PP production that ensued for his first few games with us.

    The main issue as I see it is lack of effort and commitment from the players. You can’t win when only Cole, Desharnais, Price and Gorges are committed.

    For fun, I see a number of quick fixes to restore this teams’s mojo

    – Price stands on his head and makes a 45 stop shutout
    – Louis Leblanc or Lars Eller gets a hat trick.
    – Gorges gets a Gordie Howe hat trick… and gets appointed captain by RC. With his play so far he deserves it.
    – Someone drops the gloves after a dirty hit… anyone. Fuck I’d take Plekanec or Cammy at this point, just to show they care. So farthis season we’ve had a number of dirty hits and people running Price without any consequence.

  14. East Coast Hab says:

    Molson needs to get rid of all of these recycled duds like gainey, carbo, roy etc. need fresh blood. The Halifax mooseheads have a decent coach….they need to look at people who are interested in doing a good job instead of being overpaid cligons.

  15. New says:

    Oh man that Pouliot goal! He tried that move so many times and just fell down. And against Theodore, along the ice, in his feet! I’m getting flashbacks to all those terrible games Theo played here where every puck along the ice went in.

    Does anyone remember why Carbo was fired? Oh sure he would blame a single player in the press when it went wrong but wasn’t it something to do with controlling the kids and the gang about to be purged? I forget. Maybe GM remembers.

  16. habsfan0 says:

    Carbo?? Get your bowling shoes ready.

  17. twilighthours says:

    Stu is just another guy throwing cunneyworth under the bus, I see.



    • D Mex says:

      Randy Cunneyworth is behind the Habs bench today because he was handy, available, and affordable. There are stronger candidates out there – I suspect Cunneyworth himself may recognize this. Viewing him as a viable long-term solution in Montreal is a stretch – that’s the (unfortunate for him) reality.

      The Habs should be moving now to assemble a strong leadership group (ie : GM, Head Coach, Scouting Director) for the 2012 draft and beyond.

      ALWAYS Habs –
      D Mex

  18. Frank2468 says:

    I know it’s nice to go green but come on? I like Carbo but lets move on, only in Montreal due they practice the three R’s in coaching. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It’s like being in an abusive relationship, I’m sorry honey it won’t happen again, take him back and in three months the honeymoon is over and all those old problems are back.

  19. Beaco says:

    Stu Cowan…I never take anything he says seriously. How he managed to become the editor of a sports section is beyond me. His opinions are so silly sometimes it’s like talking to a 12 year old. A silly 12 year old.

    • SPATS says:

      Alan, I’ve known Stu since 1967 when we both played mosquito hockey together. He’s a stand up guy. What do you do for a living that we could debate here? I’m a carpenter in Victoria BC. I fix houses, I don’t overinflate their value (the bankers do that for us all) I’m not going to get personal. But, consider this… Carbo is still on the payroll as is Martin. I’d be ok with PG and BG being cut loose and Martin and Carbo replacing both of them. Mr Cunneyworth will land solidly on his feet, all he has to lose has already been lost. Everything else will be a gain from here on in. I doubt Martin would want to come back at this point (but he’s being paid, so find work for him) They can’t keep hemoragging cash the way they have been without going a round or 2 in the playoffs.
      The real problem here is Molson, he’s Jerry Jones lite. He should remove himself, BG and PG and let someone like Savard or Dryden take over. Leave Roy, Damphousse and Tremblay out of the equation.


  20. habsfansince91 says:

    no thanks on Carbo. Don’t know if you guys remember but he changes the lines at least 50 times a game.

    By the end of the season we’re guaranteed to see
    Budaj-Gill-Price at least once

    • D Mex says:

      He’s had time to mature since then.
      Nobody played musical chairs with the lines more than Bowman and he did OK – not saying Carbonneau is the man but he is certainly worthy of consideration IMO.

      ALWAYS Habs –
      D Mex

  21. Chris says:

    Regarding Carbonneau:

    I thought he was due to be fired just before he was.

    But I also think he is due back in the NHL and am a firm believer that bright people like Carbonneau can learn from their past mistakes and become even better at what they do.

    What do Vigneault and Julien have in common? Both came into Montreal, did a decent job and then were fired.

    In Vigneault’s case, he went back to junior, polished himself up a bit as a coach and is now one of the more well-regarded coaches in the game.

    Julien bounced from Montreal to New Jersey to Boston and now has a Stanley Cup to his name.

    I think Carbonneau is a very smart man who was a good coach when things went well but floundered a bit when things went poorly, having never been in that experience before. Now he has.

    I don’t know that he’ll get a second chance with Montreal. But I do suspect that he will be back in the NHL sooner than later and I have confidence that he has the potential to become a great NHL coach.

    • Josh says:

      There’s a reason why Vigneault and Julien were able to find employment not long after being fired and that Carbonneau still can’t find a team(pro or junior) that will take him.

      • Chris says:

        In Vigneault’s case, it took him 5 years to get back to the NHL after Montreal fired him, time that he spent in the QMJHL.

        As for Carbonneau, there is a bit of a conflict of interest with him coaching in junior hockey seeing as how he own the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. Would you hire the owner of one of the other teams in the league to coach your team? How would it look if you hired yourself to coach? 🙂

    • JF says:

      Chris – Agree about Carbonneau. I had forgotten how good his record was before things went south in a hurry. He was certainly at a loss as the team collapsed around him, but, to be fair to him, we’ve heard only bits of what was going on off the ice that season. Also, after spending about two months working with the players from behind the bench, Gainey dismissed most of them, thus tacitly acknowledging that the team itself, rather than Carbonneau, was the problem. I’m actually intrigued by the idea of giving him another chance; certainly I’d prefer him to Roy, Hartley or Crawford. I’m talking about next season, of course; Cunneyworth is coach now, and should be given the rest of the season to show what he can do. Also, I suspect Gainey and Gauthier would have to be gone before Carbo came back.

      • habsgod says:

        what was going on off-ice when carbonneau was coach? what kind of stuff did you hear?

        • JF says:

          One thing I read in the French press was that some of the players (Higgins, among others) would turn up for practice “dans un état épouvantable.” And there were pictures all over the net of Price at what looked like fairly wild parties. It seemed as though there was a lot going on that was incompatible with playing good hockey.

          • vegas says:

            The Price pictures were either from a vaction in Mexico or back home in Vancouver. Isn’t the guy allowed to party when he is off. There is only one series of pictures from Montreal and it was at a Halloween party at Club Opera.

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