Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced on Thursday morning that Stéphane Waite has been hired as the team’s new goaltending coach.
“Stéphane Waite has over 30 years of experience as a goaltending coach, including the past 10 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks organization,” Bergevin said in a statement. “He contributed to two Stanley Cup championships with the Blackhawks during his tenure working closely with two different goaltenders, namely Antti Niemi and Corey Crawford. We are very pleased to welcome Stéphane in our organization. He has a vast experience, and a thorough knowledge of our local market and we are convinced that our goaltenders will benefit from his expertise and his work ethic.”
Waite just completed his 10th season as goaltending coach with the Blackhawks. Chicago goaltenders Crawford and Ray Emery earned the William B. Jennings Trophy this past season, awarded to the goaltenders with the best goals against average in the NHL. Prior to joining the Chicago organization, Waite served as Sherwood Hockey’s Pro goaltender representative (2001-04). He was also a goaltending consultant for IMG Hockey (2000-2004).
Waite replaces Pierre Groulx, whose contract wasn’t renewed after last season. Groulx spent four seasons as the Habs’ goalie coach after taking over from Rollie Melanson. This past season, Carey Price ranked 29th in goals-against average (2.59) and 35th in save percentage (. 905) while posting a 21-13-4 record with three shutouts. His performance was particularly shaky at the end of the season and in the playoffs he posted a 1-2 record with a 3.26 GAA and a .894 save percentage. For his career, Price has a 9-17 playoff record with a 2.90 GAA and .905 save percentage.
On Sunday, Michael McCarron became the 551st pick in Canadiens history, selected in the first round (25th overall) of the NHL draft in New Jersey.
Now he’s learning what living in the hockey fish bowl can be like in Montreal.
“I know this is a city of hockey,” McCarron told a mob of reporters in Brossard Wednesday on the first day of the team’s development camp. “I was told to expect this. I’m kinda an easy going guy. I like to reach out to fans and you (media) guys. I don’t think it will ever get old.”
McCarron had 800 Twitter followers before the draft, but as of Thursday morning that number had climbed to more than 8,500. You can follow McCarron on Twitter by clicking here.
McCarron said that being drafted by the Canadiens was “a dream come true.”
“The Canadiens talked to me the most (before the draft) so when they walked up there, I was like, ‘This could be me, this could be me . . . ‘” McCarron said. “The sweat started to fill up my palms and I was like, ‘It’s going to be me.’
“And then they called my name and it was just relief. I gave my mom a nice, long hug, and then my brother and sister and my dad.”
On his way to Montreal for the development camp, McCarron was noticed by some hockey fans at the Toronto airport.
“A dozen guys came up to me and said ‘hey, are you Mike McCarron?’” McCarron said. “That was the first time I’ve ever been recognized outside the rink so it was pretty special.”
It won’t be the last time.
The Habs development camp continues through Sunday with players practising in three groups each morning with scrimmages at the end of the day in Brossard. The camp will wrap up with a scrimmage at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.
All practices are open to the public.
Meanwhile, TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reported Thursday that free-agent Daniel Briere has narrowed his list of teams down to three, including the Canadiens, New Jersey Devils and Nashville Predators.
(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)