During Thursday’s introductory press conference, just hours before the first home game at Bell Center, St. Louis said being the head coach of the NHL was a dream come true.
Accustomed to being beaten during his career in the Hall of Fame, St. The 5-foot-8 Louis doesn’t mind that his first chance comes mid-season with a team that is certain to end up at or near the bottom of the NHL.
“I knew I could, it was just a matter of time,” said the 46-year-old from St. Louis, who lives in the Montreal suburb of Laval, said. “I have no doubt that it’s a great opportunity and that’s the moment. Terms or contracts don’t bother me, it’s about opportunity. That’s all I’m looking for. .
“I don’t need promises, just give me a chance and I’ll show you what I can do.”
There is much work to be done.
The Canadianiens, who surprisingly reached the Stanley Cup Finals last season before losing to Tampa Bay, had the worst 8-30-7 record and 23 points in the league heading into Thursday night’s game against Washington. They are yet to win in a row this season.
The coaching history of St. Louis is sparse. His only NHL experience outside of competition is a special team consultant position with Columbus blue jacket in the year 2018-19.
“I’m not a substitute teacher,” St. Louis said. “I’m here to show my work and we’ll see what happens this summer, but my intention is to stay here long-term. But I’m going to need to show and prove it. .”
Canada’s new superintendent, Kent Hughes, knows St. Louis since St. Louis was at the University of Vermont in the 1990s. For Hughes, St. Louis “represents the culture” he and executive vice president of hockey operations Jeff Gorton want to establish in Montreal.
“I worked for a law firm representing a number of hockey players and I went to my attorney/representative and said we wanted to hire this boy as a freshman at UVM,” Hughes said. speak. “He said he was never going to play in the NHL and I said to him: ‘I know this kid is going to play in the NHL.”
“A lot of people have bet against him. I, for one of them, have chosen to bet on him. And I’m pretty sure he’ll make the doubters watch again.”
St. Louis takes over for Dominique Ducharme, who was fired on Wednesday.
At his introductory press conference in early December, Gorton said Ducharme’s job remained safe through the end of the 2021-22 season. But the Canadianiens have lost seven straight games going into the game against the Capitals, including a 7-1 loss to New Jersey on Tuesday night.
“In my conversation with Ken talking about what we have to do, we don’t have five games left to play, we have 37 games left to play,” Gorton said. “There’s a lot of teaching that has to happen. There’s a lot of growth that has to continue. And we felt as a team, it was time to change and move on that way.”