People who wanted major changes to the Montreal Canadiens entering next season will have to change their focus.
Marc Bergevin told media on Tuesday that he would be bringing back head coach Claude Julien and that he feels Julien is the right person to lead this franchise.
Of course there remains the possibility that this is the dreaded vote of confidence and that Bergevin is misdirecting everyone, but I don’t buy that at all. It’s simply wishful thinking from the group of people wanting change.
After saying he believes in his core players, he is now saying he believes in his coaching staff.
That doesn’t mean we won’t see changes this summer. It’s pretty evident that Bergevin is not content with his entire team. What this does though, is put the pressure squarely on himself.
While he blamed inconsistency and injuries as part of the reason the team struggled as much as they have, going into next season there’s nowhere for Bergevin to turn. Even if the team struggles next season, leading to the coach getting fired, or the team’s depth being exposed the blame lies with Bergevin.
You know the saying: fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you. That’s the position Bergevin has put himself in. Even if the issue is the roster, or the coach, those are two things within Bergevin’s control — and two things he decided not to change. Either one would have made for an easy scapegoat, and maybe given him more leash entering next season. He chose not to go that route.
The Canadiens GM will be busy this summer. Maybe there won’t be earth shattering moves, but there will be moves. Bergevin is not publicly going with a full rebuild, putting expectations on next year’s team to compete for a spot in the playoffs while building a deep prospect pool.
This season showed how fine the line is between coming as close as possible to the playoffs and not being close at all. Ultimately the goal will be to no longer be on the playoff bubble. That will take some changes, and perhaps some more patience.
He may have not used the exact words, but make no mistake: For Marc Bergevin, the state of next year’s Canadiens is on him.