On February 24, the Montreal Canadiens announced that head coach Claude Julien and assistant coach Kirk Muller had been relieved of their duties.
Julien, who’d been with the organization since February 2017 after taking over from Michel Therrien, suddenly finds himself looking for work. The team announced that assistant Dominique Ducharme has been appointed interim head coach and Alex Burrows will join him as an assistant.
In looking to project what the Habs will do long term behind the bench, online sportsbook Bovada has released odds on which man will be the next full-time head coach of the Canadiens.
Guy Boucher headlines the list at +200 odds, with Ducharme (+250), Patrick Roy (+350) and Benoit Groulx (+750) next up on the oddsboard.
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Here’s a look at the shop’s odds on who will take over permanently for Julien:
Who Will Be the Next Full-Time Head Coach of the Montreal Canadiens?
Odds as of February 24 at Bovada
Canadiens Must Recover After Hot Start
The firing comes on the heels of the Canadiens dropping their second straight contest to the lowly Ottawa Senators, their sixth defeat in the last eight games.
Montreal looked like a force in the newly formed North Division at the beginning of the campaign with a 7-1-2 start. General manager Marc Bergevin looked like a genius after dolling out $69.5 million to Joel Edmundson, Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli in the offseason.
It’s been all downhill since then, as Montreal now sits fourth in the North at 9-5-4. Carey Price’s struggles haven’t helped matters, as the all-world goaltender is off to the second-worst start of his career.
Ducharme Looks Like the Man for the Job
Ducharme has appeared to be the head coach-in-waiting for quite some time with Les Habitants. Ducharme was hired by the Canadiens nearly three years ago after a fantastic 10-year run as a head coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he hoisted the Memorial Cup in 2012-13 as coach of the Halifax Mooseheads.
The 47-year-old garnered plenty of attention in 2017 and 2018 when he guided Team Canada to silver and gold medals at the world junior championships. Ducharme was selected as Julien’s successor by Bergevin over Joel Bouchard, the head coach of the Habs’ AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket.
One of the major qualifications to be head coach of the Canadiens is incredibly unique. Considering French is the most-spoken and the official language in Quebec, the head coach of the Canadiens must have a strong grasp of the language.
Depending how Ducharme’s stint goes, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see him eventually have the interim tag removed if he can get the Canadiens back on track. At +250 odds, it’s certainly worth a shot.