Much has been made about the playoff struggles of the Montreal Canadiens. More specifically, much has been made about the failure of Carey Price to provide consistent play between the pipes. The front office made it clear that despite his woes, they stood behind him.
Unfortunately for his coach, he did not apparently have the support of the front office. Goaltending coach Pierre Groulx was shown the door on Monday. The lone member of the Habs’ coaching staff to make it through to 2013 after the front office shakeup did not have his contract renewed.
Groulx was both the goaltending coach and an assistant coach for the club in his four years with the Canadiens. Part of the reason he was kept around was due to a request by Carey Price, but after his struggles in the second half of the regular season, and in the playoffs, Groulx was axed.
It’s not as if he’ll have trouble finding a job elsewhere. He has a history of morphing average goaltenders into very good goaltenders. It was Groulx that worked with the likes of Craig Anderson and Jaroslav Halak, both of which are established, no. 1 goaltenders with their current clubs.
The bigger question is what this means for Carey Price. This will be his third goaltending coach in six seasons. That’s not going to be easy for anyone to handle. But if anything, it does cement his status with the team. Firing the goaltending coach means that he’s safe from a buyout or a trade or whatever other scenario had been drawn up.
It will be interesting, however, to see if a new goaltending coach makes a difference for Price, who has seen his game go downhill in the past few seasons.