Kirk Muller Joins Montreal Canadiens; Will Be Associate Coach
The Montreal Canadiens bring Kirk Muller back to the fold after a disappointing 38-38-6 season, finishing in 6th place in the Atlantic Division and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012. The loses of Carey Price and P.K. Subban for lengthy amounts of time caused the team to falter during the middle of the season after a scorching hot start of 9 straight wins.
Muller played four years with the Habs and was a key part in their victory in the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals against Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings. After retiring as a player, Muller started his coaching career with the Queen’s University Golden Gaels, before coming back to Montreal in 2006 as an assistant coach.
Muller left the Habs to coach the Nashville Predator’s AHL affiliate, Milwaukee Admirals. in 2011 and was named the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes in November of the same year. He was relieved of that position in 2014.
For the past two years, Muller served as an assistant coach under Ken Hitchcock for the St. Louis Blues, helping lead the team to the Western Conference Finals this year before being ousted by the San Jose Sharks. Muller left the team following associate coach Brad Shaw’s departure from the Gateway City after Hitchcock signed a one year deal with the team, which he later said would be his last as a coach in the NHL.
Muller has been lauded for his ability to spark strong performances from his teams on the power play, which was something the Canadiens struggled with since Muller’s departure from the team. During Muller’s initial tenure as an associate coach, the team had the 2nd best power play in the league with a 21.6% on the man advantage. Since Muller left, the team fell all the way to 26th in the league with a 16.7% on the power play.
No team can plan around the type of injuries that the Canadiens struggled with last year, but by adding Muller and his special teams expertise, the team looks to reclaim their spot at the top of the Atlantic Division and to be seen as a threat in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
It seems like a no-brainer that with a healthy Carey Price and P.K. Subban — along with younger players like Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk starting to click with veterans like Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty — the Habs are going to return to form sooner rather than later.
(Kirk Muller Joins Montreal Canadiens)