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Canadiens keep Ducharme as head coach with three-year contract

Canadiens keep Ducharme as head coach with three-year contract

MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 02: Head coach Dominique Ducharme of the Montreal Canadiens speaks to Phillip Danault #24 on the bench during the second period against the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre on March 2, 2021 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

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There wasn’t a ton of drama to whether the Canadiens would remove the “interim” tag for Dominique Ducharme. After the Canadiens’ run to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, the team decided to stick with Ducharme as head coach, announcing a three-year contract on Tuesday.

Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin -- who has his own contract intrigue bubbling -- noted the difficult circumstances Ducharme experienced, including taking over for Claude Julien in late February.

“Dominique has managed to set his system in place and establish himself as a head coach in a very unusual season with challenging circumstances,” Bergevin said in a team statement. “While our team has gone through its fair share of adversity, he has shown a lot of control over the situation as well as showing calm and great leadership. These are important qualities that we look for in a head coach and he fully deserves the chance to lead our team and take it to the next level.”

No surprise the Canadiens stick with Ducharme as head coach

On one hand, it’s fair to wonder if Ducharme is really the right choice as Canadiens head coach. (Here is a very deep dive on that.)

From a PR standpoint, though? It would have been strange to dismiss Ducharme after the Canadiens’ run to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. That’s true even though Luke Richardson presided over some of the Habs’ most impressive moments, as they genuinely fought toe-to-toe with the Golden Knights. As you may remember, Ducharme had to isolate from Game 3 of that Golden Knights series through Game 3 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final after testing positive for COVID.

(Indeed, Ducharme coached the Canadiens through some trying circumstances.)

How much of the Canadiens’ success actually stemmed from Ducharme? Will he really push the right buttons with Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi?

Those are all fair questions, and there are others. But, really, can you truly blame the Canadiens for sticking with Ducharme as head coach? For all we know, maybe this is the start of something special.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.