The dust has visibly settled for Dominique Ducharme. Smiling and relaxed, the former head coach of the Montreal Canadiens commented on his dismissal for the first time at his golf classic in Joliette on Wednesday.
“I’ve come far. It was just a test, he explained to the journalists who came to meet him. I’ve met many of them throughout my career. I will keep growing.”
Watch his press conference in the video above.
“There were many highs. A year ago we were preparing to play match number 5 of the final. It was an extraordinary experience. Then, at the start of the season, the first half of the season was more difficult with the changes. management too.
Ducharme spoke from experience, imagining that if you buy half a liter of milk in the store you won’t get it.
“There were a few pitfalls in the first half of the season. To get experience, you can’t go to Walmart to buy it. You have to go through things like that.”
Could Ducharme have done things differently or reviewed certain criticized strategies? The Joliette driver admits that he sometimes questions himself.
“We always do that. We did the same thing after the Stanley Cup final. We did it after the season last year. Whether positive or more complicated, you always do that as a coach. Otherwise you won’t make any progress.”
He offered a job in St. Louis
Ducharme did not disclose if he had a conversation with Martin St-Louis, his replacement, who is a longtime friend dating back to their years at the University of Vermont. However, we have learned that he offered her a job prior to last season.
“We checked in a bit,” he said vaguely. I contacted Martin last summer to join the coaching staff. He’s a good hockey player and I wish him the best of luck.
“He was very busy and decided not to join our group. I understand too.”
In order to know what the future holds for Ducharme, he says he’s had “talks” with teams but will wait until he finds the job that best suits his goals.
“It is certain that the sting is still there to inform Ducharme. I’ve done this all my life. I want to return to the National League as head coach. Last year when we came here for the tournament, we were only three wins away from the Stanley Cup. My goal is the three missing wins.
Little communication with Gorton and Hughes
Defense attorney Jeff Petry is among veterans who have criticized “the structure” on Ducharme’s orders, but the latter assures he has never been cold with him.
“I had a good relationship with the players. With Jeff it was a difficult situation with the start of the season and his family situation. He didn’t take it easy on himself, he argued while defending his former player.
“I have always tried to communicate with everyone as well as possible. There was nothing personal between me and him. It was maybe one of 100 situations for a season.
No return to offspring in sight
Ducharme admits he would have liked better communication with the new regime, namely with Vice President Jeff Gorton and General Manager Kent Hughes.
“There really wasn’t any. I would have liked to have had that meeting with Kent. At least to tell him how I saw things and how I saw the future.
“We see that elsewhere too. When new people come in, they want to turn the tide in the old direction.”
While he’s waiting for the right job offer, don’t expect Ducharme to return to the junior ranks any time soon.
“I’m in a situation where I still have two years of contract,” he clarifies.
“I’m open to anything but I feel like I’ve done everything I needed to do on the youth side.”