The dust slowly settled for Dominique Ducharme. Smiling and relaxed, the former head instructor of the Montreal Canadiens made his first statement about his dismissal at his golf classic in Joliette on Wednesday and also made a few words about his successor.
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He didn’t reveal if he had a conversation with Martin St-Louis, a longtime friend from their University of Vermont years. However, we have learned that he offered her a job prior to last season.
“We’ve been in touch a bit,” he vaguely informed the journalists who came out to meet him. I contacted Martin last summer to join the coaching staff. He’s a good hockey guy and I wish him the best of luck.”
“He was very busy and decided not to join our group. I understand too.”
As for his own subject, Ducharme is far from concerned and philosophical.
“I’ve come far. It’s just a test, he said. I’ve met many of them throughout my career. I will keep growing.”
“There were many highs. A year ago we were preparing to play match number 5 of the final. It was an extraordinary experience. Then, early in the season, the first half was more difficult with the substitutions. Management too.”
Ducharme spoke from experience, imagining that if you bought half a liter of milk in the store, you wouldn’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.”
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,” he said. 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.
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 specified. I’m open to anything but I feel like I did everything I needed to do on the junior side.
Little communication with Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes
Dominique Ducharme admits he would have liked better communication with the Montreal Canadiens’ new regime, namely 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 see things and how I see the future, he admitted on Wednesday. We see it elsewhere too. When new people come in, they want to turn the tide in the old direction.”
Through defense attorney Jeff Petry, one of the veterans who criticized “the structure” under his command, Ducharme claims he was never 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.