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Habs fire Claude Julien and Kirk Muller, name Ducharme as interim coach

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Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced on Wednesday that head coach Claude Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller were relieved of their coaching duties with the Canadiens earlier today.

The organization also announced having promoted Dominique Ducharme as interim head coach in addition to the appointment of Alex Burrows to the Canadiens’ coaching staff. Luke Richardson and Stéphane Waite retain their respective duties within the coaching group.

“I would like to sincerely thank Claude and Kirk for their contributions to our team over the past five years during which we worked together. I have great respect for these two men whom I hold in high regard,” said Bergevin in a press statement.

After acquiring free agents Joel Edmundson, Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli in the offseason and an impressive 7-1-2 start the Canadiens have slipped to a 9-5-4 record, most recently after back to back overtime losses to the last place Ottawa Senators beofre defeating the first place Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on Saturday.

Julien joined the Habs as Head coach for the second time in February 2017, after a long sting with the Boston Bruins that included winning the Stanley Cup in 2011 and the Jack Adams trophy for coach of the year for the 2008-9 season.

Since 2017 behind the bench with the Habs, Claude Julien has led the team to the playoffs twice, losing in the first round on both occasions.

Julien’s overall coaching record to date is 667-445-10 record.

Ducharme, 47, is being promoted to the interim head coaching position after two seasons as an assistant coach with the Club.

“In Dominique Ducharme, we see a very promising coach who will bring new life and new energy to our group. We feel that our team can achieve high standards and the time had come for a change,” said Bergevin.

A native of Joliette, Ducharme joined the Canadiens coaching staff in April 2018 after 10 seasons in the QMJHL. He hoisted the Memorial Cup with the Halifax Mooseheads in 2012-13. That same year, Ducharme earned the CHL’s Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award, while also being recognized in the QMJHL with the Ron Lapointe Trophy as the top coach in the league. Ducharme served as head coach for Canada during the IIHF World Junior Championship in 2017 (silver medal) and 2018 (gold medal).

with notes from MTLtimes staff

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