Randy Cunneyworth has entered into his final week as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens.
Interim head coach, that is.
Cunneyworth and the Canadiens play host to Tampa Wednesday night. Then they’re off to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes Thursday night, before they return home to close out the season Saturday night against the Leafs.
Saturday night hockey against the Maple Leafs. Remember when games like that meant something!?!?
But I digress.
I suspect Cunneyworth will get a chance to address the media on garbage bag day, when the players will report to Brossard to clean out their lockers before scattering to the four corners of the globe.
In past seasons, management would also meet with the media at the conclusion of the season for a formal post-mortem. But it seems to me that team owner Geoff Molson essentially held the post-mortem last Thursday; the day he anounced the dismissal of Pierre Gauthier as general manager of this team.
Which brings us back to Randy Cunneyworth.
You can speculate all you want as to who the next head coach of this team will be. The only person who knows who the next coach of the Canadiens will be, is the next general manager of this hockey team. There is absolutely no reason to believe that Cunneyworth will be given an opportunity to hang on to his job. Not with the team bringing on a new GM. And certainly not with the way the Canadiens threw him under the bus when he was named to replace Jacques Martin.
You could also make a case that Cunneyworth doesn’t deserve to be considered for the position, based on how the team performed under his watch. But then again, how would you expect the players to react to a lame-duck coach?
Regardless, Randy Cunneyworth deserved better. He took one for the team when he agreed to take over behind the bench. And he was further left twisting in the wind with five games left, when the Canadiens fired the guy who gave him the head-coaching gig: Pierre Gauthier.
As Randy Cunneyworth soldiers on over the remaining three games, he does so with his CV tucked in his back pocket.
His answer when I asked him if he plans to re-apply for the job he’s held since mid-December: