Montreal Canadiens: What’s going on with J.J. Daigneault and Karl Alzner?

Former Montreal Canadiens assistant coach J.J. Daigneault had an interesting quote about Karl Alzner, and fans can’t put together what it means.

The last name to trend in Montreal was Sebastian Aho for obvious reasons. The Montreal Canadiens lobbied for an offer sheet on July 1st, and it sent the social media scope of hockey into flames. Since then, there have been signings and the possibility of future trades building buzz in the fan base, but the latest topic involves J.J. Daigneault and Karl Alzner.

Daigneault was an assistant head coach for the Habs taking care of the defence up until the summer of 2018. The Montreal Canadiens instead decided to go in a different direction hiring Luke Richardson, who was a players coach that valued defenceman who can skate. His impact on the blue line was noticed early as the likes of Victor Mete, and Jeff Petry would be a lot more active off the point and jump in the rush as much as they could.

Alzner didn’t fit that system, and it kept him off the team’s opening night roster. But it wasn’t only for that night, Alzner spent most of the season up in the press box or down in the AHL with the Laval Rocket only getting nine games with the Habs.

The veteran did play at least one season with the Canadiens, and that was Daigneault’s last season as an assistant coach and the year where the Habs finished fourth last in the NHL.

Daigneault now has a job as the head coach of the Halifax Mooseheads which is a special opportunity, but what’s making fans talk about him is what he said about Alzner. Or more specifically, what he didn’t say.

This comes from Joey Aliferi of TSN 690 who shared an exchange between himself and Daigneault involving Alzner.

There are many ways to gauge the intent of that quote. Initially, it comes off very short and tempered as if the relationship between Alzner and Daigneault wasn’t the warmest. With Shea Weber out, Alzner was relied on for key minutes against the opposition’s top players.

However, Alzner’s positioning and decision-making cost the Montreal Canadiens chances and goals against. That’s not to say he was the sole reason for their disaster year, there were also a lot of injuries that plagued the team. But Alzner didn’t do himself any favours, especially with a $4.625 million cap hit on the books.

At the same time, there is a more tame way of looking at the quote. Perhaps Daigneault literally didn’t want to talk about Alzner. People in the hockey world tend not to share what they’re truly feeling to avoid bringing attention to themselves. There are exceptions of course, but there’s a reason we get the same hockey cliches after every practice and game.

Personally, I’m leaning more on the personal end of the spectrum. Aliferi also pointed out that Daigneault wasn’t prepared for the question making it a likely honest reaction. Additionally, referring Alzner as “one player I’d rather not talk about” is pretty telling.

This likely stays in house, but it’s interesting to see something like this about a player who seems to have such a good reputation. There’s also the chance Daigneault partly blames Alzner for his firing, but that seems to be