Montreal Canadiens: Don’t Expect Larry Robinson To Step Behind Habs Bench

SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Associate coach Larry Robinson (Photo by Rocky Widner/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Associate coach Larry Robinson (Photo by Rocky Widner/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens were thorn a bit of a curveball in their offseason plans today when Luke Richardson was hired by the Chicago Blackhawks. The now former Habs assistant coach will take over as the head coach of the Hawks.

Richardson’s primary role during his time with the Canadiens was to run the defence. He also stepped in and took over as head coach in the middle of the 2021 postseason when Dominique Ducharme tested positive for Covid.

With Richardson moving on, there is a big opening at the end of Martin St. Louis’ bench. Richardson had been in his role for four seasons and has either been an AHL head coach or an NHL assistant coach since 2008.

That level of experience will be missed on a coaching staff that also has St. Louis at the top and Alex Burrows and Trevor Letowski serving as assistants. Burrows finished the 2020-21 season on the Habs bench but last season was his first full year as an NHL coach. It was also Letowski’s only experience on an NHL bench so far.

Richardson’s departure leaves the Canadiens very short on experience in the coaching staff. They could definitely use a seasoned veteran to work with the defence, as well as the younger coaches, next season.

While it almost seems like the perfect fit, don’t expect Larry Robinson to take on that role. The legendary Canadiens defenceman has an exceptional resume both on the ice and behind NHL benches, but there are a few reasons to believe he won’t be joining St. Louis; staff any time soon.

First of all, Robinson spent 19 seasons on an NHL bench, but he hasn’t done so since the 2014-15 season with the San Jose Sharks. Since then, he has served as a Director of Player Development with the Sharks and was a special consultant for the St. Louis Blues for three seasons.

Robinson was inactive last season and just turned 71 earlier this month. The NHL season is a grind for anyone, including coaching staffs, and you don’t see many coaches in their 70’s.

Robinson also stepped down as the head coach of the New Jersey Devils many years ago citing stress as the main reason. A head coaching role is much different than as assistant’s job, but is coaching the Canadiens a low stress position? I don’t think so.

Robinson was quite possibly the greatest defenceman in Canadiens history. The Hall of Famer scored 958 points in his 20 year career and had a great coaching career as well. His name is on the Stanley Cup ten times.

But he hasn’t been on a bench for the past seven seasons and is 71 years old. Unfortunately, the ship has sailed on Robinson’s coaching career and he won’t be the veteran coach that is sure to be added to replace Luke Richardson.

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