There is a rumor circulating this morning that Larry Robinson would welcome a return to Montreal as an assistant coach. According to an article in the Toronto Sun, Robinson’s agent Don Cape says Larry would return to the Habs organization because he knows Marc Bergevin and the Molson family well and he believes the right people are in place in this organization. It is nice to hear such high praise from a former Hab great and should come as a relief to us fans to hear the organization is in the right hands.
Robinson has a long history with the Habs. He is arguably the best defenceman to ever play for the Habs. He leads all D in franchise games played, goals, assists and points, over his 17 year career with Montreal. He actually has more assists than any other D has points in Habs history. Same story in the playoffs, he leads in all categories, he also had a plus minus in his career as plus 700. He won six Cups as a player, taking home a Conn Smythe as playoff MVP in 1978 and has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
So, obviously he was a great player, but can he coach? Well, he has been coaching in the NHL almost every year since his retirement. He was head coach of the L.A. Kings for four seasons and was with the New Jersey Devils in different roles. He won a Stanley Cup as an assistant coach with the Devils in 1995, and again in 2003. He also won the Cup as a head coach of the Devils in 2000. In his two full seasons as head coach of the Devils he made the Stanley Cup Finals both years. He had tremendous success as an assistant coach working with and helping develop defenceman such as Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer and Brian Rafalski to name just a few.
The timing of this news coming out is odd to say the least. Robinson is currently assistant coach of the Devils who are on their way to the Conference Finals next week to play the winner of the Rangers and Capitals game Saturday night. Seems to me he should be focused on his current team and not where he will be next year. This isn’t a big deal however as it was his agent who did the talking and Robinson basically just said that he likes the people being put in place by Montreal. However, it will ultimately be up to the future head coach to decide who his assistants will be. Randy Ladoucer currently runs the D and has done a fine job, so whoever becomes the next head coach will have a tough decision to make.
I believe we are getting a little ahead of ourselves trying to name an assistant coach with no head coach in place. That being said, no one would be better to have work with all the young D in the organization than Larry. He understands all aspects of the game and would work wonders with young D such as Subban and Emelin. Also, bringing along all the young prospects especially Tinordi and Beaulieu and even working with veterans like Markov.
It will be a long and interesting summer in Montreal with lots of moves. It would prove to be one of the best moves if the Habs are able to bring Larry back home.