With the sudden firing of Guy Carbonneau yesterday afternoon, the Canadiens will presumably finish their Centennial Season with Bob Gainey behind the bench. This isn't the first time that this has happened, with Gainey taking over from Claude Julien and amassing a record of 23-15-3 in 41 games during the 2005/06 season and leading the team into the postseason. He evidently hopes to repeat things this year, citing eight weeks of underachievement as the driving force behind the move.
While it isn't uncommon for the coach to become the scapegoat for an underachieving team, I was a bit surprised to see Carbonneu take the fall during the year. I had him finishing the season with the team before being moved out over the summer, so this certainly comes as a surprise to most parties involved. Conversely, we've seen Lou Lamoriello fire coaches with 3 games left in a season where the Devils set a regular season record for wins (again the unfortunate Claude Julien was the victim), so this sort of sudden move isn't exactly uncommon. What remains to be seen is how the Canadiens as a team react to the change. We won't have to wait too long to find out, as they're home to face the Oilers tonight (7:30 EST start).