Could Quenneville be a candidate for Canadiens coaching vacancy?

756630.png

Could Quenneville be a candidate for Canadiens coaching vacancy?

When Marc Bergevin took the general-manager reins in Montreal last week, he faced quite a task. The Canadiens are looking to return to their former glory, and the moves the Blackhawks former assistant GM makes will be an attempt to get them there sooner rather than later.

His first task was finding his assistant, and it looks like Rick Dudley will be that guy. But his next move is the one everyone is waiting for: who will Bergevin select as his head coach? Bergevin knows plenty of good current and former coaches in this league, and hell probably do his due diligence to bring in several for consideration.

So who will it be? Heres a look, in no particular order, at some of the possibilities.

Patrick Roy: As a goaltender he handled pressure in his own quirky way, talking to his goal posts. But his playing career speaks for itself, as hes got four Cups to his credit. Roy would be a dazzling hire for the Canadiens, and youd think the guy who started his career in that sweater would be chomping at the bit to get the position. Question is: would Roy become a bigger story than his team? And Bergevin may want someone with more NHL coaching experience.

Jacques Lemaire: Jack Todd wrote in the Montreal Gazette today that the Canadiens should contact the venerable (and currently retired) coach ASAP. Lemaire has won Stanley Cups at every level, be it as a player (eight with the Canadiens), an assistant GM (two, again with the Canadiens) and as a head coach (one with the New Jersey Devils). If anyone understands what it takes to get a team back on track and how to handle being in that fishbowl of a hockey market, its Lemaire.

Marc Crawford: Another former coach who fits the mold of what the Canadiens need: an English- and French-speaking leader and a Cup winner who has found success in most of his previous stops. But Crawford, whos been a TV analyst this past season, has struggled in his recent stints. His two seasons with the Dallas Stars ended with no playoff berths, as did his previous time at the Los Angeles Kings helm.

Alain Vigneault: Well, this morning the Vancouver coach may have been a potential candidate. But general manager Mike Gilles signed a contract extension tonight, which means Vigneaults stay in Canuck-land likely continues. Which brings us to
Joel Quenneville: When Hockey Night in Canada had its Hotstove segment on Sunday night, Elliotte Friedman and Glenn Healy said the Blackhawks coach would be the perfect hire for the Canadiens. Quenneville and Bergevin have a great relationship, and one that goes back many years. There have been some bumps between Quenneville and the powers that be this season. Barry Smith was brought in to help work on the power play, then was gone during the playoffs. General manager Stan Bowman, when talking about that power play at the end of the season, said it was more of a coaching thing than anything. But Bowman also said that, overall this season, Joel did a great job. Its a testament to his track record as a coach to weather the storm in tough times. We see things very similarly. Team president John McDonough said in March that, even if the Blackhawks had a short playoff run, he didnt foresee changes. We have great confidence in Joel.

Quenneville also has two seasons remaining with his current contract. And while he understands French, he doesnt speak it.

Bergevin has a big decision to make in the near future. What it will be is still unknown. But he has one heck of a talent pool from which to choose.

No Bears move yet on CB Deiondre' Hall except maybe to safety

No Bears move yet on CB Deiondre' Hall except maybe to safety

PHOENIX – If the Bears intend to cut ties with Deiondre' Hall after the first-year cornerback become involved in an ugly police incident last weekend, they have not indicated their decision yet. They have, however, begun looking at a possible position change for Hall as they gather information on events of last Saturday night.

Hall was tasered by police in Cedar Falls, Ia., after he and a former Northern Iowa University teammate were allegedly involved in a fight at a bar. Hall was arrested and cited for disorderly conduct, public intoxication and interference. Hall allegedly spit in the officers' faces, according to an affidavit, police saying that an officer used a Taser on Hall's legs in order to get him into a squad car.

GM Ryan Pace confirmed that the team is still gathering information and said, "it's just [that] the circumstances are a little disappointing, to be honest with you. We're aware of it, it's just kind of gathering more facts as we go forward."

Pace has spoken to Hall and said that the team wanted to investigate thoroughly, "but the circumstances surrounding it are obviously disappointing."

In the meantime, the 2016 fourth-round draft choice is slated to be tried at safety when the team convenes for the start of offseason work. Hall played the position in college, and has traits that the Bears value at the safety position.

"One of Deiondre's best traits is his ball skills, his ball clock, the ability to time the pass breakup," Pace said. "He's very natural at playing safety and that's one of the reasons we drafted him, because he has the versatility to do both. That's something we're going to talk about this offseason and he could start taking some reps there in the offseason program."

Cornerback Kyle Fuller, who missed all of last season following arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-August, will stay at cornerback.

Is Addison Russell still on track for Opening Night?

Is Addison Russell still on track for Opening Night?

MESA, Ariz. – Addison Russell believes he will be ready for Opening Night. Right now, Cubs manager Joe Maddon says his All-Star shortstop starting the season on the disabled list is an option that "I'm not considering."

But Russell hasn't played in a Cactus League game since March 22 and the Cubs have only three exhibitions left before facing the St. Louis Cardinals on national TV. The new 10-day disabled list would also allow the Cubs to backdate Russell's injury (stiff back) to March 30 and create a degree of roster flexibility. 

"We're trying to start the season out on a good note and definitely in St. Louis," Russell said Tuesday. "That's kind of the goal, but if the back doesn't feel well until then, maybe that's something that we'll have to do. With the way that I'm feeling, I don't think that's necessary."

The Cubs did get Ben Zobrist (stiff neck) back into the lineup that afternoon against the San Francisco Giants at Sloan Park. Russell estimated he's around "95 percent" and hoped to play Wednesday before the Cubs leave Arizona and fly out for two exhibition games against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.      

"We're not trying to take it too quick," Russell said. "Missing a few games here in the spring is a lot better than a few games in the season. I've talked to Joe and there's no hurry back."

Five days out from what should be an electric atmosphere at Busch Stadium, Maddon said athletic trainer PJ Mainville didn't sound concerned about Russell's back issue.

"PJ felt very strongly that he's going to be fine over the next couple days," Maddon said. "From Addison's perspective, knowing baseball players who've been doing so well, you take a couple days off, you're concerned that you're going to lose it. 

"I'm certain he's going to be fine. Actually, I'm OK with him getting some rest right now. The biggest thing is: Medically, is he going to be fine? Everybody thinks that he is, so I'm not concerned."