Canadiens Replace Coach, GM

President Clinton is sworn in for his second term Jan. 20, 1997, in Washington by Chief Justice of the United States William Rehniquist, while his wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea watch. AP

The Montreal Canadiens, hockey's greatest franchise now mired in last place, replaced their coach and general manager Monday.

Coach Alain Vigneault was replaced by Michel Therrien, and general manager Rejean Houle was replaced by Andre Savard.

In other moves in the organizational shakeup, former captain Guy Carbonneau was appointed assistant coach while scout Martin Madden was made the assistant GM.

Therrien was coach of Montreal's AHL affiliate, the Quebec Citadelles. He takes over an injury-riddled team (5-13-2-0) that is in a 1-10-1-0 slump and facing the prospect of a third consecutive year out of the playoffs.

Once the haughty lords of hockey with 24 Stanley Cup championships, the Canadiens now have just 12 points from 20 games. Even the expansion Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild are higher in the standings.

The team was lambasted by the Montreal media on Sunday after a 6-1 loss to Toronto.

"Embarrassment Night in Canada", the Montreal Gazette said.

"Disgusting," read the headline in Le Journal de Montreal.

The team is up for sale and president Pierre Boivin has said he expects the club to be sold before the end of the year.

Carbonneau and Savard were hired in September Carbonneau as Montreal's head of prospect development and Savard, a former Ottawa Senators scouting director and assistant coach, as Houle's right-hand man.

Houle was in his sixth season as GM of the club after taking over from the fired Serge Sevard on Oct. 21, 1995.

Vigneault was nominated for the Jack Adams Trophy as coach of the year last season after taking a team beset by injuries from last place to within two points of a playoff spot.


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