Montreal Canadiens coaches Martin St. Louis and Alex Burrows behind the bench in 2022
Photo credit: A Winning Habit

Canadiens Coach Evades Being Fired: Alex Burrows Has Turned Things Around Just in Time

Published February 21, 2024 at 9:27

For a good part of the season, there was quite a stir in the media around Alex Burrows, the special teams coach for the Canadiens, due to several significant issues.

The power play was disastrous, displaying one of the worst performances in the league for more than a season.

"The coach in charge of the power play is Alex Burrows. He was hired by the Canadiens on February 24, 2021. If we look at the Canadiens' record in terms of the power play since his hiring, it's not very shiny. Indeed, since his hiring, the Canadiens have had the second-worst power play in the NHL." - taken from an article about a year ago.

It even reached a near point of no return in a game against the Minnesota Wild at the Bell Centre, where the Canadiens' five-man attack conceded two goals to the opponent on the same penalty kill.

A sad scene followed, as fans loudly chanted "Fire Burrows" in the CH's home.

Major turnaround for the Canadiens

What a completely unexpected but extremely glorifying outcome for the former NHL player turned coach, as his team now boasts a performance not seen in years in Montreal.

The Canadiens have the 8th best power play in the entire NHL for nearly three months.

"Eighth best in the NHL since December 13, operating at nearly 25% and looking very dangerous every time it hits the ice.

A significant evolution for the future, and it will only get better with the players to come." - Eric Engels

Sportsnet journalist, Eric Engels, adds:

"The Canadiens finally have a power play unit to be feared.

It's been years since we could say that, but the sample size is now large enough to definitively say it. The CH has a dangerous power play."

However, it must be said upfront that the team's failures in this aspect of the game were not entirely attributable to Burrows, although he was responsible. The team did not yet have the right elements in place to be successful.

Nonetheless, it must be said that the emergence of Juraj Slafkovsky is the triggering factor for this recent success of the first special unit wave.

His addition on the right flank adds a dimension that did not exist before, and it changes everything for the Canadiens.

Credit: Habs et LNH
February 21   |   431 answers
Canadiens Coach Evades Being Fired: Alex Burrows Has Turned Things Around Just in Time

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