Dominique Ducharme’s nightmare becomes reality

Dominique Ducharme must be feeling very bitter these days. The man who was once head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, and who led his team to the Stanley Cup final in 2021, is now stuck in the role of assistant in Vegas.

Meanwhile, Sheldon Keefe, freshly fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs, quickly found a new head coaching position with the New Jersey Devils.

It’s hard not to feel some frustration for Ducharme, especially when you see how quickly Keefe bounced back after leaving Toronto.

Less than two weeks after his firing, news of Keefe’s hiring by the Devils was confirmed.

This situation highlights the harsh reality of life as an NHL coach, where opportunities can be both rare and fleeting. And above all, never come back again.

Ducharme, despite his past success, appears to be somewhat “barred” for life for a head coaching position, an unfair fate for someone who has proven he can lead a team deep into the playoffs.

After all, he qualified for the Stanley Cup final, dominating Sheldon Keefe, while the CH had come back from 1-3 to 4-3 against the Leafs in the first round.

The Devils have been without a head coach since the firing of Lindy Ruff last March. Travis Green took over on an interim basis before joining the Ottawa Senators as head coach.

So the timing seemed perfect for Keefe, who, after a mixed performance in Toronto, still had a good record of 212-97-40 and had led the Leafs to four playoff appearances, with a rare series victory in 2023 , passing the 1st round only to be knocked out by Florida immediately afterwards.

For Ducharme, seeing Keefe bounce back so quickly must be a painful reminder of the injustices in this league. Despite Keefe’s relative success in Toronto, his ability to immediately land a new position sends cold sweats down Ducharme’s back.

In the meantime, Ducharme will have to manage to keep his assistant position in Vegas, perhaps hoping for another chance that will never come.

To think that he put Sheldon Keefe in his little pocket in 2021. “Dom Dom” must want to break everything.

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