The Canadiens announced on Sunday that associate coach Kirk Muller has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the club.
Muller is one of four coaches who will be behind the Canadiens’ bench this season, along with head coach Claude Julien and new assistants Dominique Ducharme and Luke Richardson.
Muller played for the Canadiens from 1991-95 and was part of Montreal’s last Stanley Cup team in 1993. He was also captain of the Canadiens during the 1994-95 season.
After retiring as a player, Muller was an assistant coach with the Canadiens from 2006-11 before becoming head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes and then an assistant with the St. Louis Blues. He rejoined the Canadiens as associate coach under Michel Therrien before the start of the 2016-17 season.
“I think my strength is the communication part of it and working with the guys and being an ex-player and all that stuff,” Muller said after returning to Montreal as an associate coach. “But I feel I didn’t really change that much when I was a head coach in Carolina. Everyone has their different kind of personalities. At the end of the day, the players just want you to be honest with them and direct them, let them know where they stand. However you deliver that message, at the end of the day it’s still the same stuff.”
Muller was asked after being named associate coach in 2016 who were his favourite coaches as a player.
“Hitch (Ken Hitchcock) really prepares you well,” Muller said. “There’s nothing that his team goes into a game unprepared for. Burnsy (Pat Burns) gave you the real belief that every game you played he made you believe that you’re going to win if you play your game. Burnsy didn’t care about the opposing team, it was like: ‘You guys do what you do well and you’ll win the hockey game.’ He gave you that real strength to feel like you’re going to win. And Jacques Demers was awesome. Jacques was a real player’s coach, a real great communicator. Jacques was the best at listening to his players.”