The St. Louis Blues were prepared to replace Jim Montgomery as assistant coach on Friday, naming former Blues center Craig MacTavish to the post shortly after Montgomery was announced officially as the new head coach of the Boston Bruins.
Montgomery had spent the past two seasons on coach Craig Berube's staff, focusing one year on the power play, the next on the penalty kill, both areas improving under his mentorship. The Blues hired Montgomery following his dismissal as head coach by the Dallas Stars.
Montgomery "was a great member of our staff and I appreciate his time and efforts with our players," Berube said. "This is well-deserved, and I wish him well with the Bruins.”
MacTavish, most recently the head coach of Lausanne HC in Switzerland, spent the last two seasons of his 17-year NHL playing career with the Blues.
MacTavish, now 63, was 38 when he hung up his skates after tallying eight points in 63 games with the Blues from March 1996 through the 1996-97 season. He had previously played for the Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, totaling 480 points (213 goals, 267 assists) in 1,093 NHL regular-season games. He was on four Stanley Cup-winning teams (three in Edmonton, one in New York).
MacTavish immediately moved on to coaching, starting as an assistant with the Rangers and later becoming a head coach in Edmonton. The Oilers made three playoff appearances and advance to the 2006 Stanley Cup Final in his eight seasons in charge. He also spent one season as head coach of the former Blues AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves and then returned to Edmonton, where he served as senior vice president of hockey operations and general manager.
"When he walks into a room, the room gets brighter," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said Friday. "The knowledge is four Stanley Cups, coaching, managing, being in every aspect of the game. It’s going to be someone everyone’s going to enjoy working with."
MacTavish joins a staff that includes assistants Mike Van Ryn and Steve Ott, video coach Sean Farrell and goaltending coach David Alexander.