from the CP at the Globe and Mail,
The Montreal Canadiens’ whacky season got a little weirder Monday.
The team’s general manager took the unusual step of issuing a qualified apology, barely two weeks into the reign of new coach Randy Cunneyworth.
The Dec. 17 hiring of Cunneyworth, on an interim basis for the rest of the season, touched off a language controversy. He is the team’s first coach in decades unable to speak French.
“I’m sorry if we upset people. Because that certainly wasn’t our intention,” Pierre Gauthier told reporters Monday.
It was a far cry from the defiant response Gauthier offered last month, when a reporter asked about Cunneyworth’s inability to communicate with francophone fans in their language. At the time, his testy reply was that languages could always be learned.
On Monday, he stressed that Cunneyworth’s hiring was not necessarily permanent and he said his status would be re-examined after the season.