What if Cunneyworth was a great coach? Would you not give him a chance to learn French before complaining about his lack of language skill? And what about non French Habs fans? Are they looked down upon for not being French enough by other fans?
1. He is not a great coach. So there's no debate over Cunneyworth.
2. One of the greatest Habs coach we've had is Scotty Bowman. Probably the best coach in the history of hockey, too. He knew a bit of French before he came to Montreal, and then learned it quite well, and now he speaks it quite fluently. But he knew a bit of French, and he was good. Cunneyworth knows nothing of the French language, knows nothing about the club (he arrived at the start of the season, was promoted when Perry Pearn was fired, and then was catapulted as the head coach, I don't think he expected it to happen this fast), and he arrives at the middle of a shitty season. So yes, people give him a cold welcome, but I'd say the context is the problem, much more than the language barrier anyway.
As for the English Habs fans, they have their place as much as the French speaking fans. I'd say it's about 70% French - 30% English, and English Habs fans are as passionate as frenchies. But when you have about 70% of your fanbase that speaks another language than most players, it's nice to hear the coach speak in French after a game. It's always been this way, anyway.
You know, you Americans speak English, so of course there's no language barrier, and that's perfect this way for you guys. But without offense, there are other realities, other countries, other areas where English is not the main language. Quebec is the only place in North America where French is spoken by the majority of the population. As I said, it's a reality, and even in sports, it should be considered. No one forces players to learn French, but many do. We love the players that don't speak French at all, too (Saku Koivu was a fan favorite, after all), but as for the coach, we love 'em bilingual!