Although they did not make the playoffs this post-season the Montreal Canadiens have been anything but quiet. There have been a few moves made lately and certainly plenty more to come. The Canadiens many changes have improved the club in a positive manner.
All of these positive changes started with the firings of Jacques “Stick to the system, no matter what” Martin, the tyrant Pierre Gauthier and last but certainly not least Bob Gainey. Then came the hiring of Marc Bergevin as the Canadiens new GM, he seemed like a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. This hiring was highly praised as the right move. Bergevin is well liked and respected all over the league and in Montreal. Shortly thereafter Bergevin hired Rick Dudley as an assistant GM; as well as extending the contract of Larry Carriere in the front office where he belongs, rather than behind the bench. Next up came the hiring of Scott Mellanby as director of player personnel. So began the Canadiens new regime, hopefully a significantly more successful one.
Everything seemed to be working for the Canadiens and Bergevin. However the honeymoon period with Marc Bergevin is officially over. The Montreal Canadiens are set to hire Michel Therrien again; Darren Dredger broke the news at 12 am last night. Although this decision is not yet confirmed it is already being heavily criticized by Canadiens fans and media alike. Therrien previously coached the Montreal Canadiens from 2000-2003, he was not well liked then and that sentiment is still strong.
The Canadiens other coaching candidates included Guy Carbonneau, Patrick Roy, Bob Hartley and Marc Crawford. Hartley was believed to be the front runner until he took a coaching job with the Calgary Flames. It was then believed the pool had been narrowed down to Crawford and Therrien, the ladder winning out. So the question to be asked: Is Therrien the best available coach for the job? No. Were any of the candidates the best available coaches for the job? No, but Montreal has an external issue that takes precedence over winning. That issues being that their head coach must first and foremost speak French. That narrows down their candidates by more than half. So the question has to asked again, With the language issue and Hartley out of the running is Therrien the best available coach? Still no. However between Marc Crawford and Michel Therrien they might as well of flipped a coin, in fact that might be how they decided.
During his time with the Canadiens Therrien 190 games he coached with a record of 77-77-37; having only brought the Canadiens to the second round of the playoffs. Therrien went on to coach the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005 working his way up from their farm team. During his time with the Penguins Therrien coached them to the Stanley Cup final in 2008, only to drop it to the Detroit Red Wings. The next season he was fired and the Penguins won the cup. Since then Therrien has done scouting for the Minnesota Wild and made regular appearances on the popular RDS show L’Antichambre.
So far Bergevin had made great moves for the club, this one just might be his first mistake. Maybe Therrien has improved immensely as a coach since his time with Montreal and Pittsburgh, maybe all his time studying the Canadiens on L’Antichambre will be an asset to him. There are just too many maybes and not enough certainty with this hiring. Many fans were hoping to see the club move forward instead they moved back to 2000. Will Canadiens fans be pleased with the decision once the dust settles if announced? Probably not. However that will not stop them from supporting their team and hating them simultaneously. Such is life for a Canadiens fan.