Keep Calm and Carey On
Marc Bergevin has found his man and – well – we’ve seen him before. So what do our contributors think of Michel Therrien as the
old new head coach of the Montreal Canadiens.
Kyle – Is it really Bergevin’s guy, or is he merely the “least of all evils” among a small list of per-determined coaches?
Colour me unimpressed. A guy who had Crosby and Malkin playing the trap in the Cup finals? Thanks, but no thanks. Sure, I suppose he could have changed, but when selecting a coach, I’d like to hang my hat on something other than “well, maybe he’s changed”.
At least my theory of the Habs pollinating the league with rookie francophone coaches so that they could later call on them again is coming true.
(sidebar – some of this may reappear verbatim in my blog post later today. I reserve the right to quote – or plagiarize myself!)
Damon - I must say I am in agreement with Kyle. A totally uninspired choice. He wasn’t good enough then but he is the ideal candidate now? I find that hard to believe. This is the same guy that failed to win a Cup with two league MVPs and an (at the time) elite goalie. Not to mention his firing was followed by a Cup in Pittsburgh.
This hire is the equivalent to inbreeding in the animal kingdom when the species population is so small you end up mating within your own gene pool. By limiting themselves to French-Canadian coaches as a selection criteria you are going to limit who you can hire.
Luckily I am of the belief that outside of football coaching on the professional levels importance is greatly exaggerated. How often do “great coaches” do well without talent? How many coaches of the year end up getting fired shortly after they win? Therrien’s success will solely be determined by the lineup the GM puts on the ice. But if he can’t win with Malkin, Crosby, Fleury et al what will he do with the Habs?
Did this post come off as too pessimistic?
Stephanie – Totally agree with what everyone has said.
An uninspired choice that came to be due to self-imposed restrictions. And as the others mentioned, this is the guy who couldn’t use a wide open system with SIDNEY CROSBY and EVGENI MALKIN in the lineup! And ya, I’ll buy the argument that he taught the Penguins to be defensively responsible. But how about he do that in the AHL for our prospects and not in the NHL with our team?
Anyhow, with all new changes, before I totally freak out, I’ll wait and see what he does with the team he’s given.
Cindy – I’m going with this is “the lesser of all evils.” At first I thought we went back in time to 2002 but realized we just rehired Therrien. It was slim pickings in the coach pool. It was either rehire someone or go with an unknown coach with no NHL experience. Then again, I wouldn’t want to put the unknown coach in the position of dealing with a franchise who finished last in the East and in rebuilding role as a first coaching job (see Randy Cunneyworth’s first coaching job, we’re not doing that again).
Yes, Therrien took the Penguins to the Final with Crosby and Malkin, but his stint there was short lived. I’m thinking that this is a temporary position until a Dan Byslma like coach will come up in the next couple years. There weren’t that many choices out there in the first place. This decision is merely filling a void, so it’ll be less panic mode in the organization and more production on the ice to at least attempt to make the playoffs (or get close).
I do like the changes in the organization so far, but realistically, the coaching situation (regardless of language) was going to be a tough one. We’ve had too many first time coaches. Martin took them to the Conference Final and didn’t last long as well. Maybe it was time to take someone who was familiar with the organization and see what can be done to clean up the mess we call the 2011-12 season.
Sean – The best thing I can say about Michel Therrien is that he’s not Patrick Roy.
The worst thing I can say about Michel Therrien is that he’s a thoroughly mediocre NHL journeyman with a penchant for sideline buffoonery and getting the very least out of his players.
In any case, the man who once ruined the Habs shot at a spot in the Conference Finals with a moronic bench penalty is back for a second round. I don’t believe that Therrien’s failed first stint with the Canadiens should have necessarily precluded him from consideration – as a vocal advocate for Team Carbonneau, I clearly believe that you can, in fact, go home again.
I am also willing to concede that Therrien has likely matured from the stick-throwing, ref-baiting indiscretions of his youth. One could even argue that Therrien’s ‘fiery’ approach could provide the Canadiens with a much-needed kick in the hind-quarters following the catatonic Martin era.
That being said, Therrien’s act is going to grow very tired, very quickly. Once the initial shot in the arm provided by his histrionics inevitably wears off, Montreal will be left with a coach of limited Xs-and-Os acumen and even more limited people skills. As someone who was hopeful about the Bergevin signing, it’s unfortunate that the first major move by the new administration was so uninspired. But whatever one has to say about Michel Therrien, there is no doubt that he fulfills what has apparently become the single most important criteria for the Montreal Canadiens – the ability to be completely average in both official languages.
Dennis - I say give the guy a chance. It’s amazing how so many people know the unknown. The past is the past. Let’s see what he does now.
Pat – The benefit of the doubt has been extended to Marc Bergevin and the same should apply to Michel Therrien. Our new GM has made success as a team the guiding philosophy going forward. We’ve got to see the team before we can pass judgment.
No matter what, this touching moment between Therrien and Bergevin that aired when the new GM was hired holds more significance now. Maybe it was Therrien’s ability to appreciate what was truly important in life that tipped the scale in his favour. I think we all wanted someone who could communicate with candour and passion and Therrien is certainly capable of both.
Watching both Therrien and Carbonneau on L’antichambre regularly gave fans a unique perspective on how both coaches have grown since their time behind the Canadiens’ bench and both communicated philosophies that resembled each other in many ways. I’m glad to see that one of these two great men get a second chance.
P.S. I didn’t read anyone else’s opinions before writing my own. Unlike the majority of cases, I’m not disagreeing with everyone just to be a contrarian dick!
(Editor’s note: What a contrarian dick)