Firing Therrien was hard decision but a necessary one for Canadiens: Bergevin
Feb 16 2017 by Kelly Saunders
When Montreal hired non-French-speaking Randy Cunneyworth as its interim coach in 2011, the backlash was so strong that the Quebec government publicly criticized it, and Canadiens owner Geoff Molson assured fans in a letter that language would be a factor when the team hired its permanent head coach in the next offseason.
But opening the door and allowing one of your biggest rivals to come and take one of your biggest assets, based purely on a misplaced sense of confidence and a need to prove a point.many would say that's unforgivable. So, general manager Marc Bergevin felt the best way to hold onto what is left of the Canadiens' playoff cushion was to make a coaching change. I get that. But now a smart and dedicated head coach has the opportunity to lead a team with more talent and Stanley Cup potential all while shoving it in your face, just doesn't make sense to me.
And he just acquired the league's best available coach to take over for a team already (mostly) a lock for the playoffs. The first time I got to ask him a question, he complimented me on it. Julien is now the only active coach with the dubious honor of being fired from three teams with which he had a winning record with (The Bruins, Devils, and his first run in with Montreal). "We did a lot of good things".
In 159 games as head coach with the Habs during his first stint, Julien posted a 72-62-10-15 record (53.1 percent).
Therrien had to be blindsided by this decision considering Montreal is in first place in the Atlantic Division with 70 points.
Gerard Gallant: Gallant led the Florida Panthers to an Atlantic Division title last season and it turned out to be one of the best years in franchise history.
Julien, who admitted that he did not expect to get fired in-season with the Bruins, likes what he sees in the Habs, too.
Mike Keenan led the New York Rangers to a Stanley Cup in 1993-94 and resigned from his position shortly thereafter, but he wasn't the first coach to do so. He lasted three seasons in NY, with his second being the most successful.
The Bruins were 26-23-6 at the time of Julien's termination. The Bruins and Canadiens will not meet again in the regular season.
Therrien did not appear to be well regarded by the players and around Bell Centre, Fire Therrien signs had been spotted in the crowd. In all, Claude Julien has coached 997 National Hockey League games with Montreal. Montreal also hasn't played particularly well out of the All-Star break with two wins in eight games.
One could also be forgiven for thinking that they're men who do not like to be challenged by those working for them, even when that challenge is beneficial. Many feel the only reason that Therrien lasted as long as he did is because whoever they replaced him with had to be fluent in French. Montreal hasn't won consecutive games since January 3-7, and is just 1-for-19 this month on the power play.