Michel Therrien’s Valentine’s Day Massacre – Claude Julien is Back as Habs Coach by Jamie Gilcig FEB 15, 2017

Cornwall Ontario –  Getting fired as a coach in professional sports is part of the job.  This season five coaches have fallen; many with over five years of tenure.

Michel Therrien’s days were numbered after rumbles of a quote condemning first year captain Max Pacioretty over the Summer.

The moment in this video below spelled the end of the coach.  He simply was walking dead until the current by week.



If GM Marc Bergevin had allowed Therrien to continue after this break the full blame of this season would be on his shoulders.   Of course any experienced hockey owner or analyst would already be at that conclusion.

Trading PK Subban was clearly a management fail; especially as the return was not equal to the value and that’s no snub of Shea Weber who’s done his best since the trade and has some strong numbers so far this first season.

But in the cap age asset management is not something you can just fix with money.  Even buyouts impact your cap. This season for example the team is without a million dollar forward or fill in as we pay for PA Parenteau’s buyout. Oddly enough the team could use his scoring presence right now.

The team sent clear messages to its GM and ownership during this season.  They started strong showing they clearly could play strong hockey.    The bailed on Therrien’s birthday.  They limped out against one of the worst teams in hockey, and then they were shut out by their arch rivals, the big bad Bruins.

The meeting between Pacioretty, Weber, and Price with their GM that was leaked to the media was another nail in Therrien’s coffin, but to be fired and replaced by Claude Julien for a second time in his career must have even PK Subban smiling this morning.

The irony is that Julien was fired in Boston ultimately because of the hand dealt to him by his GM; similar to Therrien’s position.    In this writer’s opinion I don’t think that the cabal of Price, Weber, and Pacioretty wanted Bergy to bring in top talent and win a cup with Therrien because then they’d never be rid of him, and this was essentially a group of players simply not wanting, for whatever reason, to buy into their coach.  Sydney Crosby had the same effect on his team a few times too.    In fact he did it once to….Michel Therrien.     It’s not like players tank, but great players need to hit a certain emotional place to get the results that put them in the class they are.

Go back and watch that video.   The day Therrien lost his goalie, was the day he lost his team.   And he probably lost Price long before that video clip was shot.

Switching gears this writer is getting tired of the cop out about our team’s situation at Centre.

Yes the Habs are not strong up the middle.  Yes it’s a challenge to fix, but the team is still first in its conference with the Centre’s they have.

Every team in the division that’s currently in a playoff spot (including wildcard) is stronger than the Habs.  That’s the reality, but then every team isn’t as strong in net or on D.    It takes a team to win; not just one player.

Every team that has fired their coach this season has seen a bump up.  Some many not last, but clearly the star players were fired up after their coaches were dumped.

Expect a big bump in Montreal which will push the team back up and over the mountain.  Expect at least one trade before the bye week is up, and probably at least one more before the trade deadline.

Expect Alex Galchenyuk to return to his centre spot and have a strong finish to the season barring injury.

The pressure now is more on Weber, Price, and Pacioretty than Bergevin.    Bergy can tell his guys “look, I fired my best bud for you guys, so now you have to deliver.”   And they do as Pacioretty and Price are up for new contracts after next season.

And if they don’t deliver this year.  If they don’t “LEAD” the team to a strong playoff performance then a smart GM would have to ask if the time to trade them is before their next contracts.

Because in the cap age it always comes down to asset management.

Fearless predictions:

Montreal will make it through at least two rounds of the playoffs.

Tomas Plekanec will have a very strong finish to the season.

Carey Price will rebound.

David Desharnais will not finish the season with the team.

Bergy will surprise most of the pundits in whom he acquires.

Shea Weber’s minutes the rest of the way will be reduced so that he can be strong for the playoffs which he has never excelled at in Nashville.

What do you think Hab fans?  You can post your comments below.

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