When it was revealed Patrick Roy was out of the running for the Montreal Canadiens' head coaching vacancy — and oh, what fun that could have been — the team's candidate pool appeared to be down to two well-traveled NHL veterans: Former Habs and Penguins coach Michel Therrien and Marc Crawford, most recently with the Dallas Stars (and soon to be on the Moore/Bertuzzi witness stand).
Montreal announced on Tuesday morning that Therrien had been hired as its new head coach.
Therrien was fired 57 games into the 2008-09 season by the Pittsburgh Penguins, watching as Dan Bylsma led the Pens to the Cup one year after Therrien coached them to the Cup Final, losing to Detroit. Therrien coached the Habs from 2000-2003, making the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2002.
In GM Marc Bergevin, the Canadiens have a jovial sort who's great on the public relations front and well-liked by the media. Now, he's apparently hired a coach who … is the opposite of Marc Bergevin.
He's the Hard-Ass-in-Chief; a disciplinarian who is known for this level of candor:
Maybe Bergevin thought his Habs were too "soff."
From Dan Kramer's thumbnail on Therrien's coaching candidacy:
I fully understand that people can learn from their mistakes, and coaches can evolve over time. However, Therrien hasn't been in coaching since that 2008-09 season, instead currently serving as a scout for the Minnesota Wild, so we have no way to know what kind of attitudes or demeanour he would bring to the job. Still, he's a candidate in part largely due to a good off-ice relationship with Bergevin, who has shown a strong propensity for hiring those he knows well or are within his inner circle thus far.
It is important that Bergevin hires someone who is on the same page as him, and a guy he feels he can work with on a daily basis, as a team's GM and Head Coach need to be able to agree on how the players brought in should be used. From the front office to the coaching staff, a team will only play to its highest potential if all have a unified vision.
Therrien isn't going to be the most popular choice among Habs fans. But those same fans have put their faith in Bergevin's plan thus far — bringing in Rick Dudley and Scott Mellanby to the front office, for example. Will that faith eventually extend to the coach when the shock subsides?