Michel Therrien’s second stint as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens looks like it’ll go a lot longer than his first one.
On Saturday, Therrien signed a four-year contract extension to remain behind Montreal’s bench, a just reward for helping the Canadiens reach the Eastern Conference Final this season.
Even though Therrien’s return in 2012 wasn’t exactly heralded as great news, he has helped restructure a team that, just two seasons ago, was among the worst in hockey during the Randy Cunneyworth experiment.
When the news first came out in 2012, I’d say more people thought about the coach fired midway through the 2002-03 season after 190 games behind the bench instead of remembering the Michel Therrien who helped mould the Pittsburgh Penguins into a Stanley Cup contender shortly after the 2004-05 NHL lockout, culminating in a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2007-08.
Of course, having Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin certainly didn’t hurt, but Therrien has still created results this time around in Montreal with a much different style of team, one I can imagine he prefers as I recall him calling out his Penguins for their defensive incompetence.
With all due respect to Max Pacioretty up front, he’s no Crosby or Malkin, but I’d take P.K. Subban over Kris Letang, and Carey Price over just about any goaltender in the world right now. In essence, they’re a solid defensive team.
This time, Michel Therrien has proven himself to be a much better coach than than the 37-year-old, first-time NHL head coach in one of the NHL’s proudest and harshest markets.
Of course, should the Canadiens falter in the next couple of years, Bergevin is risking his own future job safety by effectively tying himself to his coach. However, that’s sometimes the cost of doing business, and business is pretty good right now in Montreal.