The Montreal Canadiens have announced that head coach Michel Therrien has signed a four year contract extension. Therrien still has one year left on his current deal with the Habs, so he is slated to be behind the bench in Montreal until the end of the 2018-19 season.
Therrien was hired by the team in 2012, after the Habs fell to last place in the Eastern Conference in the 2011-12 season which resulted in the firing of both Jacques Martin and Randy Cunneyworth.
With Therrien behind the bench, the Habs immediately climbed back to the top of the standings, winning the Atlantic Division in the lockout shortened 2013 season, and then advancing to the Eastern Conference Final this year, after winning the Atlantic Division Final series against the Boston Bruins.
Therrien has not avoided criticism in his second tour of duty as Habs bench boss, but the bottom line is his team keeps on winning. In 130 games over two seasons, the Canadiens have posted a record of 75-42-8-5, and reached 100 points in the standings this season for the first time in 6 years.
Since the legendary Scotty Bowman left the Canadiens organization in 1979, the longest tenured head coach of the team was Pat Burns, who lasted four years at the helm of the Habs ship. It is clearly a job with a short shelf life, but Therrien now has an opportunity to last longer than anyone in the past 35 years.
Of course, coaches contracts can be torn up at a moments notice, as John Tortorella has recently learned. The Vancouver Canucks bench boss was let go, even though he was only one year into a five year contract.
Therrien will be on the Habs payroll for the next five years, but if the team fails to meet expectations he will find himself out of work very quickly. After leading the team to the Eastern Conference Finals, those expectations are significantly higher than they were just two years ago in Montreal.