Is Michel Therrien Coming Back to the Montreal Canadiens?

A report early Tuesday suggested the Montreal Canadiens were guaranteed to bring coach Michel Therrien back but GM Marc Bergevin didn’t exactly endorse the report or Therrien for that matter.

Just when it seemed the Montreal Canadiens’ season couldn’t get any more interesting, a report, from TVA Sports reporter Renaud Lavoie, surfaced and seemed to indicate that Marc Bergevin had assured coach Michel Therrien’s position behind the bench for next season

No one in the organization is expected to see another man behind the bench next season, according to information obtained by Renaud Lavoie.” The report, seen Here, came from the TVA Sports website and was originally written in French and has been translated via Google Translator.

This has led to a large outcry from frustrated Habs fans, who have blamed the coach for most of the Montreal Canadiens struggles this season. Among the list of “misdeeds” attributed to Therrien include:

  • Not consistently playing Alex Galchenyuk at center or with skilled line mates until the season was officially lost.
  • Playing David Desharnais premium minutes despite his relative ineffectiveness according to advanced metrics.
  • Overplaying his 3rd and 4th line grinders.
  • Playing less-skilled players in the Top 6.
  • Overplaying Andrei Markov despite Markov’s struggles when playing more than 22 minutes a night.

The validity of these claims can easily be disputed from either side but the facts remain that under Therrien’s watch this season, the Canadiens went from being surefire Cup Contenders to fringe lottery pick team. Not all of that is on Therrien, though, as he did lose arguably the best goalie in the NHL as well as seeing half his defense get injured.

Montreal Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin, who is at the GM Meetings in Boca Raton, Florida, did not exactly give Therrien an endorsement of any kind in regard’s to his future behind the bench.

I’m not discussing that. I’m not going to talk about my coach today,said Bergevin. “But don’t believe any reports you read, by the way.”

Ouch.

Therrien was not a popular choice among fans when Bergevin brought him back in 2012 and over the past 4 seasons, Bergevin has done nothing but support his coach. Until now that is.

Before this season, Montreal played very well and were among the best Eastern Conference teams since Therrien took over. That success bled over into the 2015-16 season but their fortunes quickly turned once star goalie Carey Price went down to a knee injury.

My Take

I was initially disappointed when Renaud Lavoie’s report surfaced this morning. However, I understood the reasoning behind it. It isn’t exactly Therrien’s fault Price hasn’t been healthy and it also isn’t his fault that other injuries happened. Any coach would be hard-pressed to find success when their best player is sidelined for all but 12 games.

On the flip side though, Therrien’s insistence on using his “favorites” too much and playing them out of their element. The first name that comes to mind is David Desharnais. I’m not as big a critic of Desharnais as others because I do see his value. But at the same time, Desharnais should not be anchoring a teams top line.

I find Bergevin’s comment’s very interesting. Not backing Therrien right now is going to lead to a bit of a media frenzy as Therrien’s future is now in complete doubt. At the same time though, the non-committal to Therrien allows Bergevin to assess the situation and come to a true conclusion as to whether or not Therrien is the right person for the job.

Regardless of who the coach may be next year, Bergevin has a lot of work to do as he must look into retooling the Montreal Canadiens roster and faces a lot of tough challenges throughout the team.

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