Michel Therrien appointed new Habs head coach
Published Tuesday, June 5, 2012 2:25PM EDT
MONTREAL - Michel Therrien will coach his 1,001st game in professional hockey standing behind the Montreal Canadiens' bench.
Appointed by General Manger Marc Bergevin on Tuesday morning, Therrien will return to the position he first held in November 2000 after replacing Alain Vigneault.
After months of intense speculation about who would replace interim head coach Randy Cunneyworth, who was removed from the position by Bergevin on May 2, Therrien's name floated to the top of the pile on Monday.
The 48-year-old Therrien worked two-and-a-half seasons at the helm of the Canadiens before being replaced by Claude Julien in 2003.
"I think if they were going to have a recycling project, I would have recycled somebody else," said Pat Hickey, a sports writer with The Gazette. "I would have looked at Guy Carbonneau or even Jacques Martin."
While the coach may have been fired in 2003, he lost the respect of his players—and a large part of Montreal's legion of hockey fans—during an incident in 2002 during a playoff game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Therrien picked a fight during the game with senior referee Kerry Fraser and took a two minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct when he put his foot on the bench and he started screaming and pointing at the referee.
A number of poor calls during that series also scuttled Therrien's chances of staying on with the Habs.
Therrien then worked in the AHL where he coached the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins before being named the Pittsburgh Penguins' head coach midway through the 2005-06 season. He worked four seasons in Pittsburgh, leading the team to the Stanley Cup Final in 2007-08.
The coach may have matured with time. In 2007, while he was coaching the Penguin's, he was nominated for the coach of the year award. The defence-minded coach has worked to control his temper and emotions.
"Therrien's a proven coach, he may have failed here in Montreal, but he moved on to Pittsburg," said Hickey. "I think he's a better coach now then when he left. That's going to be good news for the Canadiens."