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After weeks of suspense and speculation, the Montreal Canadiens have finally announced the hiring of Michel Therrien as their new head coach. This will be his second stint as coach with the Canadiens after breaking out in the league as 25th head coach of the Habs on November 20, 2000. Therrien was let go after running the team’s bench for 190 regular season games showing a .500 record.
After leaving the Habs organization, Therrien was hired by the Pittsburgh Penguins to coach their AHL farm team. He experienced great success with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before being nominated as the head coach of the NHL club. In only his second season behind the bench, Therrien was one of the finalist for the Jack Adams as the best coach of the year losing the trophy to another ex-Habs coach Alain Vigneault , who was ironically replaced by Therrien behind Montreal’s bench. That season he led the Penguins to 105 points showing a remarkable improvement on the 47 points from their previous season. This was the 4th biggest improvement showed by a team in the history of the NHL. The following season the team reached the Stanley cup final only to lose to the ageless Detroit Red Wings in six games.
Therrien had great success with the Penguins and was rewarded with a three-year contract extension in the summer of 2008. But a good start to 2008-2009 season slowly turned in to bad streak of losses and Therien was let go by the management after the team struggled to stay in the playoff race. Therrien finished four games behind Eddie Johnston for the longest tenure as Penguins’ head coach and ended with a respectable 135-105-32 record for a total of 302 points in the standings in 272 regular season games for a .555 winning percentage.
One can only hope that after 12 years away from the city where he grew up idolizing his favorite Habs and experiencing success away from his home town, he will be able to bring more passion, emotion & success behind the bench of nos glorieux, something that has been missing since the days of Pat Burns.
Team Year Regular Season Post Season
G W L T OTL Pts Finish Result
MTL 2000-01 62 23 27 6 6 70 5th in Northeast Missed Playoffs
MTL 2001-02 82 36 31 12 3 87 4th in Northeast Lost in second round
MTL 2002-03 46 18 19 4 5 77 4th in Northeast (Fired)
PIT 2005-06 51 14 29 - 8 58 5th in Atlantic Missed Playoffs
PIT 2006-07 82 47 24 - 11 105 2nd in Atlantic Lost in first round
PIT 2007-08 82 47 27 - 8 105 1st in Atlantic Lost in finals
PIT 2008-09 57 27 25 - 5 59 (Fired)
TOTAL 462 212 182 22 46 .604