Rabid Habs

The Forum: Could This Be The End of Michel Therrien?

Habs head coach Michel Therrien

Welp, the Habs are free falling and Carey Price says the team seems to have lost its identity. Considering the Habs are entering a bye week, is it possible this might be the end for Michel Therrien in Montreal?


Kyle Roussel (@kyleroussel) – I doubt it.

It seems like the players are all likely off to warmer climates for a few days. Would it be logical to report back to practice on Friday and be looking at a new head coach? I guess it’s not SO unrealistic if that new coach is a familiar face, like Kirk Muller. But the common refrain is that Julien is the go-to choice. I keep asking people why the Bruins would willingly allow their bitter rival to massively upgrade by snagging their castoff, but nobody offers a good answer other than “the Bruins will then save money.”

Okay, that’s not crazy, but do we really think the Bruins are in that much of a rush to offload Julien’s salary? I doubt it. There are going to be plenty of options for the Bruins before long. So I strongly doubt Bergevin gets permission to talk to him. In fact, I strongly doubt that Bergevin *wants* to talk to Julien. I think Bergevin has totally intertwined he and Therrien’s fates. He was in this same position last season (albeit with a dearth of real replacements), and he doubled-down on Therrien’s security. I think at this point if one goes, they both go, and Molson will be forced to act.

Meanwhile, this team and it’s promising roster that has seemingly lost its way continues to crater with no relief in sight. Another year during “The Window” looks to be circling the drain.

Ian Boisvert (@Boisvertian) – It’s so hard to tell, isn’t it? Since November 12th, the Canadiens are 18-18-7. Until he was fired, Claude Julien coached the Bruins to an 18-17-6 record. One coach is without a job and the other is still employed, and will probably still be employed until the end of the year.

Yup. I don’t think he goes anywhere until the end of the season at the earliest. And that’s not to say Bergervin thinks this can work, I just don’t think any of the options are feasible.

Claude Julien? Boston would need to give Montreal permission to speak with him, and I’m not certain they would. If you’re Boston, why would you let Montreal talk to Julien?

Patrick Roy? Nope.

Bob Hartley? Coached the Avs to a Stanley Cup… 16 years ago.

Kirk Muller? Probably the best fit, but how well does that work in practice?

This coaching staff has a lot to answer for, but I don’t think the issue is dealt with until the offseason.


Zach Vanasse (@ZachDropsTweets) – The Bruins would have to give permission to the Canadiens to talk to Claude Julien or they’d be seen as absolute dicks around the entire NHL and beyond. You can’t fire a guy and then refuse to let him look for another job. The hockey world would explode if that news came out. You think leaving Gallant to find his own cab was bad?

Now, where I do agree is I don’t think Bergevin is even going to ask for permission to talk to Julien, or anyone else. Some people see the five-day break as the perfect time to fire the coach, but I imagine Bergevin sees it as time for the team to re-focus (to borrow a word from Carey Price) and then see how they play coming out of the break.

If the ship doesn’t right itself post-bye-week then I do believe there is a chance Bergevin could consider kicking his buddy out of the foxhole, but nothing’s going to come this week in the ol’ coaching change department. Therrien will still be behind the bench when the Winnipeg Jets visit the Bell Centre on Saturday afternoon.


Ian Boisvert (@Boisvertian) – These are the same Bruins that hid the firing of Julien in the Patriots Super Bowl parade. I don’t think they specialize in ethical decisions. Realistically, Boston could catch Montreal. Why help them?


Zach Vanasse (@ZachDropsTweets) – Unless I’m missing something, I cannot recall – in any sport – a team firing a coach and then refusing to let him speak to another organization to find work again. The Bruins wouldn’t want to help the Canadiens (though they fired the guy, so how helpful could they possibly think he is?), but I really don’t think they have a choice whether or not to let him speak to any team that requests permission. The Bruins are slimy, but I don’t even think they’d stoop so low as to straight up refuse to let him speak to the Canadiens. To my mind there is zero chance they’d refuse to give him permission to speak to the Habs if they requested it. Does anyone have a single example of this ever happening before?


Ian Boisvert (@Boisvertian) – I honestly don’t think it’s happened before, which leads me to question why this rule even exists. Why does this rule need to exist if teams are always given permission? It’s the same argument people have with offer sheets: kind of a jerk move.

As long as the rule exists, why would Boston allow a Stanley Cup winning coach to speak with a divisional rival? I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’m saying that this rule allows for Boston to restrict Montreal from talking to Julien.

It’s a somewhat baseless claim, but as long as this rule is in play, it needs to be considered.


Will Harte (@willharte) – I have a hard time seeing Bergevin bringing down the axe at this point in the season on Therrien despite recent results, despite Julien’s conditional availability, and despite what I think has been (especially given the talent on this team) some fairly uninspiring play for several months. Think back for a moment to the second half of November. After beating Detroit 6-0 on the 12th, the Habs won only 3 of their next nine games, averaging just 2 goals per game during that time:

11/13 – Loss to CHI, 2-3
11/15 – Loss to FLA, 3-4
11/18 – Loss to CAR, 2-3
11/19 – Win vs. TOR, 2-1
11/22 – Loss to OTT, 3-4
11/24 – Win vs. CAR, 2-1
11/26 – Win vs. DET, 2-1
11/29 – Loss to ANA, 1-2
12/2 – Loss to SJS, 1-2

Anyhow, seen against this backdrop, the present state of affairs should hardly come as a surprise. But when MB said, “It’s on me” a year ago, I think he meant it, and I for one believe that he intends to stick with MT through the end of the season.

Still, make no mistake about it, given their recent performance (six losses in seven, just 3 points in February), and given the point parity in the Atlantic (4th-place Toronto is 9 points behind with 4 games in hand), this thing could go south quickly. And if it does, Therrien will surely take the fall.

In the meantime, I’d look for a big trade this week.



  1. Bay Bye

    February 14, 2017 at 11:41 am

    therrien needs to go..MB gave him the team and players he wanted and he still can not win. we will be big time loser on the PK trade as Weber is already slowing down,like Nashville said he would as that is why they traded him, Shaw has not worked out, takes too many penalties and paid too much money. Therrien is crippling Chucky by not playing him on 1st line and hi favoritism of DD is a joke…he does not know how to utilize the skill sets of the young guns and bounces them back and forth between the nhl/ahl so they really can not develop properly…all in all Therrien needs to go

  2. Budd Lynch

    February 14, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    I think Therrien has to go. I don’t think he has managed his line selection very well (injuries aside). This goes back several years and unfortunately none of his forwards can get in the groove with so much line juggling. Galchenyuk has been hurt the most. Poor guy has no idea where he fits in.