In an NHL season that has already seen the likes of Jack Capuano, Ken Hitchcock, and Gerard Gallant be relieved of coaching duties from their now former teams, there has been one more major coaching shake up to add to the ever growing list.
As it was announced on Tuesday, the Montreal Canadiens have fired head coach Michel Therrien. After having a few disappointing seasons in row, this season seemed like it could be the one to turn it around. Although the Canadian team are at the top of the Atlantic Division standings, the team have cooled down big time after an impressive 13-1-1 start, recording an 18-18-7 record since. Not good.
Although this lack of winning and production can easily be blamed on the growing accumulations of injuries to star players such as Galchenyuk, Gallagher and Markov, the teams management needed something to wake up and reinvigorate the team. That’s where the coaching change comes in. More often than not teams turn to relieving coaches to make an impact on their team, it’s much easier to relieve a coach and his staff rather that make trades and moves within the team itself. This has been seen a lot in recent years, with it having payed off for teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins who won Stanley Cups after two of their coaching changes, the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets who have had stellar seasons compared to previous years following a new man behind the bench.
As if the Canadians didn’t need more motivation, instead of going the common route of appointing an AHL or assistant coach already in the team’s system, the Canadiens appointed former Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien their new coach. As two of the original six teams, the Bruins and Canadiens have had one of the most heated rivalries in the sport since the league’s conception 100 years ago, and in recent years nothing has changed. Just as heated as intense as ever, the two teams have been in some of the most exciting playoff series in recent years.
Having a former Bruins coach behind the bench has to prove as a kick in the ass for the current players. This is a business, and they have to figure out how to produce in order to get the results they want. After acquiring star players like P.K. Subban in the off season and having current superstars like goalie Carey Price, the team has no excuse to not be No.1 in their divisor. With all the talent that is on the roster, including injured players, the Montreal Canadiens have no excuse to disappoint come playoff time. They have come up short in every playoff year recently, this needs to be the year. Or else, maybe the team will shake up more than just the coaches behind the bench.