Well, if the Montreal Canadiens are looking for a winning formula to end their 19-year Stanley Cup championship drought, hiring Michel Therrien could be the first step.
After all, it worked for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Of course, by the time the Pens hoisted the Cup, Therrien was just a footnote on their run. But Therrien led the Penguins to the Cup Final in 2008 and then got fired during the 2008-09 season. Using their experience from the season before, and the tutelage of new head coach Dan Bylsma, the Pens won the 2009 Cup in their rematch with Detroit. Therrien, who was introduced as the Habs’ new head coach Tuesday, has not been behind an NHL bench since his dismissal by Pittsburgh.
This will be Therrien’s second stint with Montreal. He was the head coach through 2003 and compiled a 76-77-22-14 record in three seasons. Bruins fans will recall Therrien was behind the Habs’ bench for Montreal’s first-round upset of the Bruins in 2002. While Therrien meets the qualifications of having NHL experience and being able to handle two languages, some in Montreal are doubting he was the right choice over fellow finalist Marc Crawford. CBC has some interesting numbers dealing with coaches who get a second shot with one franchise, including the five men who Montreal re-hired over the course of their history.
It’s always exciting when the new coach of the Canadiens already has half the fan base against him before he even takes the job. Now we’ll see if Therrien can turn things around. Of course, it doesn’t matter who’s coaching unless P.K. Subban and Carey Price get new contracts they like and Andrei Markov (wait for it …) stays healthy.