Canadiens officially announce Michel Therrien as new head coach

Former Penguin coach Michel Therrien has been officially named head coach of the Montreal Canadiens. Therrien will be introduced today at a 2:00 p.m. press conference. Therrien rejoins the Canadiens organization as he spent seven seasons as head coach in the Canadiens organization from 1997 to 2003. Here is the official release from the Canadiens:

MONTRÉAL (June 5, 2012) – Montreal Canadiens Executive vice president and general manager, Marc Bergevin, announced Tuesday the appointment of Michel Therrien as the club’s new head coach.
Now 48, Michel Therrien has coached an even 1,000 games in professional hockey (499 games in the NHL and 501 in the American Hockey League)
In his six-year tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, Michel Therrien started out as head coach of the clubs’ affiliate team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton from 2003 to 2005, before being promoted at the NHL level leading the Penguins to new heights from 2005 to 2009. In his first season in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he led the team to 86 points in the standings and to the AHL finals. Following a 92-point season in 2004-05, he took his team to a remarkable 21-1-2-1 start, including a league-record 15 straight wins, when on December 15 he was summoned to Pittsburgh to take over as head coach. In 2006-07, his second season behind the Pens’ bench, he was a finalist for the Jack Adams Trophy as NHL coach of the year after leading the Penguins to 105 points and a 47-point improvement over the previous season. It was the fourth-biggest turnaround from one season to the next in NHL history.
In 2007-08 under Therrien’s guidance, the Penguins kept the same pace and earned 102 regular season points making their way to the Stanley Cup final, dropping a six-game decision to the Detroit Red Wings. It was the Penguins first division title since 1997-98 and their first berth to the Cup finals since 1991-92. With Pittsburgh, Therrien had a 135-105-32 record for a total of 302 points in the standings in 272 regular season games for a .555 winning percentage.
Michel Therrien spent seven seasons as head coach in the Montreal Canadiens organization from 1997 to 2003. The Montreal native joined the franchise in June 1997 taking over behind the bench of the Canadiens AHL affiliate team in Fredericton, leading the club to the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals. In 1999-00, he became the first head coach of the Quebec Citadelles leading the team to the Atlantic Division Championship in its inaugural season in the Provincial Capital. On November 20, 2000, Therrien became the 25th head coach in Canadiens history. From November 2000 to January 2003, he led the Canadiens to their first playoff appearance in four years, reaching the Eastern Conference semi-finals in 2001-02. In 190 regular season games as the Canadiens head coach, he had a record of 77 wins, 77 losses and 36 ties or OTLs.
Before joining the Canadiens, Therrien coached the Laval Titan and the Granby Prédateurs in the QMJHL, winning the Memorial Cup with Granby in 1996. He posted an outstanding .712 winning percentage in four seasons as head coach in the QMJHL.
Analysis on the Hiring
Early indications is that the Therrien hiring is not going to be well received from fans in Montreal. Therrien’s first tenure with the Canadiens shouldn’t work against him as it was so long ago. Therrien doesn’t get enough credit for turning around the Penguins and taking them from one of the NHL’s worst teams to a playoff team in one year and a bonafide Cup contender in two years, reaching the Cup Finals in 2008. Reasons Therrien doesn’t get enough credit is due to the roster he had as many try to say the superstars accelerated the Penguins rebuilding process and that Therrien didn’t have much impact.
Therrien though laid the foundation and what he did in Pittsburgh is that he got the most out of his superstars that saw Sidney Crosby post a career high 120 points in 2006-2007, Evgeni Malkin score 47 goals in 2007-2008 which was a career high till this past season, Jordan Staal score a career high 29 goals in 2006-2007, defenseman Sergei Gonchar put up 67 points in 2006-2007 and 65 points in 2007-2008, and defenseman Ryan Whitney collect 59 points in 2006-2007, which is still a career high for Whitney. Big time players perform under Therrien and Therrien gets the most out of them.
The sense around those close to Therrien is that the time off is going to make him a better coach. Being able to work as a scout for the past couple years, has helped Therrien watch the game evolve and those close to Therrien indicate that will be beneficial to him and that there could be some changes in his philosophy behind the bench.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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