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Is Michel Therrien on thin ice?
The Montreal Canadiens have four wins in their last 14 games and have lost six of seven after a 4-0 loss to the Bruins last night. The team just can’t flat out score lately and when Carey Price is saying the team has lost their identity, there’s some deeper issues going on.
Price having a save percentage under .890 over his last 14 starts isn’t helping things but as the Canadiens enter their bye week, the pitch forks are out for Michel Therrien.
Therrien lost his job with the Penguins in February of 2009 due to circumstances when the Penguins had lost their identity but a big difference here is the Canadiens are in first place (for now), Pittsburgh was out of the playoff picture at the time, and Therrien has a major supporter in GM Marc Bergevin who some around the league believe will go down with Therrien before he makes a coaching move. Therrien is his guy.
Therrien was a great hire for the Canadiens in 2012 in getting them relevant again so quickly. Is he a great coach? No, but the guy can coach and gets results. The pressure, though, is on mounting on Therrien and Bergevin from their higher-ups. You don’t trade PK Subban for a 31 year old Shea Weber to just be a one round team. A big first place lead is now slipping. Ottawa six points behind with five games in hand.
16 days until the trade deadline, Montreal is on just about everything in the trade market from Matt Duchene, Martin Hanzal, to Patrick Berglund. If there’s a team that’s going to make a splash, signs point to Montreal doing it.
More on Penguins and Duchene
According to Adrian Dater, the Avalanche had three scouts last night at the Bruins – Canadiens game, including Joe Sakic. Colorado has been talking to Montreal about Duchene, Boston about Gabriel Landeskog.
Talk among NHL teams is the Avalanche fear Matt Duchene and his reps at CAA Sports are prepared to demand a trade by the summer, one reason the Avalanche are pushing to make a trade by March 1. They don’t want to get to the point where the player starts driving the bus.
Lots of talk in recent days of the Hurricanes being a potential match. With Duchene having just two years left on his contract, some executives doubt Hurricanes GM Ron Francis will step up and pay the cost to acquire Duchene, with Duchene able to walk in two years.
As for the Penguins, the suggestion that Derrick Pouliot and Marc Andre Fleury could put the Penguins in the mix for Matt Duchene is getting some good laughs around the league.
No chance and Jim Rutherford wouldn’t even waste his time putting that out there to Joe Sakic who has established his high asking price with various teams, including the Penguins over the last month.
One thing about Jim Rutherford. He’s revered as being the most honest GM to negotiate a trade with. He’s never someone who tries to come in and low ball someone. He’ll offer value from the start. That’s why he’s so respected.
When the Penguins were looking to acquire Daniel Winnik in 2015, Rutherford told the Leafs weeks before the trade was completed that he agreed Winnik was worth a second round pick and to call back when the Leafs were prepared to do a deal.
Rutherford is the same way when teams are trying to trade for one of his players. Ray Shero tried to acquire Ray Whitney for months leading up to the 2010 trade deadline and the asking price from Rutherford was exactly the same in January as it was until the final minutes before the deadline. Shero told Penguin officials at the time he was disappointed in not being able to land Whitney but respected Rutherford so much in that there was no B.S. in dealing with him. The price was the price.
The Penguins have made it known to the Avalanche what they’d be willing to offer and we’ll see where it goes in the coming weeks. Sources say one thing that intrigues Rutherford so much about Duchene is the Crosby/ Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"