Canadiens Fire Therrien, Hire Julien
The Montreal Canadiens today fired Michel Therrien as head coach, replacing him with former Boston Bruins bench boss Claude Julien.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talk about deja vu. In 2003 the Canadiens fired Therrien and hired Julien as his replacement.
It was clear something was very wrong with this club since early-January. After a dominant start to the season, they’ve struggled over the last six weeks, dropping six of their last seven games. They’re still atop the Atlantic Division, but they’ve slid to fifth overall in the Eastern Conference.
This wasn’t like last season, where an injury-ravaged Habs club fell out of playoff contention. With goaltender Carey Price healthy, the well-respected Shea Weber patrolling the blueline and team captain Max Pacioretty and offseason pickup Alexander Radulov leading the offense, the Canadiens are a better team than their recent record indicates. It appear the players were tuning out Therrien and a change was needed behind the bench.
Bergevin doggedly stuck with Therrien last season when Montreal fans and pundits were calling for the latter’s head, but he couldn’t pass up this opportunity. Considering Julien was relieved of his coaching duties in Boston only a week ago, Bergevin had to move quickly lest another club snap him up.
Julien, who guided the Bruins to two Stanley Cup Finals and a championship in 2011, could be just the change the Habs need. He’s one of the best in the business and couldn’t be faulted for the struggles of a depleted Bruins roster over the past couple of years.
With the Habs now in their bye week, this gives Julien a good opportunity to set up shop and begin assessing the roster when they return to practice on Friday. Their next game is Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets.