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Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, who hired Michel Therrien.
There’s little denying that, as general manager Marc Bergevin’s first handpicked head coach, Therrien will be given a lot of slack. Bergevin clearly doesn’t want to be seen as a fool.
However, unofficially, one has to think that Therrien wasn’t his first choice and perhaps wasn’t his choice at all. That would be pure speculation on my part, but when one lists all the repeat coaches in Montreal Canadiens history (Newsy Lalonde, Cecil Hart, Claude Ruel and now Therrien), one name sticks out like a sore thumb.
Everyone who wasn’t living under a rock this past spring knows how close Bob Hartley was to getting the job.
Very few people are likely privy as to why he instead chose to go to Calgary (the chance to work under the incomparable hockey mind of Jay Feaster perhaps?). As such, consider Therrien the team’s second choice at best.
Taking into account the unfortunate prerequisite of the ability to speak French as a Habs coach, Therrien may not even have been that high on the Habs’ wish list, but simply the candidate on whom they settled.
Marc Crawford? Not fluent enough. Patrick Roy? Even more temperamental. Guy Boucher? The perfect candidate…but strangely unavailable.
In one of his few moments of professionalism, former general manager Pierre Gauthier allowed Boucher to be courted by the Lightning despite being coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs at the time.
Why, oh, why couldn’t the same person who picked off Jacques Martin’s coaching staff one by one last season to try and save his own skin been present then?
In any case, even though it’s bad form to fire someone just because a better candidate becomes available, it’s at least possible with Therrien.
Crazier things have happened before and generally first-class organizations like Montreal do sometimes do classless things. The whole Randy Cunneyworth incident, for instance. How long did he last as head coach of the Canadiens again?
If Boucher becomes available—considering the team he has at his disposal in Tampa, he very well could at some point this year—lightning may indeed strike twice in Montreal over a course of two years.