After two seasons of totally deflating the morale of Montreal Canadiens fans, Mario Tremblay called it quits as bench boss on this day in 1997.
Most famously known for his part in the expulsion of Patrick Roy, and the lesser spoke of conflict with Donald Brashear among others, Tremblay did manage to get the Habs to the post season in the two seasons he was head coach.
Tremblay's last stab behind the bench was a 77-point squeak in to grab the eighth and final playoff spot. It was a season that saw conflicted captain Pierre Turgeon traded, Saku Koivu missing 32 games with a knee injury, and a media report where anonymous players questioned the coach's competency . The beleaguered Canadiens fell to the New Jersey Devils in the first round.
Tremblay cited his resignation on the criticism of the media. "A coach has to live with criticism," he said in his announcement. "But there's a point where it has to stop. When they do things to try and break you, that's not right."
"We had a tough season, no question about that," said Canadiens President Ronald Corey, who is often associated more directly with the teams post 1993 Stanley Cup deconstruction. "Mario had to work under extreme pressure all season long, and he showed a lot of courage and I have a lot of respect for him for that."
Current Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault would later be named as his successor.