Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has acted decisively on Tuesday afternoon by firing Michel Therrien and appointing Claude Julien as the new head coach.
Claude Julien appointed head coach of the Montreal Canadiens.— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) February 14, 2017
Claude Julien is, of course, fresh off of being let go by the Boston Bruins where he coached for 10 seasons, including a Stanley Cup in 2011. His dismissal was largely seen as a mistake by many, as the team’s recent troubles stemmed primarily from the lack of depth in the organization.
Despite this, Julien led the Bruins this season to be the top possession team in the league. He coached a total of 349 games for the Bruins since Therrien took over the Habs, earning a .610 win percentage with 191 wins and 144 losses.
Meanwhile Therrien and the Canadiens have been struggling mightily this season since starting at a blistering pace, normalizing to a .500 team. At first the excuse of frequent injuries to star players could have been used, but in the final game prior to the bye week, with all players in the line-up, the team fell embarrassingly to the Bruins 4-0, in the third shutout in five games.
Public sentiment turned swiftly in recent weeks against Michel Therrien, with the players looking disheartened and not invested in the team. With the Canadiens currently in the midst of their bye week, the time had finally come for Marc Bergevin to act decisively. Michel Therrien leaves the Canadiens for a second time with a record of 194 wins and 121 losses in 352 games.
A few weeks ago rumours circulated that Bergevin met privately with the leaders of the team, notably Carey Price, Shea Weber, and Max Pacioretty. This was downplayed as a standard meeting that he has frequently with the players directly, but the timing was quite suspicious, given that the team were in a tailspin that they seemingly were having a hard time getting out of.
Assistants Jean-Jacques Daigneault, Dan Lacroix, Kirk Muller, and Clement Jodoin will all stay in their roles at the moment.
As of now, habs assistant coaches remain in place— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) February 14, 2017
Obviously, this may change eventually but for now Julien for Therrien is the only move.