Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Habs Complete Shakeup, Name Therrien Head Coach, Reimburse Crawford Rosetta Stone Books

When asked to conjugate the verb "marcher", Crawford stumbled at the 3rd person singular. Then the past participle of the verb "vendre" did him in. Fate sealed. Le clou dans le cercueil. The nail in the Yakupov. Despite the long hours Marc Crawford has logged in French lessons, ce n'était pas suffisant. 

Michel Therrien has been here before, the first time around virtually unknown outside of the province, and frankly speaking, with the team at his disposal upon his arrival, he did alright. He did so much dirty leg work in Pittsburgh you have to admire the process he put the young Pens through.

Doug Collins worked hard to bring Michael and the Bulls to a tipping point. That ran its course because it requires immense habit changing philosophy. It's an exhausting and at times thankless process. Bylsma walked in and pushed a well oiled machine over the limit. Much like Phil Jackson did with the Bulls after Collins was fired. 

Therrien was behind the bench when Saku Koivu made his rousing return to Montreal after a terrible fight with cancer. He managed to steer that team to a playoff spot despite having the captain sit out all but 3 games. He coached the last useful legs out of Doug Gilmour who looked like a 25-year old in the first round against the Bruins that year. No coach got more out of Richard Zednik. The Therrien team played with some jam. With Theodore in nets, at the time the best goalie in the world, the Habs were, at the very least, enjoyable to watch. 

What the Habs could have done in the spring of 2002 had they held on to that Game 4, 3-0 third period lead against the Hurricanes will always be a matter of speculation. It was a meltdown of incredible proportions and Therrien was at the heart of it, taking an ill-timed bench minor that lead to the Canes' stirring comeback. 

In that twist, the best and worst of Therrien can be found - capable of coaching a young team to good heights with inspiring and gutsy hockey, and yet berating to a fault and capable of losing a room, the only room that you can rely on for survival in your coaching career.

We won't go over what we think of the language debate immersing itself into the recruitment process. It is what it is. But the question one should ask is - was this the best guy given the pool Montreal has afforded itself. It's impossible to say - for 2 reasons. We do not know how Therrien has evolved as a coach and we don't know how he has progressed as a person. One thing is certain, one inevitably pulls the other - in the very human, raw dynamics of coaching the more you mature the more likely the message you are trying to convey will be better formulated and received. That is if you are open to the maturing process.

Having been away from the game will give Therrien an appreciation for coaching that will entice him to tread carefully. We can speculate that his teeth will cut through the more erratic cloth of a PK, a Kaberle. His dedication to defence will help turn the D's attention towards better awareness and responsibility. His dedication to work, the most basic attribute one can hope for will give him a natural advantage in the eyes of the players and front office personnel. He's trying hard, he's dedicated to our success, let's rally around him. Because in the end, that's what it's all about - can the coach create or foster a sentiment of solidarity among the players, a belief in a system and in themselves. That belief can only be hatched out of winning - its not an artificial creation, and so the system must come first. The rest will come.

Good luck to Michel Therrien. Congratulations on an extremely well deserved reversal of fortune.


Anonymous said...



Steve said...

I feel better now thanks for the pep talk.

HabsFan29 said...

ill-timed bench minor


But nicely done. We need to let him coach FFS

HabsFan4 said...

"It was a meltdown of incredible proportions and Therrien was at the heart of it, taking an ill-timed bench minor that lead to the Canes' stirring comeback."

So we agree, right?