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Poll of the Week - March 12, 2015


BigTed3

A New Coach?  

11 members have voted

  1. 1. Should Michel Therrien be fired?

    • Yes, fire him now
    • Not now, but probably in the summer
    • No, our record speaks for itself
      0


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The subject has come up multiple times over the past two years, but the fact remains that we're heading towards the playoffs as one of the worst possession teams in the league, constantly getting outshot, outplayed, and outchanced. NJ has replaced their coach late and went on to win the Cup. Pittsburgh fired Therrien mid-season, hired Bylsma, and won the Cup. So if you were MB, would you take the plunge and fire Mike or is it too risky at this point?

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Yes, I'd be in favour of it. Do anything possible to save this season. Carey Price is in the middle of something which might be way bigger than a career year. Things happen in the NHL, and this might be the team's only real chance to win.

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I said earlier this year in the Therrien thread that I didn't like him as a coach but that at this point in the season I'd rather stick it out with him until the summer so as not to shake up the team too much before the playoffs start.

Well, I've changed my mind.

Since then we've somehow become a worse team on the ice, despite the fact that by and large we're dressing better players than we were. Carey has also been playing even better than he was before, giving me a bit more hope that this team might actually have what it takes to go all the way if we could just get our team game to a more reasonable level. I just don't see what a new coach could do in ten games that could make us play any worse than we have been, so really there's no time like the present.

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I said earlier this year in the Therrien thread that I didn't like him as a coach but that at this point in the season I'd rather stick it out with him until the summer so as not to shake up the team too much before the playoffs start.

Well, I've changed my mind.

Since then we've somehow become a worse team on the ice, despite the fact that by and large we're dressing better players than we were. Carey has also been playing even better than he was before, giving me a bit more hope that this team might actually have what it takes to go all the way if we could just get our team game to a more reasonable level. I just don't see what a new coach could do in ten games that could make us play any worse than we have been, so really there's no time like the present.

I was on the fence but leaning the way you were: wait till the offseason. However, like you ive changed my mind & am 100% behind the replace Therrien now idea.

Assuming we *have* to go with a bilingual coach, I would be totally fine with slapping an interim coach label (ie: see how they do in the postseason before giving a big contract) on a guy like Martin, Crawford or even Boucher (although I would be more comfortable with an experienced coach). I think any of those, given 10 - 12 games to finish the year, has a better chance at going further in the playoffs than an MT-run squad.

Part of me thinks there's no way on earth MB fires him but he's shown he will make moves that surprise us and I have absolutely no doubt he's considered the fact that this team may be better without Therrien.

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Bergevin is blinded by our record.

I just dont buy that.

He's shown, mistakes and all, that he knows hockey. Even the moves and deals I dont necessarily agree with of his made some sense (whether they work out or not is another story)

He has to see what we're seeing (being out-chanced and outplayed nearly every game). I get that he and MT are friends and I believe he has extended him more of a chance than he would have otherwise but I think that a certain point, if we free-fall enough, he will do something. Im just not sure if it will be before the summer.

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I just dont buy that.

He's shown, mistakes and all, that he knows hockey. Even the moves and deals I dont necessarily agree with of his made some sense (whether they work out or not is another story)

He has to see what we're seeing (being out-chanced and outplayed nearly every game). I get that he and MT are friends and I believe he has extended him more of a chance than he would have otherwise but I think that a certain point, if we free-fall enough, he will do something. Im just not sure if it will be before the summer.

Even though I think that Therrien should be fired right now, I can see almost no way that Bergevin actually does it.

Think about what would realistically happen if Therrien were fired today. We'd bring in a new coach and then... we'd magically be an instantly better team? Unfortunately, no, entire systems don't just change overnight and we're going to have some growing pains. And even if we don't have any immediate struggles as a team, chances are good that 1) Price's game will fall off a bit from where it has been, 2)The law of averages finally wins out and we start losing some of the tight games, or 3) both of the above. Our record has been so much better than our play all season that, unless we continue to get really lucky or the new coach is a miracle worker, we're probably going to end up losing more games with the new coach than we have with Therrien.

So just think of the optics there. The Canadiens are more or less first in the East and have put a great season together under our coach, a year after that same coach brought us to the east coast finals. Then we fire the coach and the record goes downhill. Not only does it suck for the new coach (we'd basically be setting someone up in a position where we're almost sure that they're going to "fail") but it would also look bad on Bergevin. If we made a change and we didn't get to at least the third round of the playoffs again then our GM would be looked upon with a lot of scepticism, despite the fact that he ultimately made the right move.

Now with all that said, Bergevin has surprised me before and he does seem to be a bright guy. I just think that it would take such a huge degree of confidence to make a coaching change right now, I really can't see it realistically happening.

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Even though I think that Therrien should be fired right now, I can see almost no way that Bergevin actually does it.

Think about what would realistically happen if Therrien were fired today. We'd bring in a new coach and then... we'd magically be an instantly better team? Unfortunately, no, entire systems don't just change overnight and we're going to have some growing pains. And even if we don't have any immediate struggles as a team, chances are good that 1) Price's game will fall off a bit from where it has been, 2)The law of averages finally wins out and we start losing some of the tight games, or 3) both of the above. Our record has been so much better than our play all season that, unless we continue to get really lucky or the new coach is a miracle worker, we're probably going to end up losing more games with the new coach than we have with Therrien.

So just think of the optics there. The Canadiens are more or less first in the East and have put a great season together under our coach, a year after that same coach brought us to the east coast finals. Then we fire the coach and the record goes downhill. Not only does it suck for the new coach (we'd basically be setting someone up in a position where we're almost sure that they're going to "fail") but it would also look bad on Bergevin. If we made a change and we didn't get to at least the third round of the playoffs again then our GM would be looked upon with a lot of scepticism, despite the fact that he ultimately made the right move.

Now with all that said, Bergevin has surprised me before and he does seem to be a bright guy. I just think that it would take such a huge degree of confidence to make a coaching change right now, I really can't see it realistically happening.

We're not talking about a bunch of AHL rookies though. This is a good combination of Veterans and experienced young players. I honestly think that if you brought in the right coach (and im not sure who that is although to be honest, Crawford probably would have the best shot at it if he can leave his gig in switzerland) we would do just fine. This isnt the same team we had from 5 years ago where our only chance was to set up a system and try to run it well every night. I think a competent system (not hard to learn) and proper lines makes this team substantially better - and you still have Price back there as the great equalizer in the meantime.

Like you, I find it unlikely - probably extremely unlikely - that MT is fired but after the horrendous effort and result we saw last night MTs answer was to field the same lines at practice today with the only change sitting Beaulieu (?!!?) in place of Pateryn. To me that is not a good sign.

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I've gone over the we-can't-fire-Therrien-this-late-in-the-year arguments before but the fact is that we've reached a point where not firing him actually seems to be the lesser alternative. So let's go over these arguments again:

1. You can't fire a coach when you're atop your division. Well we're pretty close to not being atop the division and not even getting home ice advantage any more. There's clearly precedent for firing a coach despite a good record. And frankly, the argument that we're not playing good hockey and probably won't be able to sustain our winning ways into the playoffs outweighs whatever our record is.

2. The odds are high that if you fire Therrien, the new coach's record won't be as good to start and then you end up looking foolish. it's a possibility, but if you're MB, at this point, you need to take that risk. Most teams are not afraid to make unpopular moves, so if MB can make his argument to Geoff Molson to make the move and get his boss's approval, he should just do it. The team needs to accept that it might take a small step back to take two steps forward. I don't think the step back will be prolonged because the fact is that it's not going to take a complicated system to improve upon what's there now. If a new coach can improve the PP and simply start to use players more appropriately, it's already a head start. Stop the dump outs and dump ins, let the skill players play a skill game. Yes, it may take some time to build a system like Detroit or Chicago has, but we have a better goalie than those teams and I'd argue our skill level is better than Detroit's and not too far from Chicago's, if it were just used properly.

3. MB can't fire Therrien when he just signed him to a long-term contract. The Habs are one of the richest teams in the league, so they can afford it, although this is clearly an I-told-you-so case for me, as I said when he was extended that it was an absolutely unnecessary move to make that move a year before you needed to. At the end of the day, MB has been a GM whose admitted to his mistakes and fixed them (Murray, Allen, Briere, and so on). But his biggest mistake has been Therrien, and he needs to be consistent and fix this one too. MB has already proven that it's better to admit you made a mistake and fix it then do nothing. Just stay that course here.

4. But there's no good replacement out there. I can't honestly believe there isn't a single coach out there who isn't a step up on MT. If it's so hard to find a bilingual replacement, then it's simply a sign that the team needs to expand its horizons to non-Francophones if it's really interested in having a chance at winning a Cup. I fully agree that we need to go to an interim coach for now because we need to keep the door open for the slim chance of a Babcock signing in the summer. But couldn't a guy like Jacques Demers or Jacques Martin or Larry Robinson or so on step in and at the very least not interfere with the natural functioning of the team? There are plenty of guys out there with playoff experience. Dan Bylsma's stepped in for Therrien and won a Cup before. Maybe he's not the ideal guy long term either but he's out there and he's a step up now. I don't like Marc Crawford much either, but he's a Cup-winning coach whose available and who could at least give us a better shot. Jacques Lemaire for one post-season? Would he do it? There are creative options out there, but I have a hard time believing we could find a guy whose system is less functional than what we're working with now.

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