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Poll of the Week: coach Therrien


BigTed3

  

33 members have voted

  1. 1. Should the Habs fire Michel Therrien?



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I don't think that my vote on this will come as a surprise, but I am happy to see that the votes are currently 10-0. Maybe between this shutout and the rumblings on Antichambre we're starting to see evidence of a real solid swing in public perception. I know that in theory what the public thinks shouldn't factor in to Bergevin's decision, but hey, it certainly can't hurt :)

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I wasn't categorically against hiring him in the first place and actually he/our team's play surprised me during the lockout shortened season. However, I haven't seen any progress since then, quite the contrary actually, so I'd say it's definitely time to shake things up.

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I don't think that my vote on this will come as a surprise, but I am happy to see that the votes are currently 10-0. Maybe between this shutout and the rumblings on Antichambre we're starting to see evidence of a real solid swing in public perception. I know that in theory what the public thinks shouldn't factor in to Bergevin's decision, but hey, it certainly can't hurt :)

Well the team claims they created the "French first" hiring policy based on public perception, so...

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Never should have been hired in the first place.

I remember having the discussion at the time with BigTed and my feeling was (and has not changed) that Therrien would be a great band-aid solution and could be a huge boost as long as he only stuck around a year or two. Indeed, we saw a roster that looked abysmal before his arrival looking a whole lot better just a few months into his second stint as head coach. This was a team that needed sand-bag drills. It was a team that needed to be reminded of two way play and going to the dirty places. And almost immediately we saw results...but even by the time we hit the playoffs it was clear that his lack of system and poor talent evaluation were going to be problems.

Fast forward a few years and its long overdue that these problems be fixed - although they remain problems.

I believe Bergevin has two options:

1) Fire Therrien now - right away - and stop the bleeding. Bring in a coach - any coach - that can work a reliable system and I think we'll see a huge improvement.

2) Keep Therrien in place & tank. I dont want to do this. Tanking is a viable option for a team that is bad - but we are not that team. Proper tanking isnt just playing bad for a lottery pick (pay attention, edmonton) its also moving assets for other picks so that your roster all comes together at once. We're past that point. Sure we could probably move guys like Plekanec or Markov but we're not that young of a team any more. Price, Subban, Patches etc - they wont be here forever. If we tank now, we set ourselves back 2 years. The only value in tanking would be if the team knows Price is done for the year (and they arent confident we can win without him). I see no indication of this though (you'd have to think he'd have already undergone surgery if that was the case).

IMHO Bergevin, despite giving Therrien a vote of confidence with the media - is exploring options. My guess is that some time today (if it hasnt already happened) he's talking with Pacioretty. If the captain says that Therrien has 'lost the room' then i would imagine MB will make a move. If Patches says that the team is still behind therrien and wants to win with him - for him - then it may stave off execution for a few more games but we've just set a record for futility never matched in 98 years as a team: 11 losses in one month. To put that in perspective, we had 4 seasons between 72 and 78 where we lost 11 or fewer games the entire year. If thats not enough to get Therrien replaced, i dont know what is. You have to think that at this point Molson may even step in.

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Therrien was never a long-term solution. We saw with his tenure with the Pens how upon his firing, there was an immediate and sustained reversal of puck possession metrics for the better and the team went on to win the Cup. But I'm not even sure he was a good bandaid solution. The fact remains that no matter who took over the team 4 years ago was going to look good. I said it before Therrien even coached a game. The team he took over was coming out of the basement of the East with nowhere to go but up. They had sustained a ton of injuries under Martin and traded away some of their regulars under Cunneyworth. They had made their own coach a lame duck because of language policy. They filled their line-up with mainly AHL players and not even skill players at that (mainly guys like Mike Blunden!). And the year Therrien took over was when we added Gallagher and Galchenyuk to our top 9, immediately giving him two key weapons that neither JM nor RC had. The short of all that is that there were a plethora of factors that announced an improvement independent of who the new coach was going to be.

Now that being said, I didn't expect the Habs to become a first-place team in his first year at the helm, so Therrien does deserve credit for that. We surprised a lot of people. But as we've now learned, part of that seems to have been because of how healthy we were and the other part might be that we seem to get off to hot starts in the season and in the lockout-shortened season, the hot start counted for more.

The main problem with hiring Therrien is that he's the hare in the turtle and the hare race. He overplays veterans like Markov and Plekanec so that they're burnt out when we actually need them in the playoffs. He overworked Carey Price, both in terms of starts but also in terms of his system leaving him bombarded with pucks. And he was too short-sighted to play his up-and-coming youngsters more, instead handing minutes to veterans like Bouillon and Murray, which set back the development of Beaulieu, Tinordi, and Pateryn. His decision to give all kinds of center minutes to DD probably delayed our moving Galchenyuk to the middle and even this year, Galchenyuk's minutes have been limited by the decision to favor Desharnais. We saw call-ups like Hudon and McCarron fail to get top 6 minutes when they could potentially be top 6 players. That's one thing if they're playing behind Gallagher but when you're giving those top 6 minutes to Weise, Byron, Flynn, and DSP instead, it hurts. Therrien has never been able to see the big picture, and as such, we haven't made any strides towards a Cup.

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Therrien was never a long-term solution. We saw with his tenure with the Pens how upon his firing, there was an immediate and sustained reversal of puck possession metrics for the better and the team went on to win the Cup. But I'm not even sure he was a good bandaid solution. The fact remains that no matter who took over the team 4 years ago was going to look good. I said it before Therrien even coached a game. The team he took over was coming out of the basement of the East with nowhere to go but up. They had sustained a ton of injuries under Martin and traded away some of their regulars under Cunneyworth. They had made their own coach a lame duck because of language policy. They filled their line-up with mainly AHL players and not even skill players at that (mainly guys like Mike Blunden!). And the year Therrien took over was when we added Gallagher and Galchenyuk to our top 9, immediately giving him two key weapons that neither JM nor RC had. The short of all that is that there were a plethora of factors that announced an improvement independent of who the new coach was going to be.

Now that being said, I didn't expect the Habs to become a first-place team in his first year at the helm, so Therrien does deserve credit for that. We surprised a lot of people. But as we've now learned, part of that seems to have been because of how healthy we were and the other part might be that we seem to get off to hot starts in the season and in the lockout-shortened season, the hot start counted for more.

The main problem with hiring Therrien is that he's the hare in the turtle and the hare race. He overplays veterans like Markov and Plekanec so that they're burnt out when we actually need them in the playoffs. He overworked Carey Price, both in terms of starts but also in terms of his system leaving him bombarded with pucks. And he was too short-sighted to play his up-and-coming youngsters more, instead handing minutes to veterans like Bouillon and Murray, which set back the development of Beaulieu, Tinordi, and Pateryn. His decision to give all kinds of center minutes to DD probably delayed our moving Galchenyuk to the middle and even this year, Galchenyuk's minutes have been limited by the decision to favor Desharnais. We saw call-ups like Hudon and McCarron fail to get top 6 minutes when they could potentially be top 6 players. That's one thing if they're playing behind Gallagher but when you're giving those top 6 minutes to Weise, Byron, Flynn, and DSP instead, it hurts. Therrien has never been able to see the big picture, and as such, we haven't made any strides towards a Cup.

Couldn't say it better than your closing paragraph, Ted.

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Will the Habs ever hire a coach who doesnt speak French?

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Will the Habs ever hire a coach who doesnt speak French?

It's unlikely to happen under current management and until the team realizes it puts them at a severe disadvantage in the selection process, as it essentially eliminates 90% of the candidate pool.

Geoff Molson has been on record saying he understands it is important to the fanbase and that language would be a key factor in determining the next coach of the Canadiens (that was before hiring Therrien).

Marc Bergevin has said it was a necessary factor.

Serge Savard, who was put in charge of the search process that led to hiring Bergevin has said that for him no GM or coach should be hired here unless they are able to speak French.

Of those, Molson's stance seems to be the only one that leaves some amount of room open for leeway (i.e. if an English coach agrees to take lessons, could he be acceptable to Molson? Maybe.). With Bergevin, he was fixed on this originally, but Bergevin has also shown a propensity to change philosophy when he sees it's not working, so maybe he'll double back on this if a key opportunity arises. What I'm most concerned about are the hardcore media members and Habs brass like Serge Savard and Benoit Brunet and Bertrand Raymond, who have essentially decided to propagate a discriminatory policy. As long as their voices are being listened to, this won't change. It would be nice to hear louder voices in the media arguing for equal rights for all, and it would be even better if GM and MB accepted that this hockey team needs to do what's best for the raison d'etre of the team (i.e. to win a Cup) rather than to appease political pushes from those trying to weed the English language out of Quebec.

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I'd even take Marc Crawford right now...Just out of curiosity, have the Habs ever brought in a coach that had already won the cup with another team (as a coach)?

Not in recent history to my knowledge. Bob Gainey had coached the North Stars to a Cup final in 1990-91 before he came here, although he was only interim coach and not here in that role primarily. Scotty Bowman had taken the Blues to the finals a few times, albeit in a league with many fewer teams. Jacques Martin had been to the conference finals with the Sens. Most of our other coaches in the past 20 years or so have been rookies (Tremblay, Therrien, Vigneault, Julien, Carbo, Cunneyworth) when they first arrived here. Interestingly, the last coach to win a Cup here (Jacques Demers) was a man of experience though and was in his fourth organization here when he won. Personally I'm not a huge Crawford fan, although I see him as a cut above Michel Therrien. If we're going to go after someone with experience, I'd prefer to see Larry Robinson, Kevin Dineen, Adam Oates, or John Stevens.

If I had to stack the odds of who the Habs would actually hire though, I think candidates could include

- Guy Boucher (40% chance he's next)

- Sylvain Lefebvre (25%)

- Benoit Groulx (15%)

- Eric Veilleux (10%)

- Kirk Muller (5% - only because he knows Mtl, was asst coach here, and I believe took French lessons while here)

- Mike Kitchen (5% - no French but he is a prior head coach and he knows MB through the Hawks system, so maybe if he agreed to learn French)

Personally, I don't see any of Lefebvre, Muller, or Crawford as being a top 5 choice. I think Boucher could be interesting but again, he wouldn't be my favorite as a go-to guy and I think we'd be forcing the language thing to go there. Veilleux and Groulx could both be excellent coaches in the NHL but at the same time, we'd be venturing into rookie head coach territory when we have a team that could compete for a Cup. So to me, guys like Dineen, Kitchen, Stevens, Robinson, etc. are better options at this point.

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It is easy to sit and name replacements who may be better, but Iprefer the coach I know and who has brought success to a pretty mediocre hockey team (now not quite as mediocre) My opinion on some of the names being usedfor replacement are;

1) Boucher's trap in Tampa made NJ look like the flying frenchmen. HIs team actually refused to engage the opposition in the offensive zone they played the trap so much.

2) At least 3 of the coaches have no NHL experience nad would not survive the media here, never mind the veterans or the fans if they started losing. So we would very quicly be back where we are today.

3) Vigneault has had one good year with the Rangers and is definitely not doing a better job than Therrien.

The reason I would keep Therrien is he has some routines that the players themselves appreciate. Players are put in a variety of roles and are used to playing differnet positions within the system. We are making fewer changes year over year and the system in place now is very familiar to all the players. Despite the struggles we endure during the regular season this team has performed very well in the playoffs and that i what counts. If we don't dpminate a couple of payoff rounds this year I may re-evaluate. But for now I don't think the change would benefit the club.

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Players are put in a variety of roles and are used to playing differnet positions within the system. We are making fewer changes year over year and the system in place now is very familiar to all the players.

Players on this team certainly are put into roles, and the system is extremely familiar. These aren't inarguably good things; in fact, they're pretty much the basis of a good proportion of the criticism of Therrien. It doesn't matter how long you try it, Desharnais and Weise on the first line is a horrible decision. Overplaying guys like Byron and Flynn in situations they're not equipped to handle isn't smart when it works by accident, it's lucky.

There's a term for this in economics: opportunity cost. When you choose between a set of things, you're accepting the benefits and costs of your choice, but you're also choosing to not to get the benefits or risks of the things you don't choose. Any serious discussion about keeping or firing Therrien has to involve this, IMO, or it's woefully incomplete. Exactly how much credit do you give Therrien for parts of the team's successes over the last few seasons? And how much blame for the failure? This isn't empirical, it's opinion, but I'm curious. Carey Price had one of the best seasons in history last year, while the team was playing extremely poorly. What value is "stability"—which I'll grant that Therrien provides for the sake of argument—if the "stability" requires historical hot streaks to get good results? What does Therrien bring that's so valuable and tangible that literally any other NHL-level replacement would lack? Without satisfactory responses to this, I'm thoroughly unconvinced that Therrien deserves the wiggle room he's been given by this organization.

This is, of course, not how it works. NHL front offices create relationships, and sometimes ownership and/or GMs are unwilling to make blatantly positive moves if it means cutting loose someone familiar. And NHL teams generally have to crater and waste opportunities and seasons before long overdue changes are made. A pity it is indeed that we appear to be in such a situation.

I'm having a hard time being convinced by "the devil you know" pro-stability argument watching night after night as Price, Subban, Pacioretty, Plekanec, and Galchenyuk are burning years off their primes playing putrid hockey straight out of 2002. I'm also not sure how one can legitimately come to believe this is a "mediocre" team when looking at the talent and performance of the core, if it's being compared to other actual NHL teams in 2016 and not hypothetical/historical ones.

There's also something missing: Carey Price. You simply cannot assess this team over the last three seasons without talking a good deal about Carey Price. The team rises and falls with him, and that's really all there is to it. We've won when he's been on, we've lost when he had cold runs or couldn't play. Had the early season trend of the team playing a more solid and sustained possession game continued strong during his injury, that would be a feather in Therrien's cap. Instead, at the first sign of real adversity, he reverted to the same inexplicable lineup decisions and awful strategies as the previous seasons. Except this time, Carey wasn't there to provide all-world, top flight goaltending. And we've seen the results.
Therrien has historically shown no ability to make the kind of changes required to truly compete. This team will continue to struggle in the same infuriatingly predictable ways until he's replaced, or forced to do things properly. It would be nice to see one of those happen before the team's rapidly shrinking Cup window slams shut.

Despite the struggles we endure during the regular season this team has performed very well in the playoffs and that i what counts.

Sample size is rather key here. I'm not sure what the average length of an NHL playoff berth is; ours has been 11.3 under Therrien. No matter the exact length, it's a small subset of an entire NHL season. Why should anyone be willing to disregard the worrisome qualities observed in the vast majority of the 252 regular season games Therrien has coached since his return to focus solely on the 34 playoff games? Those playoff games represent 12% of the games Therrien has coached in his second term here, and they've been heavily influenced both positively and negatively by health issues, and like any very small sample size are biased by randomness and luck. This is no way to draw sound conclusions.

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The reason I would keep Therrien is he has some routines that the players themselves appreciate. Players are put in a variety of roles and are used to playing differnet positions within the system. We are making fewer changes year over year and the system in place now is very familiar to all the players. Despite the struggles we endure during the regular season this team has performed very well in the playoffs and that i what counts. If we don't dpminate a couple of payoff rounds this year I may re-evaluate. But for now I don't think the change would benefit the club.

While I disagree that the team has performed well in the playoffs (Price and one or two standouts, yes, but as a whole, not really), I would like to point one consideration out.

When the majority of your roster is comprised of players who ordinarily would not get the opportunities that Therrien presents, it isn't particularly surprising to see many of the players supporting the coach. We don't have an abundance of egos either (character), so it also wouldn't be difficult to believe a large portion of the players support the coach simply because they have no desire to oppose him or rock the boat.

Gallagher, Weise, Desharnais, Flynn, Mitchell, Byron, Emelin (etc.), it is in their own best interest to support the coach.

Pacioretty, Plekanec, Markov, Pateryn, Petry, Fleischmann (etc.), strike me as guys that are willing to go with the flow.

Galchenyuk, Subban, Eller, Tinordi, (etc.), have all been more or less "whipped" over the years. If they don't go with the coach, they don't play and/or get called out publically.

Players that disagree with the coach, for the most part, end up being marginalized and/or removed. Perhaps that is why we see players like Semin, Sekac, Andrighetto, (etc.), have had difficulty in securing a role?

There's a term for this in economics: opportunity cost.

There's a management term as well, I believe it is called the "Peter Principle" (I might have the name wrong). It involves promoting an employee beyond their ability to be effective. Desharnais for example, performs exceptionally well on the 3rd line, so he gets promoted to the 2nd line, where he performs just well enough to get promoted to the 1st line, where he is unable to meet expectations. Basically, the employee's performance decreases as their role increases, until an exceptional employee becomes a failure. Therrien runs afoul of that principle on a fairly regular basis.

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