The Montreal Canadiens find themselves exactly where the Toronto Maple Leafs were a few short weeks ago. The team is struggling, and the fan base is calling for head coach Michel Therrien‘s head on a platter.
Therrien doubters will point to the last time he was fired – canned by the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2008-09 season – a move that saved the Penguins season, ending with a Stanley Cup title. Therrien coached the Pens to the Finals one year prior to ’09, only to lose out to the almighty Detroit Red Wings.
It should also be noted that the 2013-14 Montreal Canadiens are not the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins, which was a team that regularly iced what is arguably the best top three centre combo of the last twenty years. Would a coaching change make the Montreal Canadiens a Stanley Cup finalist this year? Probably not. They don’t exactly have the personnel to be labelled a top Cup threat, just yet.
Here is what the Habs fans are saying:
There is no excuse to keep Therrien. This right now is the litmus test for Bergevin as a GM. If Therrien isn't gone, MB is a lame duck.
— Andrew Berkshire (@AndrewBerkshire) January 26, 2014
I think the only option if #habs want to make a playoff run is to fire Therrien – there is no other way & it may be even be 2 late for that
— paul lemire (@videosigninc) January 26, 2014
First time this season where I half expected to wake up to headlines of #Habs firing Michel Therrien. Guess there's always tomorrow.
— Dan Kramer (@DanKramerHabs) January 26, 2014
Habs fans aren’t pleased with their team’s recent tailspin, much like Leafs fans two weeks ago, before the Buds went on a six game winning streak.
The NHL season is a long marathon, losing streaks happen all the time. Aside from the absolute elite few teams there are inevitable ups and downs that will occur throughout the course of an 82 game schedule. The Habs have lost four straight, and six of their last eight. The recent slide has caused the club to lose grip on third place in the Atlantic. The Habs find themselves in a wild card spot, five points up on the ninth place Flyers. They are in trouble of falling out of the playoff picture altogether if they don’t turn things around quickly.
Can the coach be blamed for the players’ inability to win games? Some will argue, “yes, it is the coach’s responsibility to make sure his team is ready to win.” Others will suggest the Habs don’t have the horses; they’re a wild card team; they are exactly where they should be in the standings. This from Josh Yohe of Tribune:
Everyone in Montreal wants to see Therrien fired. I don't know. Look at Habs roster: On paper, looks like a pretty average team to me.
— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_PGH) January 26, 2014