About last night …

Michel Therrien’s explanation for benching his leading scorer for most of the third period in a game the Canadiens trailed by two goals:
“Team concept is very important.
“That will never, never, never change.”
Three “never”s.
Very emphatic.
Let’s see if we can top the kindly old coach:
The Canadiens will never, never, never, never make the playoffs if Therrien screws up P.K. Subban.

And the coach was not content with benching the Canadiens’ best player.

Down two goals late, Therrien did not bother pulling goaltender Peter Budaj.

What message does that send to his team?

“You bozos will never, never, never, never, never score a goal anyway, so I’m not even going to let you have an extra skater to try.”

And if I’m P.K., I’m on the phone to my agent Thursday morning telling Don Meehan to take my next contract to arbitration and then get my ass out of Neverland.

OK, that’s a bit extreme.

But the benching – along with a half-season’s worth of lukewarm, grudging praise from Therrien and general manager Marc Bergevin – has to have P.K. wondering whether the Canadiens’ braintrust is giving him the respect his talent deserves.

Canadiens fans love him.

General managers of 29 other teams would love to have him.

But in the executive suite of the Bell Centre, Subban seems to be something of an enfant mal aimé.

Maybe it’s because in their pre-game interviews with RDS’s Pierre Houde, P.K.’s hat was snazzier than Bergevin’s green shirt.

If the Canadiens were being run out of the Wells Fargo Center, maybe the coach sends a few messages. But this was a winnable hockey game, and the best skater wasn’t on the ice.

Yes, Subban took a bad and selfish penalty at the end of the second period.

As the siren sounded, he was roughed up behind the Canadiens’ net by Philadelphia fourth-liner Chris Vandevelde. A scrum ensued, and P.K. took an ill-advised poke at Sean Couturier.

Subban began the third period in the penalty box. Then he skated to the Canadiens’ bench, where Therrien kept him for the next 10 minutes.

The message was old-school and perfectly clear: You hurt the team, so you sit.

OK, fine.

But I guess the Western Union office closed before Therrien could send a message to Rene Bourque, who has yet to record a point in 16 road games this season.

Or to Max Pacioretty, who was comatose for 40 minutes but took a regular shift in the third period.

Or to whoever is drawing up a power play that has become predictable, easily defended and consequently impotent.

There was no shortage of potential message recipients. The Canadiens were awful.

“Too many passengers,” concluded RDS analyst Marc Denis after the final siren. “Not enough emotion.”

P.K. Subban isn’t the reason the Canadiens lost in Philadelphia.

Nor can he be blamed for the way this flawed team has stumbled and bumbled since the beginning of December. It’s frightening to imagine where the Canadiens would be without the only player who can be relied upon to consistently move the puck into the offensive zone or pass it to forwards in motion.

Here’s the message someone should be transmitting to Therrien: P.K. Subban is your best skater … by a lot.

Quit effing with him.

How will the benching of P.K. play in the Canadiens’ room?

Short-term results were not promising. They had five shots on goal in the third period.

The better indicator will come Saturday night, when the Stanley Cup champions visit the Bell Centre.

If the Canadiens play as badly against Chicago as they did in Philadelphia, the Hawks could duplicate that pasting L.A. laid on the home side Dec. 10.

•  •  •

Two Guest Comments, from the game blog thread:

Adidess wrote

Ok, I missed the game tonight. Looks like the only thing of consequence I missed is the benching of PK on a night where apparently most players didn’t come to play.

You know, I have tried to follow MT’s actions and thought process closely since his infamous “making PK a better player and better person” proclamation, which I continue to find laughably weird considering the well-rounded person Subban is.

But hear me out here… Could it be that one night after having been named on Team Canada as part of the elite among the elite in the NHL, and only a few months after Subban won the Norris Trophy, MT came into this game thinking he might need to start breaking this guy again to reinstate the fears, doubts, fake humility he’d rather see in Subban’s eyes or maybe just so that PK understands the coach is not done ‘correcting’ him?

Okay, I’m speculating wildly here, but does that penalty deserve that response when we’re talking about the team’s best player and we’re down 3-1.

And from my friend J.Ambrose.Obrien:

I really didn’t have a big issue with the benching, nor the refusal to pull Budaj. In the context of such a listless performance, I can forgive Therrien’s frustration. But that doesn’t change my opinion that MT is not a good fit for this club. And I do find his relationship with PK strained and strange. Am I the only one who found it odd that, while stating how he thought Carey deserved to be on the national team, he then added “and PK, too” almost as an afterthought ?

It looks more and more to me like the team is tuning out.

•  •  •

News flash: Coach cuts off nose to spite face

Conférence de presse Canadien





  1. habsmandes says:

    If read many articles against and for on the issues of this game.
    All have good points. In the end if the Habs make the playoffs and get to the 2nd round, he’s a good coach and what he did was right. I they are out of the playoffs or get knocked out in the 1st round, the coach’s measures are extreme and he’s not the coach for this team. That’s the way it will come out.
    There isn’t much anyone can do until the the season’s over. In my opinion the Habs don’t have the guns nor the muscle to get very far in the playoffs, I think management knew this from the beginning so we may as well wait and hope for the best. I seem to recall the GM taking over a 3rd from last place team and creating a plan of progression from there. Because they did well last year and are in a decent position this year, everybody is gung ho and when things aren’t going well it’s trade the team and fire the coach so we can win the cup.
    The people that MB is looking at to be able to follow his plan are developing in the minors.
    Chicago, LA, Pittsburg, Colorado… didn’t win the Stanley cup 10 years in a row to get the personnel they have, they were bottom feeders for a long time before their good draft choices came and started to make them good teams.
    We need to stick to MB’s plan and stop putting so much pressure on this team. If the coach doesn’t work out he’ll be replaced in due time, but we have to give this team a chance to develop.
    It’s not by getting Dany Brière, George Parros and Doug Murray that made us an automatic contender. It was an experiment and we will see the outcome at the end of the year. Unless of course Philly wants to trade us Vinny for Briere, Parros and Murray or NJ wants to give us JAGR at the trade deadline for Parros, I mean be realistic. Even getting those 2 guys wouldn’t make us win the cup.
    even if we could get Crosby now, we couldn’t win the cup.

  2. Mats Naslund says:

    The worst part is that Therrien had the entire 2nd intermission to make his point about the penalty but then chose to drag it out onto the ice after. So dumb. I wonder who’s job it is to make MT a better person when he’s out of line? MB are you watching?

    • Coozeman says:

      If I paid good money to see the game at the Bell Centre I paid to see one of the best Dmen in the NHL, one P. K. Subban and to see him on the ice in the third period to give us a chance to win!

      MT and his old school antics will get him run out of Dodge before long and if MB allows this to happen he could be riding shotgun!

  3. Mats Naslund says:

    Coach wants to make PK a better person. I guess he thinks he can do a better job than the guy who’s responsibility that ACTUALLY is: his father.. Who by all accounts is not only one of the great dads in existence but who’s work has been recognized over and over in the community in which he lives by being a role model for kids who need one. Aka he walks the walk.. Unlike coach who would rather pout on the bench and sabotage the game to make his ‘point’.

  4. BCG says:

    I didn’t like the Therrien signing and I still don’t – forget P.K. supposed ego. Therrien had not proven that he checked his ego and so I didn’t think deserved a chance at coaching a team that was not in full rebuild mode. Nothing Therrien has done has given me pause to rethink my position.

    As I see it, there are two choices – 1) keep him for the season and then re-evaluate. 2) Fire him now so that the team has time to adjust to a new coach before the playoffs.

    The talent on the Canadiens is not Stanley Cup calibre but is pretty good – the talent alone is equal to their position in the standings. Therrien is not adding to their ability/point standing.

  5. Habsville says:

    I recall a goalie that a coach embarrassed, he left and wn a few cups in Colorado where he coaches today.

    MT should go before he gets PK to go

  6. otisfxu says:

    Anyone think if Sidney Crosby took a bad penalty at end of second period, he would be benched????

    No further questions or comments needed.

    If MB has no problem with this move, then he and Habs deserve to lose what will be or is one of best players in the league.


  7. NCRhabsfan says:

    Message to MT, if we have to decide between you and PK you will never work in hockey again. You won’t even be able to get a job throwing peanuts in Phoenix. This is an entertainment industry and you’re not entertaining, and your team is not entertaining. You haven’t won anything. You can be replaced in less than a nano-second and we won’t care. P.K. we cannot replace. DO NOT SCREW UP P.K.!

  8. nek25plus says:

    In last nights game, 95% of the players were a no show. Including a decision to dress 1 less forward!? There was one or two players that showed they had a will to win, even when down by 2 goals. One of them was PK. He was harassed and the end of the 2nd by the flyers and he fell into the trap. So be it. Tell him to be wiser, talk to him quietly or have a full row with him. But don’t bench him for ten minutes when you are trying to get back in the game. These tactics work for a while and eventually players tune you out.

    Right now PK loves playing in MTL, and in turn MtL loves him. Teach him, guide him and treat him with humanity. PK’s personality is his life force, its what makes him great. The old style of coaching has gone by the wayside…the same with old style hard ass teachers that diminish a student rather than build them up. embarrassing a person is not the way to go.

    My last thought is, I pay to watch the Habs play in my home in Toronto. I pay $9 a month to watch RDS, (and I love the french broadcast best, Houde etc.) pay for Centre Ice and TSN. I don’t pay to see one of the best talents on our Team sit, and be humiliated in public.

    Be careful MTL Canadiens Org., not many players want to go and stay in Montreal. You need to build the reputation back up again, we have been a dynasty in years. You can’t rest on past laurels and history.


  9. PeterD says:

    Therrien has definately lost the room.
    He’s over reacting and over reaching when dealing with PK.
    He over plays non producing veterans.
    He will not align the players into lines and pairings that have the most success.
    He does no know how to create offence with the line up he puts in the ice.
    He has too much faith in his buddies…Bullion, Murray, Bourque, Gionta and will not sit our weaker players and instead sits Bournival and will not call up potentially effective replacements to improve the defense. ..like Pateryn, or Tinordi…both would be upgrades on Boullion and Murray.
    Time for MB to address this incredibly incompetent coach.

    • NCRhabsfan says:

      Like PK MT has a responsibility to the team. He shirked that responsibility last night. How would he feel if PK fired one into the Habs net one night and explained it by saying, I didn’t think MT was coaching a good game so I had to get his attention. I was a luke warm MT supporter; now I say the sooner we fire him the better.

  10. Thomas Le Fan says:

    The team allowed Mario Tremblay (spit) to screw up relations with the best goaltender on earth and where did that leave us? Fire this bum, Therrien, before he screws up P.K. The man is a drooling idiot. Maillot!

    Hockey isn’t everything … it’s the only thing … except for beer and guitars!

  11. EastCoastJoe says:

    MB best tread cautiously. Don’t pull an Houle. Recognize the real issue and can the coach, don’t trade your best player (by a long shot, save Carey Price) for a pile of crap. This team’s getting harder and harder to watch.

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