The Canadiens announced at 4:38 p.m. on Tuesday that they have fired head coach Michel Therrien and replaced him with Claude Julien, who was fired on Feb. 7 by the Boston Bruins.
“I would like to sincerely thank Michel for his relentless work with the Montreal Canadiens over his eight seasons behind the bench, including the last five seasons when we worked together,” Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said in a news release. “The decision to remove Michel from his coaching duties was a difficult one because I have lots of respect for him. I came to the conclusion that our team needed a new energy, a new voice, a new direction. Claude Julien is an experienced and well respected coach with a good knowledge of the Montreal market. Claude has been very successful as an NHL coach and he won the Stanley Cup. Today we hired the best available coach, and one of the league’s best. I am convinced that he has the capabilities to get our team back on the winning track.”
Michel Therrien, merci beaucoup pour tout, thank you for giving everything you had to our Team. #GHG
— Geoff Molson (@GMolsonCHC) February 14, 2017
The Canadiens are in first place in the Atlantic Division with a 31-19-8 record, but are 1-5-1 in their last seven games and are 18-18-7 since starting the season with a 13-1-1 record.
The Canadiens were shut out 4-0 by the Bruins Sunday night in Boston, marking the third time they have been blanked in the last five games. The Canadiens are in the middle of a five-day bye week in the schedule. They will practise at 4 p.m. Friday in Brossard and play the Winnipeg Jets Saturday at the Bell Centre (2 p.m., CBC, SN, TVA Sports, TSN Radio 690).
Bergevin will hold a news conference at 11 a.m. Monday in Brossard, followed by a conference call with Julien at 1 p.m. You can watch Bergevin’s news conference live on the HI/O Facebook page.
For Julien, this will be his second stint as head coach of the Canadiens — just as Therrien was in his second stint behind the Montreal bench. Julien coached the Canadiens from January 2003 to January 2006. This also marks the second time Julien has replaced Therrien as the Canadiens coach. Julien also took over from Therrien on Jan. 17, 2003 when Therrien was fired and Julien was coaching the Canadiens’ AHL farm team in Hamilton.
Michel therrien was 1 of the best coaches I've had in my hockey career .. 1 that had a lot of faith in me, which I will never forget
— Brandon Prust (@BrandonPrust8) February 15, 2017
Julien, 56, had spent the last 10 seasons with the Bruins and has a career NHL coaching record of 538-332-10-117 for a .603 winning percentage. He had a 419-246-94 in 759 regular-season games with the Bruins (.614 winning percentage) and led Boston to the Stanley Cup in 2011.
Therrien, 53, was named head coach of the Canadiens for the second time on June 5, 2012, one month after Bergevin took over as GM. Therrien has a 194-121-37 record during his second stint behind the Canadiens bench and led the Canadiens to the playoffs in the first three seasons — including a trip to the Eastern Conference final in 2014 — before coming up short last year with a 38-38-6 record. In 814 career regular-season games as an NHL coach, Therrien has a 406-303-23-82 record. In 542 games behind the Canadiens bench, he posted a 271-198-23-50 record. He ranks fourth all-time on the Canadiens list for most games (542) and wins (271) as a coach, trailing Toe Blake, Dick Irvin and Scotty Bowman.
(Photo: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)