Canadiens fire Michel Therrien and hire Claude Julien

Michel Therrien,

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.” 

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.

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)

• Bergevin swaps foxhole buddies, by Pat Hickey

• Valentine’s Day heartbreak for Therrien, by Stu Cowan

• Julien is the right person to coach Canadiens, by Jack Todd

• What the Puck: Bergevin did the right thing, by Brendan Kelly


  1. stevenpaul says:

    The wrong Michel was fired. The best coach can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. What does julien have to work with? Unless Price starts pulling rabbits from you know where the results will be the same.

  2. SteverenO says:

    3 ways we will know instantly if replacing Therrien with Julien was the right move:

    1) Less of (or none of) Danault on the PP ( he is actually a minus 1 with the man advantage)- He’s been on the ice for two PP goals scored and 3 PP goals allowed in 26:45 of PP TOI; the team has not scored even one single goal with Danault at center on the PP with Pacioretty and Radulov on his wings in 18 minutes and 30 seconds.

    With either of McCarron or Galchenyulk centering those same two wingers the team has scored 6 PP goals in 20 minutes and 20 seconds of PP TOI.

    2) less of (or none of) Emelin on the penalty kill :

    Emelin has been , by far, the least effective on the Habs penalty kill unit. the team has allowed 26 goals in 160 minutes of SH TOI with Emelin on the ice. Average equals roughly one PP Goal Allowed every 6 minutes: Beaulieu has played 65 minutes of 4 vs 5 OI and has been on for only 4 goals against; an average of one GA every 16 minutes.

    3) defense pairings: Weber and Emelin MUST be broken up: here’e why: They have played together for 826 minutes of 5-on 5 play this season, The team having scored 26 goals and allowed 20 goals against. The averages are 31 minutes per goal scored (terrible ) and 41 minutes per goal allowed (excellent)

    Weber and Beaulieu have played together for 170 minutes at even strength this season. During their time on ice together the team has allowed scored 9 goals and allowed only 2. The averages are
    19 minutes per goal scored (pretty good) , and 85 minutes per goal allowed (Incredibly good).

    Out of 16 different defense pairing combinations (having more than 30 minutes of TOI) this season, the pairing of Weber/Emelin ranks 13th in goal production. If we EVER see Emelin and Weber on the ice together in third period when the team is trailing , that alone, is justification to change coaches. The only pairings that have had worse offensive production this season are Hanley/Beaulieu – Johnston/Barberio – and Emelin/Petry. (I pointed out repeatedly last season that playing Emelin and Petry together was a HUGE coaching mistake)

    Anyone who has any doubts about Therrien”s dismissal need only see the three huge mistakes above to understand why he had to be replaced.

    The interesting thing about it is that a team can have a winning record, even a near perfect record, in the won and lost column, despite those huge mistakes. The fact remains that anyone, with a brain, a calculator, and any type of interest/knowledge in performance metrics should easily catch those errors.

    Had Bergevin hired someone, an d/or Therrien paid any heed to performance metrics (These are not advanced stats , or even analytics… it requires just the most basic and simple arithmetic skills) he probably would not have had to fire his foxhole buddy. At the very least there would have been no compelling reason to make a change. In light of those three glaring errors- there is no possible way for anyone to justify Therrien remaining in his position as head coach.

    I challenge ANYONE, including the so called expert Pierre McGuire to try and explain why any owner would , or should, allow someone to keep their job in light of the consistent poor personnel ice time allotment decisions such as those mentioned above


    Steve O.


    Steve O.

  3. HABS 63 says:

    WOW I woke up this morning , looked out the window ,the sun was brighter , the grass was greener , the birds and wildlife seamed happier and the beaches are even more beautiful ! ( I am on a weeks holiday in the Caribbean ) The news of THERRIEN gone has made this trip even better. To bad I will miss Saturday’s game , it will be the first game that I have looked forward to seeing for 2 years . Can’t wait for the next one !! GO HABS GO. 11. 11. 11.

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