Updated: Some old, lots new as Therrien returns to Habs

Michel Therrien

New Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, photographed last week in his Brossard office, hopes to be wearing these soon than later.
Pierre Obendrauf/The Gazette

Stubbs’s full feature-length interview with Michel Therrien

Hockey Inside/Out’s Dave Stubbs sat for an hour last week with Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien to discuss the new bench boss’ plans for the coming season and to talk about how he arrived back in Montreal to lead the team he worshipped as a boy growing up in Montreal.

What follows is a story that pulls more from their conversation, the complete in-depth feature linked above.

The Gazette

Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien had a simple question for defenceman Andrei Markov when they sat to talk on Sept. 5.

“I asked Andrei, ‘What’s happened to you the last 10 years?’ ” Therrien said with a laugh during a recent lengthy talk we had last week.

Of course, Markov was a Canadiens rookie the year Therrien arrived in the NHL. The coach was behind the Habs bench for 62 games in his own rookie 2000-01 NHL season, parachuted in from the AHL Quebec Citadelles in what was ultimately a vain bid to rescue a doomed campaign.

Markov, 22, played one more game for the Canadiens than Therrien coached that year.

Details of what the Russian rearguard told his new/old coach when they sat down in Therrien’s Brossard office were not available. But here’s what Therrien says of the defenceman who has missed a boatload of games the past three seasons after twice blowing out the same anterior cruciate ligament, requiring reconstructive surgery both times:

“We talked about Andrei’s life,” Therrien said, grinning. “I think he’s angry…”

The coach stopped to correct himself, but “angry” might also be part of the equation.

“No, I think he’s hungry about getting the chance to start the year with everyone. It’s been difficult the last few years with his injuries. It was a good thing he was able to play at the end of the year (Markov played a lucky 13 of his team’s final 14 games last season).

“So his workouts over the summer were totally different. He’s here, working out and in great shape. Andrei is one of the best defencemen in the league and getting the chance of having him at the beginning of the season is such a big plus for the team.”

Therrien is delighted to be reunited with Bouillon, as well. Frankie Boo has long been one of the coach’s favourites, the two men having a history that dates back to their days with Laval and Granby in the Quebec Major Junior league.

“I’m so proud that Francis will be part of our team,” Therrien said. “He’s going to be a great leader for our club. He’s in great shape and he’s such a great person.”

And then the coach cast a wider net.

“I believe the team has good leaders. We have a good one in our captain (Brian Gionta). It was a tough year for him last year due to his injuries, but there’s nothing you can do about that.

“A lot of guys have a lot of pride. I’ve always believed a hockey player has a lot of pride, he wants to make sure he’s going to perform, that he’s going to be in great shape and part of a winning team.

“I think that players, first of all, are excited, about opportunity they have to change things around, to change the perspective of what happened last year,” he added of the Canadiens’ last-place Eastern Conference finish.

“They’re excited about adding the character we did over the summer. We added Brandon Prust, Bouillon, and we’ve added Colby Armstrong (who played for Therrien in Pittsburgh for the latter half of 2005-06 through 2007-08).

“The players I’ve spoken with are excited about the character we’ve got. We’re getting a chance to make sure…”

The thought trailed off before Therrien began again:

“No, I don’t want to talk about last year. We need a fresh start but we need to make sure that we use last year as an experience and make sure that it won’t happen again.

“I’ve spoken to most of the players… some were not around the city when I arrived. I talked to Josh Gorges by phone, and we sat down yesterday (Sept. 5) for the first time to talk face to face.

“I coached Colby in Pittsburgh. There is always the trust. He played well for me. It was tough for him the last few years in Toronto but there’s a trust between coaches and players that’s important. I’m confident I’m going to bring his game to where it’s supposed to be and he’s got the confidence to bring his game where he wants. It was fun to sit with him yesterday. I hadn’t seen him for a few years.”

Therrien is delighted to have the “luxury,” as he calls it, of returning to the Canadiens family. After he yielded the coaching job here to Claude Julien in 2002-03, he went to work with the Pittsburgh Penguins’ farm team in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins themselves and did some scouting for the Minnesota Wild.

“It’s such a plus, knowing the Montreal market, knowing what to expect, knowing the team,” he said. “There’s no doubt I was paying attention, working in the media last year (as an analyst for RDS), watching a lot of the Canadiens games.

“Scouting for Minnesota for a year gave me a chance to evaluate the game with a different view. Sometimes, as a coach you’re like this,” Therrien said, blinkering his eyes with his hands. “As a coach, you’re concentrating so much on your players. But being a scout, you see the different systems, different players.

“The easiest thing to do in hockey is get rid of players. The toughest thing is to work with them. That’s the challenge. When you’re a scout, you learn it doesn’t mean the other players are better than what you have, so you have to work with the guys you’ve got.”

Therrien will be the most visible piece in the major reconstruction of the Canadiens’ front office this off-season. He’s practically dazzled by the work done by his boss, GM Marc Bergevin, and is eager to get his training camp in motion – whenever it happens, given the labour nightmare that lurks on the horizon.

“I’m so impressed with the work Marc did over the summer, the way he communicated over the summer, the way he’s shared all the information that needs to be shared, the teamwork he wants to bring,” Therrien said.

“We have the luxury to have a guy like Rick Dudley around us. He’s been a coach, a scout, an assistant GM, a GM – he’s got great experience and Rick is a guy who likes to share his experience. Having a guy like that in our group is a huge plus.

“The thing I can see with the group that Marc has put together is teamwork. We’re a team. You should have seen when we were going to dinner in Bromont,” he added of a recent brainstorming/strategy session of four days.

“Marc was there, Rick, Larry (Carrière) from management, those are team guys. All my assistant coaches – Gerry Gallant, Clément Jodoin, J.J. Daigneault. It’s been teamwork all the way.

“I think that’s what the players are going to realize: this is a team. It’s not only about one guy or two guys, this is a group that’s working together.”

Twitter: @Dave_Stubbs


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  2. accp says:

    everyone is talking about the great job Bergevin has done. I don’t see it player wise. Staff and coaching maybe. players. he made two changes so far. Armstrong from Toronto who may last 10 games or he could be great who knows. Prust, for the 4th line I like that one. other than that. same as last year. it will depend on Gionta, Armstrong and prust. if they stay healthy. we may move up 3-positions in the standings that’s about what you have to look forward to providing there’s no injuries to any of our top players. have a feeling Markov will be around for a short period …

    • shiram says:

      There’s Bouillon too, but he hardly seems like an upgrade over departed Hal Gill. Still hoping for at least one trade, as it stands Habs have too many D’s so something could be done.

    • Kooch7800 says:

      He has added Grit and is looking for a top 6 forward (as are many teams) but with the current CBA issues i think most teams have basically stopped with looking at players until this gets sorted out.

      It will be a condensed season so anything can happen. There will be lots of injuries I am sure

      • nunacanadien says:

        Gainey made the same exact wonderful moves and what did it get us? Ok a division championship but really that is not the cup and we didn’t even last long in that year in the playoffs. You could see even then that the Defense was too soft and weak like now, in fact were in not for Kovalev and Johnson and Halak saving Price, in fact it was Halak’s year that year, we would not have even made the playoffs. Almost the same formula as Gainey. Find players who are less than 6 feet 2 inches, weigh less than 210 pounds….and Gauthier perpetuated this, and now Bergevin.

        It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the hand of the Habs ownership committee basically sabotaging the Habs, both for a quick dollar, as it doesn’t take much money to bribe washed up veterans and skinny rookies who have no hope, to sign in Montreal with top dollar for them, not exactly top dollar for stars.

        Its all about making the Habs suck so they can make money.

        I guess someone forgot to tell the owners that you also need real hockey players on the ice….who can score, stop goals and defend. Something the habs don’t have and almost had with Halak. Too bad.

        • rogus says:

          Wow, get over the Halak trade already! He wasn’t even good enough to be the starter on a St. Louis team stacked with high end d-men. 1 player will not solve all of the issues with this team, and Halak was surely not the answer.

          I would also hazard a guess and say the Habs have to be one of the bigger teams around the league.

          Quit living in the past. Or if you’re going to live there, pretend it’s the 70’s, before the days of blogging!!!

          • nunacanadien says:

            Hey I am living in the present. What do we have now? Emelin who is big but can’t fight to save his skin. Brandon Prust who only beats the living crap outta players his size and rarely decks bigger tougher players and is really a mighty midget ala Gomez. Ok so we got a tougher version of Gomez, a player like Prust who is also not known to crash the net or even shoot on the net. And Colby Armstrong who hits hard, but hey so does Emelin and Subban. Subban is the only player on the habs who actually drops his gloves to save the name of the habs. Were it not for Subban we’d be a team like well, there is no NHL team made up of washed up veterans and mighty midgets, we are a milder version of the Rangers, where we got Gomez from. So I still don’t have my answer sure we may a few players who are close to 6 foot 2 inches but really honestly they are soft.

            Erik Cole being the only exception to this, but he is not wanted anywhere else because of his poisonous words and his blunt truth, so no wonder he was easy to sign here.

            Halak worked well here because he had the support of the team he knew, in St. Louis it was different. Were we to get Halak again we’d probably see a longer playoff run.

            Were we to sign some real big tough, and I mean tough players, not big and soft players ala Eller, who can hit, but often pushed aside….

            do you get the picture now? Maybe stop living in the past and live in the present and see what we have on the ice, which is now ranked 111 in the league, but honestly, individual rankings, we hardly see any habs in the top 200 let alone 300. It’s a wonder we were ranked so high as 111.

            Stop buying the PR crap of a well stocked front office, cause the front office doesn’t score goals, doesn’t fight fights, and doesn’t save shots on goal!

        • jbroderi says:

          Hey pal. Relax will you. What did you think Bergevin would do? Turn it around all in one summer. I suppose you thought he should have signed Webber, Nash and traded for Ryan and Chara too. This is going to be a process for the Habs to get back to being maybe in the play-offs and a cup contender. They have a shot this year of being in the play-offs but it will be in 2 to 3 years when Bergevins work will truly be judged. He did surround himself with good hockey guys, got a little tougher, but kept the good young nucleus of the habs together. Any dratic moves that you think he should have made would have crippled our future. going slow is the right, smart approach. We got off to a good start this off-season for a complete culture change. Give it time, cause it will take some to get us back up to where we should be!!

          “I’ll take potent potables for 500, Alex” JB

    • Mustang says:

      Do you have any ideas as to how he could move Gomez and Kaberle? I bet that there are not many “takers” out there for these two.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Am I missing the part where other GM’s are making huge blockbuster trades to change their team prior the CBA? Exactly which GM’s are completely reshaping their teams this off season.

      Given this is MB’s first year to assess talent, should he not be able to watch the team himself with his staff to ascertain which changes should occur first.

    • otisfxu says:

      I think he has hired every available guy out there. Sometimes tough to make them all feel important.
      Not that many offices up on the Admin floor of Centre Bell. Hope they don’t get their noses out of joint having to sit in a cubicle.

      Seriously though, it will really suck if the lockout is a long one.
      This team needs a good structured training camp, some good practices, get a good system in place.

      All this goes out the window when you have two weeks in November to get ready for the season.

    • SmartDog says:

      Yah but he also prevented Price from leaving – oh, and he healed Markov. 😛

      Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • Timo says:

      I don’t see it coaching wise either. Therrien, Michel.

  3. SmartDog says:

    I like Therrien’s attitude and his ‘teamwork’ message. Hopefully he sticks with the idea of working as a team instead of crapping on guys. 🙂

    And it’s really too bad he hates PK Subban.

    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

  4. GenerationYHabs says:

    The talk about a HI/O Nhl 13 league got me wondering if there are any fantasy hockey pools going on this year?

    I remember someone mentioning one last year around this time but I wasn`t able to get in before it filled up.

    • shiram says:

      Robert Rice started a HIO fantasy league on ESPN last year, but he is not around here anymore. You could always start your own and ask for people to join, the one from last year filled up quick.

      • GenerationYHabs says:

        Good idea, I`ll probably check up on possibly starting one later tonight since I`m currently at work and most fantasy sports sites are blocked.

        To give me a rough idea of whether it will be worth it or not, If anyone is interested in participation in something like this please let me know.

        And this is all assuming that there actually will be some sort of season this year.

  5. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Haven’t been on for a while. Was just wondering what happened to our former coach Cunneyworth? Is he still a member of the coaching staff?

  6. otisfxu says:

    It would be a shame to give up PK because Therrien doesn’t like him. PK will be around a long time after Therrien is no longer coaching the Habs – and without guys like PK – Therrien won’t have any winning record to prevent his demise.

    This whole thing gives me bad vibes. Hey MB, get your priorities in line. This team needs to be exciting – speedy, brash, tough. And let PK go and see how long it takes his buddy Mr. price to quit sulking.

    Maybe we don’t see something in PK that management sees, but all I know is that PK will be a lot more exciting to watch over the next 5 years than Michael Therrien over the next 1-2 years.

    • WindsorHab-10 says:

      Therrien doesn’t like PK? Where did that come from?

    • GenerationYHabs says:

      Where was it ever said that MT doesn`t like PK and is pushing for him to go?

      Everything I have read up to this point and have seen on l`antichambre has suggested that besides Pk being mishandled by the coaches, MT has no problem with him. He has stated that Pk should be given a shorter leash and should be coached harder, and I don`t necessarily see those as bad things if done properly.

      • otisfxu says:

        If you are getting offers from other teams for one of your better young players, gotta be rumblings out there somewhere about something. When you hear you are going to be given a shorter leash by the coach, you may not see it as a bad thing, and me neither, but PK might.

        Habs have always been hard on their rookies, old school, you play when your time comes – concerned we just can’t seem to get away from that philosophy.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Therefore Rangers staff hate Del Zotto, Washington staff hate Carlson, Jets staff hate Kane, should I continue?

          • otisfxu says:

            Not sure the I used the word hate anywhere,,,,,,,but you may continue,,,,,,,still think PK has no desire to be reined in, and MT will being doing that from the getgo.

          • Kooch7800 says:

            Bang on. The CBA is having an impact on them as well. D contracts for young players are very very tricky as well.

            Look at Dion Phaneuf……looked like a star now he has a huge contract and he is a pylon

          • HabinBurlington says:

            @otisfxu, i guess i mean that towards those saying that MT hates PK. MT was a media member last year, he was paid to be entertaining, it would be stupid for him to come into this season and not want to have a great relationship with PK.

  7. pH-Habs says:

    Thanks Dave! An article with sustenance!

  8. shiram says:

    I don’t like the Therrien hiring and no amount of respect/decency or whatever will change that, but I am willing to let him change my mind about him, he is being given a chance and if he makes the most of it, he will silence his critics.

  9. arcosenate says:

    Can’t wait to see the relationship between Therrien and a -23 Scott Gomez. That will not be pretty.

    • commandant says:

      Funny thing about the -23 Scott Gomez.

      His defence is exactly the same as the Scott Gomez who used to put up 60-70 points. There really has been no change.

      The biggest change is that he doesn’t produce any offence any more. With the way plus/minus is calculated all the pluses used to offset the minuses he’d accumulate. Not anymore.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

      • shiram says:

        That’s the exact opposite of funny actually.

      • arcosenate says:

        Can’t wait to see the relationship between Therrien and a -23 Scott Gomez. That will not be very funny.

      • Bripro says:

        Well, let’s be clear…. the pluses still do offset the minuses, but you have to generate some pluses.
        I might get assaulted on here for saying this, but I’ve always found Gomez to be one of the most effective F in getting the puck out of our end. When he picks up the puck in our end, I’m confident that he’ll get it out.
        I just wish that, once he hits their blue line, he’d keep going.
        It’s almost as if he sees a red light there, and puts on the brakes.

      • Morenz7 says:

        But why? How?
        How does a guy go from being a dynamic offensive player to a fringe presence in a couple of seasons? A cynic might say he got the contract he wanted and slipped into neutral. But that’s not the vibe you get from Gomez. Clearly he cares. He just can’t seem to do anything meaningful with the puck. All snickering aside (and I’ve done my share) it’s a conundrum.

        Shiram’s right: it’s not the least bit funny. So I’m not joking when I say the thought of a lockout melting a few more months off that contract actually pleases me.

  10. ed lopaz says:

    Chris brings up some good points below about the “dump and chase game” that has become so popular in the NHL.

    I understand that puck possession is critical to overall success in hockey.

    But I would just like to point out what happens when an “effective” dump-in occurs.

    1) the offensive team can change lines on the fly – I like when 2 forwards change on the dump and the player actually shooting the puck in continues into the offensive zone for a heavy forecheck

    2) the defencemen have to turn and chase a loose puck while at least 1 offensive player has the advantage forward momentum to chase and forecheck.

    the effectiveness of the forecheck is the key to the dump and chase.

    a strong forecheck can hit hard and wear down the defencemen, and then force a battle deep in the offensive zone for puck retrieval.

    support from 1 more fresh forward jumping into the play can create a turnover and a scoring chance – but at the very least the puck is deep in the other team’s zone and a battle for puck possession is ongoing.

    1 forward stays high to avoid any chance for an odd man rush the other way.

    one of the Habs weaknesses is their relatively small defence.

    2 periods of heavy forechecking leads to Habs defencemen that become weary and even timid in their pursuit of the dumped in puck.

    one of the reasons the Habs lost those 3rd period leads was a lack of physical “push back” from bigger, tougher defencemen that can take the hit on the forecheck and keep up their game for 3 full periods.

    I agree with Chris that dumping simply to change lines is not necessary at the NHL level. I like getting the d-men engaged and keeping possession while the forwardts change – passing d-to d man buys the time necessary for example.

    But a strong, powerful and relentless forecheck that starts by forcing the opposing d-men to turn and chase can be extremely effective.

    • rhino514 says:

      How do you prove this assumption? -Smaller Dmen are “worn down” over the course of a game moreso than “normal” Dmen.
      A case in point: Gill was around most of the year, and Spacek for about half. Subban was 205lb, about average for an NHL Dman last season and Gorges was 200lb and 6 feet, maybe just a tad below average but plays big. Emelin is big.
      Also, the team of two seasons ago was essentially the same and had much better third periods.
      This third period setback could just as easily be a one season statistical anomaly, or due to other mysterious factors.
      The habs keep adding big players; Cole, Bourque, Max Pac, and yet the team does not get any better, it gets worse. So I am quite tired of this foundless assumption that only big teams can win.
      If the habs this year improve, people will likely say it is due to guys like Armstrong and Prust making the team “harder to play against”. It will have much more to do with the fact that last year´s team had horrible luck with injuries and had a statistical anomaly in their goal differential.

      • ed lopaz says:

        have you ever asked a defencemen what his toughest and most physically demanding play in hockey is?

        turn and chase and then deal with an aggressive forecheck is the most common answer.

        watch Kaberle’s facial expressions and you will get an appreciation for what I mean.

      • Bripro says:

        The team got worse due to the team’s lack of enthusiasm for JM’s “defence-first” philosophy.
        I agree with Ed in that an effective dump-and-chase can cause turnovers and keep the opposing team on the defensive.
        Unfortunately, the Habs, especially last year, had the habit of dumping and having all three forwards change at the same time.
        That has no offensive effect whatsoever.
        Agreed, if one forward goes deep after the dump, and keeps the pressure on while the other two change, and then changes after the other forwards are on, this keeps the puck in their end, or at least should.
        The Habs had very little offensive structure, and none after RC took over.
        When you exert no offensive pressure, and the D are too far back, you can’t expect the team to be aggressive.
        I’m remaining neutral with the re-hiring of MT, but one thing is certain, his will be a more aggressive team, even with the same players.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      In complete agreement Ed, our problem the past few years is our dump and chase was followed up with Plex, Gio, Gomez, Cammy, etc providing the forecheck.

      Our lineup now should have a decent amount of size mixed through all the lines, and in addition a 3rd and 4th line that should provide an abrasive forecheck which can lead to turnovers and momentum shifts.

      Our D was on the smallish side, and on the old side over the past few years also.

      While we still need 1 more Big Feller on the back end, PK will continue to be better, GOrges is solid, Markov being healthy knows where to play the puck before the forecheck hits him and can make an overaggressive forecheck pay the price by getting the puck out extremely fast. Emelin was on a learning curve all last year and I would think will start to be more effective in his own end.

      The question mark is was Kaberle serious about off ice conditioning in order to help his game and the teams game? How much does Frankie B. have left in the Tank? And will we see Weber and Diaz on the same gamenight roster or will it be a rotation, perhaps a trade occurs.

      JM’s game plan didn’t change no matter the players he had, I don’t think the plan fit the roster, I look forward to see what game plan MT provides this changing roster.

    • Chris says:

      Good counterpoints, Ed.

      As you point out, the dump-in can be effective in wearing down opponents, especially in the new NHL that limits forecheckers being slowed down.

      As you astutely pointed out, the problem with Montreal is perhaps more that they lacked the type of personnel to play that style of game. Because of this, they probably should have played a more European-style puck possession game as much as possible to play to the strengths of the players that they did have.

      This was perhaps the crux of Gomez’s frustration with Martin…he’s not a forechecker, but a possession style player. The coaching staff’s strategies neutralized whatever Gomez might still have left to offer an NHL team. This is one area where Therrien might be a pleasant surprise, as I think he might be a guy who can get something out of Gomez this season.

  11. TommyB says:

    My first reaction to the hiring of Michel Therrien was one of repulsion. I dwelled on the image of his meltdown during his last stint as Habs coach. I dwelled on the image of him throwing his players under the bus in Pittsburgh. So, standing back now, I see that my reaction was a sort of meltdown of my own.

    Therrien is the Habs coach. I can’t change that, so I might as well accept it. My hope, is that in time I will actually embrace it. Michel’s first go ’round with the Habs was his first experience in the NHL. Imagine, getting to run the bench of the team you adored as a kid. Might there be some over-zealous, and sometimes over-reactionary, emotions in a situation like that? I think so. And what kind of support system was built into the Habs staff at that time? I doubt it was anything near what Marc Bergevin is building. Therrien was most likely on his own and it was too easy to become the sacrificial lamb. After all, his number doesn’t hang from the rafters, does it.

    As for his time in Pittsburgh, I have to admit I don’t follow the Pens or any other team with the same magnifying glass that I use with the Habs. But when I think back to that time, the Penguins really were a team full of young prima-donnas. And they definitely were not known for their defensive prowess. They hung the “C” on a 19 year old kid, not for his leadership qualities, nor for his loads of experience, but simply because he was the best player in the game. Does a 19 year old kid have enough respect for his coach? Does he have his back? Is he mature enough to take some responsibility and share the blame when things go wrong? Crosby was just one of the prima-donnas in Pittsburgh. Perhaps Therrien was in a no-win situation from the get go.

    I’m anxious to see how things work out in Montreal this time around for Michel Therrien. I can’t help but think that he has learned a tremendous amount about the NHL and today’s players since his last tenure as Habs coach. If he had qualifications to coach in Montreal the first time around, he surely has to be not only qualified, but smarter, this time around. Now if we can just get the season underway, we will begin to get the answers we seek.

  12. Habitant in Surrey says:

    British TV; ‘UK Border Force’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ-Z3gYF-NA&feature=related

    …the British can make reading the telephone directory riveting theatre
    …for those with nothing better to do with Their free time I provide the above link
    …as relevant for Canada as the UK …though, I think a Canadian version would be as dry as dishwater 🙂
    …I watched 5 or 6 episodes tonight, …compelling and exceedingly revealing

  13. Hobie Hansen says:

    I’ve been willing to give Michel Therrien a chance since day 1. All you can ask from a player or coach is that they give it their all, and there’s no question the new coach will do just that.

    Last year there was some lollygagging going on where it seemed like certain players were taking shifts and maybe nights off. Rene Bourque is an easy example but Tomas Plekenec’s poor body language from last year was noticeable.

    I think Therrien is a guy that can change that mentality. The real problem is the defense. I don’t know if a young Scotty Bowman could get a team with defense as small as Montreal’s into the playoffs.

    The team looks a couple seasons away from improving. If they somehow were in the hunt and picked up that big Hal Gill or Craig Ludwig style of stay-at-home defenseman than the team could possibly be sound enough in their own end.

    I have a feeling that big teams with skill are going to have Markov hopping around on a bad knee, Weber or Diaz being brushed aside and Kaberle scrambling for his life.

    Subban and Gorges are not huge but are solid, Gorges being the best of the group. Hopefully Emelin has learned to concentrate solely on defense and clean his game up.

    But it is blatantly obvious Montreal has no rock on defense. So no matter how good Therrien is with the players and his new system, the goals are going to be going in at a rapid pace.

    The fact that there were 3 or 4 good defenseman that would have fit Montreal needs, that went for cheaper than a lot of people thought this summer, makes the situation all the more frustrating.

    • Ozmodiar says:

      I suspect Frankie B was plan B (or C, D, …).

      The other explanation is that they wanted a 1 year stop gap and believe 2 of Tinordi, Beaulieu, Diaz can play in the top 6 next year. Oh, and let’s not forget MAB is a free agent next year!!

      With Markov, Kaberle, Diaz and Weber in the line-up, we’re looking at one more year of having a defense that is a bit soff.

      • 123456 says:

        while i agree the Habs Dfence looks soft – they were 5th in the east in goals against. the biggest issue is scoring – second to last if my memory serves me correctly (it’s been wrong before folks).

        so – in the rear end – i’d like a bigger meaner dfense but first the team needed character and that has been mostly corrected, next the habs need GOALS…. i think the habs are still in need of a top four winger who can get 30 goals.

        • Hobie Hansen says:

          obviously goals are important, but personally I like a strong defensive system first. It all starts with the goaltending and defense and the rest falls into place.

          With Cole, Plekanec, Gionta and Pacioretty all healthy I think the offense will come. And it’s imperative that Eller really takes a big step this year and young guys like Leblanc and Gallagher show us something. Ever year the good teams have a young guy step forward and that has to happen with the Habs.

  14. commandant says:

    A look inside the Strategy of the NHLPA and the NHL in this labor dispute.


    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  15. Flyers refused Couturier for Subban trade offer…
    The greatest Canadiens and NHL news-site: http://teliopost.com/
    Twitter: @teliopost

    • GenerationYHabs says:

      I will be extreamly dissapointed if that turns out to actually be true.

      • Ozmodiar says:

        What part of Philly are you from? Do you like the Eagles too? What’s up with Vick’s 4 interceptions the other day?

        …or maybe you’re just disappointed that (if) Subban was offered.

        • GenerationYHabs says:

          I`d be dissapointed in Bergervin being willing to trade a stud like Pk for a a still umproven Couturier, not the other way around.

          • Ozmodiar says:

            Ah, good. I agree.

            I thought for a moment we had a Flyers fan in our midst. 🙂

          • nunacanadien says:

            There is probably truth to the rumour that Therrien doesn’t want Subban, and his words last year proved this point. Why are we again giving up someone who has proven talent and skill (minus the famous spinorama that cost him goals against) and is one of the only enforcers, we have Prust but honestly, as if Prust would stand up for the team once he gets here and finds out the team is nothing but wimps? What tough guy stands up for wimps on any NHL team? Only Subban.

            The final word being that here we face a lockout which would suspend all contracts during the lockout, and with no contract for Subban this places him in limbo, and reinforces Therrien’s Points of View! Which were he did not like Subban’s fancy spinorams, nor his fighting which cost the team goals (not true, and only one spinorama cost a goal, in fact I remember at least 3 spinoramas which led to goals and one to a game winner even!)……

  16. chanchilla says:

    Ill join the league tonight, i have famiy flying in from england and the u.s so ive been all over the place sorry about that

  17. JayK-47 says:

    I started a HIO NHL 13 GM league. My pitch to let me commish, No kids, 2 jobs that leave me lots of free time. I basically work, eat, sleep, workout. So, Random rosters, 30 GM’s (no teammates) and injuries off. I took Phx cuz it made me pick a team. Join up, maybe by the weekend we’ll have 30 and can start advancing weeks. Just send me a msg that lets me know you’re HIO blood.

    Oh yeah, rules are basically the same as EOTP here:

    PSN tag: SavageUSMC
    NHL 13 Online GM League: HIO Cup
    Yes: JayK-47, Chanchilla, Boomer, Steven
    Maybe: 24moreCups

    • Boomer says:

      Come on Chanchilla!!
      Hop to, son…

    • Duke_Rauol says:

      im picking it up tomorrow dude, never do much PS3 online but ill try and find the league.

      We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold……

    • Kfourn says:

      My copy should be coming in either today or tomorrow. I’ll find you then.

      I’m not really sure how this new feature works though. Once your a GM can you find players online to fill your roster? choose a coach etc? Or are we just simulating games and letting the computer to play them?

      Well, he’s kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace “accidentally” with “repeatedly” and replace “dog” with “son.”

      “It’s sad when our rookies have no NHL experience before they jump up to the NHL.” – nunacanadien

  18. JUST ME says:

    No doubt that the atmosphere will be totaly different with so many coaches and specialists in the coaching staff. It will reflect on the ice and on the level of commitment of everyone. Furthermore it will send a message that the new manager will be on the lookout to make sure everyone plays up to par and that next season is now or never…

    But is also shows how empty the organization was and how awful it must have felt with a one man show…

    • nunacanadien says:

      I seriously doubt this JUST ME, the moves Bergevin made remove all the moves Gauthier made, and we are back to a small team yet again! A small soft defense on top of that, with mighty midgets Gomez, Gionta and add big smurf Prust. We saw the work ethic of Gomez fall when he landed in Montreal, I would imagine Prust will drop his penalty minutes and predict maybe two fights for Prust all year! As if Molson wants this team to succeed! He fired Gauthier after Gauthier admitted the habs were too small and too soft! Guess what the core of the team is still the same as when Gauthier developed it, with a few additions for players who are still too small and too soft!

  19. novahab says:

    Time for the players to make a statement. Crosby,Malkin,Ovie,and the top 30 players need to say we are signing 2 to 3 years deals.If the NHL doesn’t make the deal Saturday and locks the players out. If they sign contacts, the NHL is Fuc%. Absolutley no way out iron clad 2 to 3 year deal in the KHL .One more thing if the NHL wants a deal it means Bettman is gone with no golden parachute.Then after the players sign, they sue Bettman for lost wages in the last deal. Leave this weasel with out a penny. I love to walk by him on a New York street with him sleeping in a box. I would just split on him .

  20. ProHabs says:

    Now this is the type of article I like reading on HIO. Thanks Dave.

  21. Timo says:

    Is it me or holy crap the penalties Canada is getting away with? The holding and hooking on Krutov and Makaroc are unreal.

    • commandant says:

      Different time, the Russians were getting away with a lot too.

      They weren’t gonna call anything late in the third period or OT.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • JUST ME says:

      I was thinking the same thing . Even the great one should have had a few hooking penalties. Different era i guess, or is it that we are not used to it anymore…

      Also what strikes me is that those guys are big and fast as today`s players are. Just saying this cause if you look at a seventie`s game then you see a totaly different kind of athletes.

    • petrov14 says:

      Larry Murphy (on the panel) looked like he was gonna rob a bank with those glasses.

      Long live Captain Gionta.

    • Chris says:

      That was always the dirty little secret of Canadian hockey. We always whined about how bad the refereeing was overseas, but we conveniently overlooked that it was pretty awful in our favour when the games were played on Canadian ice.

      The Green Unit (Krutov-Larionov-Makarov, plus Kasatonov-Fetisov on defence) might have been the best group ever assembled in hockey history. They certainly belong in that conversation. It was practically impossible to stop a group that familiar with one another without resorting to interference and “intimidation”.

      It always drove my father nuts that North American hockey teams refused to partner defence and forward lines as a Unit like the Russians and some of the other European teams.

      The dump-in before a line change was another bane of his existence. He maintained to his dying day that that was the most spectacularly stupid play in all of hockey, and I am inclined to agree with him. I remember Mats Naslund would occasionally get annoyed with that and, instead of dumping it, he would pass back to his defencemen and then lead a line change. Montreal still had the puck, and had fresh forwards on the ice who could then get the puck back while the defence changed. In a game of turn-overs, the deliberate turn-overs from dumping the puck in to change players was just pointless.

  22. otter649 says:

    Watching Canada Cup 1987 on TSN – Interesting contrast how Team Canada did alot of dump & chase forechecking etc while The Soviets seldom shot the puck in prefering to skate the puck over the blueline. Also the diffference in lengths of shifts not like 30 seconds & less now seen in The NHL for the most part……

  23. Therrien’s best line: ‘I’m so impressed with the work Marc did over the summer’.
    The greatest Canadiens and NHL news-site: http://teliopost.com/
    Twitter: @teliopost

  24. JohnBellyful says:

    If you’re the owner of a National Hockey League team, it’s time to face facts. You need protection.
    Salary Template Distortions (STDs) are on the rise. In the last two months alone, there have been 10 cases of STD reported: Shea Weber, 14 years, $110M; Ryan Suter, 13 years, $98M; Zach Parise, 13 years, $98M; Tyler Seguin, six years, $34.5M; Taylor Hall, seven years, $42 million; Jordan Eberle, six years, $36M; Jeff Skinner, six years, $34.35M; Tobias Enstrom, five years, $28.75M; Brad Marchand, four years, $18 million; Alexander Semin, one year, $7M.
    It’s an epidemic, folks, and it’s making life difficult for you owners who, so far, have resisted the urge to spend Wildly. Despite your best efforts, your costs continue to rise just to remain competitive.
    Vowing to abstain from throwing caution to the wind is easier said than done.
    Abstinence only makes the heart grow fonder, of spending willy-nilly.
    Sooner or later you WILL get infected with venal disease, and give in to an overwhelming desire to make a big signing, even if it’s likely to prove fatal to your bottom line over the long haul.
    Prevention is the key. The only way to avoid contracting contractualitis, the most contagious of all STDs, is to use a prophylactic, and the best one on the market is the CBA 2012.
    Weeks in the making after a seven-year trial, the new and improved Cruddy Bettman Assault condom will put an end to STDs forever.
    “I always knew I could control myself and not go crazy when it came to signing players but I could never trust my colleagues to do the same,” one owner said. “When I’m closing a deal with a pro, I want a good phylactic. The last CBA didn’t give us that, and we owners ended up needing protection from each other, when we were supposed to be screwing the players. With the new version of the CBA, I don’t have to worry about the other dicks in the league anymore. I feel safe. There aren’t any loopholes. I’m really going to enjoy this labour peace.”
    Manufacturers of the CBA condoms say the ‘rubber’ – vulcanized, of course – comes in one size only – petty – and they’re guaranteed not to tickle.

    — “A little song, a little dance, a little rubber inside your pants.” —

  25. punkster says:

    I’m tellin’ ya, Burkie better get on this one fast before some other GM hears about it:

    ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  26. Ian Cobb says:

    This interview by Dave has the juices flowing for sure. It starts at the top with Bergevin’s “all in this together, team attitude”.

    Now will we have a season to witness what Marc B has put together. Funny no word on the PK.

  27. chilli says:

    We’d never have a consensus on coach. No matter what. Goes back to pre Carbo or whoever was coaching when this site took form.

    But here’s the thing: the only opinion that matters on who the coach is, are the players, and across the board they have all been very happy with the choice of Therrien.

    (Gomez not so much)

    So if the players are happy and MB is happy (who has done a fantastic job this off-season – if you don’t acknowledge that, you know nothing about the climate of the NHL and players coming to Montreal), and Molson is happy….then I am happy.

    The rest of you negative nellies can stuff it.

    It’s called being a fan. Support the team.

    You sound like the Republican party here in the US. 8 days after Obama was elected 4 years ago, they declared his plan wasn’t working.


  28. commandant says:

    I’m not a fan of the Therrien hire, but lets face it, Markov is the only player left from when he coached, and Markov and was just a rookie back then, so its not really a re-tread coach. Its not like he’s coached this group of players at all. Sure there is also the returning Bouillion, but thats it.

    Secondly I’m willing to at least let the team play a few regular season games before calling for a coach to be fired.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  29. JaggerHope says:

    Not sure how I felt when I saw Thierren was the new coach, but have enough confidence in Bergevin. Maybe the 2nd time’s the charm!

    Check my Habs blogs out! http://www.Habs7.com

  30. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …take a sedative 24 Cups …for an ol’ Man, You’re too excitable

    • 24 Cups says:

      Thanks for the well thought out reply, HS.

      There obviously are two distinct camps when it comes to Roy – there is no middle ground. I get that.

      It’s just that when the first real Hab thread since the MaxPac signing appears, one of the initial replies is that we can’t wait for Roy to be hired. And the first puck hasn’t even been dropped yet. Not to mention all the details of Dave’s interview.

      A few months ago, most HI/O posters were crying out for a new coach. Therrien may not be everyone’s cup of tea but he at least deserves a few years to see what he can do.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Does this mean you and Norm weren’t talking about having Roy as the Head Coach? I mean whether we like it or not, Therrien is here, he is experienced, MB has discussed how spoke with Therrien about what went wrong in Pitt and Montreal. Yet suddenly its time to talk about Roy as coach again. I don’t agree with Roy quitting, I hold Tremblay and Corey responsible, but Patrick’s temper has shown itself many many times, without any pro coaching on resume, why suddenly is that temper considered managed?

      • Habitant in Surrey says:

        …I’m not quite clear on Your point Gerald, because below I said I am going to sit back and see what unfolds on the ice
        …Therrien would not, definitely, be My choice if had been in Bergevin’s shoes …and, last I looked in the mirror, I have no resemblance to Marc Bergevin
        …I would have appointed Patrick Roy, if Patrick Roy provided Myself an assurance His sole ambition was to be the Coach of the Montreal Canadiens, because in My eyes I see Patrick Roy as a very competent executive and coach at the junior level over several years, and in My eyes He would re-transfuse into Our Habs what has long been missing, a sense of identity and passion that many Montreal Canadiens’ Fans have not experienced for almost 2 decades
        …I, Myself, was once a high-strung, temperamental goaltender, whom wore His heart on His sleeve …I, Myself, putting Myself in Patrick’s place many years ago, enduring the inside sense of misdirection and frustration the 3 Stooges of M. Tremblay, R. Houle and Corey represented, and the ‘humiliation’ Roy sensed in that Detroit blow-out, I can easily see Myself doing exactly the same thing Patrick did
        …in My opinion, again putting Myself in Patrick’s place, I would be saying ‘this is the last time I will play for Mario Tremblay’ …but, words, and ‘shite’ flew out of context, and out of control
        …a more prescient Coach and Management of the day, would have tried to calm Me (Patrick) down …They did not …and therefore, it is what it is today
        …but, to call My opinion that Patrick Roy should be Our Coach ‘bullshit’ …I resent the 24 Cups and Yourself implying that
        …can I be more clear Gerald ?

        Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

        Campaign to Retire Toe Blake’s Number 6 !!!

        …and, last, but not least: FREE PUSSY RIOT !!!

        • HabinBurlington says:

          I guess I just reacted to your comment to 24Cups a little strongly. I was not happy with MT being hired, but i trust MB and therefore will give MT his due.

          I love Patrick Roy, but if he is going to coach in the NHL he needs to take some steps to show he is serious about it. Gretzky should have taken those same steps but instead took his appointment to be Coach and didn’t fare well.

          I hope Patrick does try Pro hockey, but he needs to start in the AHL or at least take Asst. Coach in NHL job first.

          Sorry, i probably overreacted. Gotta run have slopitch playoff game tonight, all the best Christopher.

          • Habitant in Surrey says:

            …comparing Gretzky with Roy, as far as coaching experience before coaching in the NHL is like apples and bananas Gerald
            …anyhow, enjoy Your game, and hit a homa’ for Me 🙂

    • punkster says:

      The perfect example of what HI/O does best:

      ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  31. JF says:

    I’m almost certainly in a minority, but I think that, given the options available, Michel Therrien was the best choice as coach. He has an excellent record in junior hockey and did good work with Pittsburgh’s AHL club. He took the Penguins to the Stanley Cup Final. It’s true that he was fired the following year while his successor went on to win the Cup; but an argument can be made that it was Therrien who did the ground work with that team. Also, the team was without Sergei Gonchar until just before Therrien was fired; and after he was fired, important changes were made, including trading for Chris Kunitz.

    Most Habs fans have a hard time forgiving Therrien for the loss of self-control in his first stint as coach that resulted in the Habs losing their playoff series to Carolina. If he had not blown a fuse behind the bench, that very mediocre Habs team would almost certainly have reached the Conference Final, perhaps the Cup Final. This suggests that Therrien is actually a very good coach. He’s had time in ten years to learn better self-control.

    Maxim Talbot said that when Therrien took over in Pittsburgh, he was exactly what the Penguins needed. He dramatically improved their work ethic and turned them from a soft team into a much tougher team that was hard to play against.

    • Dave Stubbs says:

      Therrien very specifically addresses the Carolina penalty in the longer feature that’s on the way. And there’s plenty about work ethic, commitment and conditioning, earning ice time, etc.

      Dave Stubbs

      Hockey Inside/Out
      Sports Columnist/Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette
      • On Twitter: @Dave_Stubbs
      • Email: dstubbs@montrealgazette.com

      • shootdapuck says:

        Overdue Dave!

        The Carolina blow-up just happened to be on national TV so most are familiar with it especially the players!

        The cerebral insight of PJ Stock:

        “Le problem est Markov n’a pas jouer un seul game cette annee”
        “Louis Leblanc est un kid locale”
        ” I have a pet peeve”

  32. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …I gave Geoff Molson an ‘A’…for having His heart in the right place, …the investments adding to the GMs office, coaching, player development and scouting has been considerable

    …it will be on the ice before We can decide whether We can allot an ‘A’ for Geoff’s ‘brains’, or not

    …just like UCe below, I felt Patrick Roy was the ‘opportunity’ to replace Our Habs’ Royal Jelly’

    …it was MB’s call to hire Therrien, but I liked Molson’s decision to hire Bergevin

    …so, for now, I’m going to sit back like the ‘good’ Habs’ Fan I am, and let things play-out on the ice …before goin’ postal 🙂

  33. Timo says:

    Apparently 0 votes equals to -1%.

  34. calvee123 says:

    I just hope they hurry up and sign Subban. Look at some of the other teams, they are signing up their young stars. Montreal is missing the boat if they don’t get him signed long term.

  35. Timo says:

    Man oh man… how do I hate the fact that Therrien is the Habs’ coach. Seeing his mug is almost as bad as seeing a Bruin’s player picture.

  36. shiram says:

    As for the poll, wasn’t it Bergevin who chose Therrien?

  37. Rad says:

    Success starts at the top, and I think the Habs are on their way. We finally have great management. Just need two or three key pieces to step up and deliver on the ice.

  38. Un Canadien errant says:

    One thing we can say about Mr. Therrien is that he’s consistent on this issue. This quote:

    “The easiest thing to do in hockey is get rid of players. The toughest thing is to work with them. That’s the challenge. When you’re a scout, you learn it doesn’t mean the other players are better than what you have, so you have to work with the guys you’ve got.”

    is one he’d use frequently when on the panel at L’Antichambre, when Michel Bergeron or Mario Tremblay would get mad and rail at Yannick Weber or Aaron Palushaj. He’d get them to calm down and remind them they were young players who still needed a lot of coaching and development. In this way he seems to be properly prepared and in the right mindset to head the Canadiens in the next couple of seasons.

    This isn’t “Billionaires vs. Millionaires.” Only a willfully uninformed fool would apply that sloppy shorthand designation to this disgraceful power grab crafted by some of the wealthiest individuals and corporate entities in North America aimed against professional athletes.–Larry Brooks of the New York Post


    • frontenac1 says:

      Agreed UCE. He always seemed to be the rational one on AC . Bonne Chance Mike!

    • Habitant in Surrey says:

      …that quote was very encouraging

    • neumann103 says:


      What was the story on his comments on Lars Eller on Antichambre?

      I was not a fan of the Therrien hire but I figured with all the other change Bergevin felt he needed someone who had NHLhead coaching experience. But in the days after the hire I read people saying that Therrien had been repeatedly negative about Eller, to the point where posters said if they did something to clear the logjam at center, MT would push to move Eller.

      My French is not really good enough to follow through all the bon gars joual schtick of the Antichambre, so I rarely watch more than a few minutes after a game, so I really have no sense of any regular panelist agendas.

      But if someone were singling out Eller as one of the kids who was not worth working on and investing in I would have to question if he knew anything at all.

      “Et le but!”

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        It’s way past my bedtime, so I’ll be brief.

        (And the crowd starts cheering wildly…)

        I don’t remember specifics like that. I know that Michel Bergeron can be pretty insightful into the goings-on inside a dressing room, and the relationship between a GM and Head Coach, but he can also get on his hobby-horse and not want to get off. He’d rag on Scott Gomez, and who can blame him, as well on the folly of allowing Tomas Kaberle, a defenceman, to play with such a short stick. He’d also state that if he was coach he’d bring P.K. Subban back in line, he wouldn’t leave the job to his assistant, as Randy Cunneyworth was content to do with Randy Ladouceur.

        When Bergie, most often, or someone else would go on a rant, Michel Therrien might have chuckled along and may have agreed with their view in a way, but he’d temper them and remind them that players don’t grow on trees, you don’t get rid of young players out of frustration or out of spite.

        As far as Lars, if there’s anything I can vaguely remember, it’s that some on the panel were not convinced he’d ever develop into an offensive or frontline centreman. I don’t remember Michel Therrien taking a position on this. Not saying it didn’t happen, just that it’s not something I caught on to.

  39. AceMagnum says:

    Hurry up and get fired…



  40. Un Canadien errant says:

    I wasn’t excited about the Michel Therrien hire back then, and I’m still ambivalent at best about it.

    I still wish we’d hired Patrick Roy. There would be a whole other level of excitement heading into training camp, lockout be damned. Patrick would be a fresh new face with bold ideas and a big personality, he’d be a pleasant change from the dour persons we’ve had behind the bench lately.

    I’ll give Michel Therrien a bit of a leash, not just enough rope to hang himself, but I’ll be tempted to criticize at the first couple of rough patches.

    • shiram says:

      I don’t like Therrien as head coach but I was not too fond of Roy as HC either. The reasons you give to like Roy are correct, but would not necessarly translate to better on ice results.

      • accp says:

        Before people go around judging someone see what they can do first. How does anyone on here know if Roy would be a Good Coach or a bad Coach until they see him coach the Habs. judging him from junior hockey. not very smart. if I had my way he’d be behind the Habs bench. if he’s good he stays. if he’s no good. he’s gone. that’s what they do with coaches anyway. hire them and fire them. so what’s the big deal. Therrien had his chance and as far as I’m concern. that would have been his only chance. personally I don’t think MB likes Roy. Just my opinion …

    • Cal says:

      I’m glad the me first hothead is on AC this year instead of coaching the Habs. I don’t care for the choice of MT either, but it’s done. MT has 2 years or more of being Habs coach (the lockout may go the distance).
      There is nothing in Roy’s record to show he has “bold ideas” and his face ain’t that fresh. That big personality is there for sure, though. I’m amazed he can walk through doorways with a head that big.

  41. Bripro says:

    Pulled a fast one on me Dave.
    I thought I was scooping through Twitter to post for my fellow intellectuals on HIO, but your tweet led me to this new thread.
    Oooo fancy.

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