On February 7th 2017, the Boston Bruins fired the longest serving head coach in the NHL, Claude Julien. This decision from the Bruins organization was seen as a lack of good timing and judgment, as they fired the 2011 Stanley Cup winning head coach on the same day the New England Patriots were celebrating their amazing comeback and Super Bowl championship. Way to go Cam Neely!
Exactly one week later, the Montreal Canadians, going through their worst slump of the season, decide to take advantage of the situation and fire Michel Therrien to hire their rival’s ex-coach, Claude Julien. The coach of the Washington Capitals, Barry Trotz, joked that it would take five minutes for Julien to find a job; it surprisingly only took seven days. Not to shabby for Julien.
Amazingly enough, this is a déjà-vu for the Habs organization. The last time they fired Michel Therrien in 2003, his successor was none other than Claude Julien. This is the second time it happens, and quite ironically, it was on Valentine’s Day. Talk about showing the love and then dumping your coach to get back with your ex. This is rough, but you must remember, hockey is a business, and sadly, this is how it works sometimes.
Now, the Canadians started the season stupendously, with a 13-1-1 record, tying the club history for most consecutive victories on home ice, at the start of the season. Everything was going great, and most fans began to believe that this was finally going to be Montreal’s year. And then it all went down hill.
They got obliterated by the hottest team in the league, the Columbus Blue Jackets by 10-0. Carey Price got taken out by Kyle Palmieri; Alex Galchenyuk, Andrei Markov and Brendan Gallagher all got injured; and finally, Carey Price stared down the bench against San Jose, when getting pulled for the first time since 2013. Let’s not forget the effect of the Subban trade, as it was very clear that Michel Therrien had no problem trading the Canadians best player of last season.
It is a long campaign, and despite having a huge advantage when it came to points, that gap is slowly closing and Ottawa, as well as Boston and Toronto, can all overtake Montreal. There’s no way that this looked good for Therrien, as there has been a serious decline in play. Just as Carey Price said: “We have lost our team identity.” After publicly stating this, it was pretty clear to the general manager, Marc Bergevin, that this team needs a new voice, a fresh start, a new identity; and this is exactly what Claude Julien brings.
Julien has been known for coaching great hockey teams. He focuses on playing with pride, playing for your teammates, your coach, your organization, your fan base and most important of all, the logo on the jersey. In the eyes of Marc Bergervin, Julien is a “superstar” coach, one of the league’s best, and honestly, I cannot say I don’t agree with that statement.
Julien is man with experience, and a coach that every team would want to have because he is just that great. I mean, seven days; all it took was seven days for him to find another job. Michel Therrien, on the other hand, something tells me he won’t be coaching in the NHL anytime soon or even ever again, as he has proven that he cannot win the major games, although he has the best goalie in the league, one of the best defenseman’s and one of the best shooters and goal scorers out there. It was a nice five year run for Therrien, but I think we can all agree that this day was coming, and it was time for a new face. The Canadians were very lucky to pounce on a classy and well experienced man like Claude Julien.
Written by: Brandon Brini