Category Archives: Michel Therrien

Hockey Morning In Brossard

Luci and I went to the Habs practice this morning at the Sports Complex in Brossard, and I have to say, do I ever love doing this. Luci does too.

Grab a chair, sit behind glass in the open area with coffee in hand, and watch the boys go through various drills in an organized and business-like manner.

Stephane Waite had about eight players working on Carey Price from different angles and Price was up and down and didn’t seemed to be labouring with his knee.

Buday and Tokarski manned the other end with the rest of the guys.

Thomas Vanek was on a line with Max and Desharnais. The EGG line was together. Briere skated with Plekanec and Gionta. Prust, Weise, and Moen were together, and depending on the drill, it was various combinations involving White, Bourque, Parros and Michael Bournival.

And although it was cool to see everyone out there doing their thing, I found myself watching Bournival often. This is a kid with good size, is a beautiful skater, and has a great wrist shot.

My feeling is, Bournival (who was drafted in 2010 by Colorado and traded to the Canadiens later that year for Ryan O’Byrne) has a long and fruitful career ahead of him and the Canadiens landed a beauty when they got him.

Yes indeed, taking in a Habs practice.

A great way top spend an hour and a half. It’s nice that the public can do this and it’s all very comfortable.

Like a kid, I’m wide-eyed when I see the guys firing pucks and skating like the wind close up in practice. I guess I’m never going to truly grow up.

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The Night MT Blew His Team’s Chances

Michel Therrien, as you know, coached the Canadiens once before, from 2000-01, when he replaced Alain Vigneault after 20 games, to part way through the 2002-03 season when he was fired and the team brought in Claude Julien.

That first season under Therrien saw the Canadiens miss the playoffs after going 23-27-13 under him.

The third season saw him fired after a dismal stretch that saw the Canadiens lose ten of twelve games.

But it was the middle year of Therrien’s reign, 2001-02, and in particular the second round of the playoffs, that became the saddest state of affairs.

The team, with a tremendously hot Jose Theodore in nets and a heroic Saku Koivu, who had returned to the team just prior to the post season after his fight with cancer, had upset the favoured Bruins in the first round and met the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.

Montreal would jump into a 2-1 series lead against the Hurricanes, and were leading 3-0 in the third period of game four when Therrien decided to yell at referee Kerry Fraser when the Habs were already a man short.

Fraser gave Therrien a bench minor for being mouthy, and it was downhill from there.

The Hurricanes scored on the 5 on 3, rallied and won 4-3 in overtime, and then clobbered the Canadiens 5-1 and 8-2 to eliminate Therrien and his deflated players.

Carolina would eventually lose in five games to Detroit in the Stanley Cup Finals after taking out the Maple Leafs in six games in the Eastern Final.

It could’ve been Montreal taking out the Leafs if it wasn’t for Therrien.

It could’ve been Montreal in the finals against Detroit, and although they would’ve been in tough against a team that boasted the likes of Shanahan, Fedorov, Hull, Yzerman, Lidstrom, Robitaille and the rest, at least they would’ve been in the finals, something that hasn’t happened since 1993 when they won it all.

But Therrien screwed it up.

Here’s Kerry Fraser’s explanation of the Therrien bench minor, from a 2011 TSN story.

“The bench penalty that put Montreal down two men was a turning point in the series for sure. The Habs were cruising along at the midway point of the third period and Therrien was feeling pretty good about himself and their chances, all decked out in his bright yellow sports coat. (I mention this because you couldn’t miss him behind the bench.)

“As the Carolina Hurricanes attacked the Montreal goal, Habs defenseman Stephane Quintal  delivered a heavy cross-check to the back of the upper shoulder/neck of a Cane with such force that it knocked the player clear into the back of the net. I was the trailing referee and called it from an open sightline at the blue line. It was an obvious infraction and Quintal went right to the penalty box.

“I was standing at the referee crease, about 90 feet as the crow flies from the Canadiens bench, assessing the penalty when I heard Coach Therrien screaming at me. I turned to see Therrien standing on top of the boards, like a big yellow bumble bee buzzing his wings up and down and hollering, “Kerry, what the *&^%$?”  At this point I really didn’t want to assess a bench penalty to put his team down two men so I thought I would give him a second chance. I pointed to my chest and mouthed the words, “Are you talking to me?”  Therrien nodded his head and shouted for the second time, “Yeah, what the &^%$?” I guess he wanted to make sure I got the point, even on the second attempt.”

 

 

Practice Makes Perfect

While you were helping keep things going by working hard, Luci and I were at the Brossard barn to watch the Habs work out on the field and then on the ice.

Not once did Michel Therrien or Gerard Gallant call me down and ask for advice.

Why would that be?

Anyway, everyone seemed loose and in a good mood and I suppose that’s good.

Practice Notes:

Max wasn’t there.

Price likes to bug teammates by flipping pucks at them.

The lady at the coffee counter is quite attractive.

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Moving On, Sort Of

Not all that thrilled with Michel Therrien right now, not that it matters I guess. Of course he could care less what me or anyone else thinks, aside from Marc Bergevin.

The Canadiens played like a frightened, hesitant, overwhelmed team against Philadelphia, and the one time one of them showed some fire and passion, PK Subban, who took a penalty for smacking a guy, the coach sat him on the bench for parts of the third period as punishment.

The one guy who was was actually awake and who may have helped in any sort of comeback attempt. Guys can sleepwalk, not score for fifteen games, and play like they’re hungover, but when PK shows some fire, not long after being named to the Olympic squad which means he’s one of the best of the best, he’s punished like a kid in school.

And Danno brought up a good point about Therrien not pulling Budaj for an extra attacker in the last minute. Therrien said he saw no reason, because the boys weren’t in it anyway. What kind of reasoning is that?

Mike also suggests that maybe those who thought it was wrong to bring in a coach who’d been canned once before by the team might be right after all.

Anyway, moving on. It can’t be healthy to stew for so long like this.

From the CJAD website – a backyard rink in St-Lazare, near Montreal.

rink 1

rink 2

rink 3

rink 4

 

 

 

Friday’s Washington Game

Couldn’t see all of the Friday night Habs-Washington tilt, I’m in Ottawa at a family reunion,, and all I know from glancing back and forth from time to time was that Alex Galchenyuk looked good playing on the right side with Morenz at centre and Joliat on left wing.

I also thought the pairing of P.K. Subban and Doug Harvey on the blueline was a good fit, especially on the power play when Harvey outsmarted three Capitals, sent it over, and PK blasted one home.

Max Pacioretty, playing on a line with Jean Beliveau and Maurice Richard, dinged more than one biscuit off the post and apparently enjoyed a fine night all round. Playing with Le Gros Bill and Rocket seems to really agree with Patches, and I hope Toe Therrien keeps them together.

I also hope Toe sticks with the Lach, Bournival, and Lafleur line as well. I see good chemistry there. And anytime now I’m expecting the Steve Shutt, Lars Eller, and Brendan Gallagher triumvirate to finally break out of the doldrums.

The problem is, neither Peter Budaj in the first two periods and Jacques Plante, who replaced Budaj in the third, could handle Alex Ovechkin, who had the two netminders’ numbers in a big way. And it certainly didn’t help when John Ferguson was sent to the box for goalie mugging and shortly after, Brandon Prust for tripping, and it was left to Claude Provost and Tomas Plekanec to kill unnecessary and ill-timed penalties.

Although I must admit, I enjoyed seeing Sprague Cleghorn coldcock the obnoxious Mikhail Grabovski, even though it put us behind the eight-ball once again.

The team really has to get it together. Bobby Orr and the big, bad Bruins are well ahead in first place, and Tampa Bay continues to play well. And if Phil Kessel and Dave Keon continue their torrid goal scoring pace, Toronto’s going to be tough.

Habs get it done/not done in Washington Friday night. And they’ll have their hands full when the Penguins come to town on Saturday.

It’ll be nice when Cournoyer finally gets back.

The Mayor’s Mouth

“I will be the mayor of all Montrealers,” said Denis Coderre said last Sunday when he was elected top dog of the city.

All Montrealers except David Desharnais.

“Allo? Un billet simple pour Hamilton pour David Desharnais svp… Hello? Can we get a one-way ticket to Hamilton for David Desharnais please…” tweeted Coderre during Sunday’s game.

I agree with players such as Max Pacioretty and Josh Gorges, and coach Mike Therrien also. This sort of thing isn’t going to help Desharnais. It’s kicking him when he’s down, by the new mayor of Montreal.

It’s one thing for fans to moan about DD’s lack of production in online chats. It’s the same as talking sports in a bar. And fans should complain about one lousy assist in seventeen games. But when the mayor says something like this, it hits the airwaves. It’s everywhere. Kind of a kick in the gonads.

I wonder how Rob Ford would handle the DD situation.

Desharnais must feel like a piece of shit. His family too.

Coderre says he’ll be the mayor of all Montrealers. Everyone except DD.

Kids Inspire In Habs Win

It was one of those nights to smile. Not only because the Canadiens ended their four game slump by beating the New York Islanders 4-2, but also the way the kids, the EGG line, created and dazzled and were rewarded with eight points on the night.

Alex Galchenyuk, chosen first star, nailed down a goal and two assists. Brendan Gallagher, chosen as second star, added a goal and an assist. And the centre on this line, Lars Eller, contributed a goal and an assist and was given third star.

Leave it to the kids to inspire and bring the team back to life, out of the doldrums, and stop the bleeding that was beginning to flow instead of trickle. When these three are clicking, it can be poetry in motion. The way they work, pass, shoot, finish, it makes my heart soar like Timothy Leary’s mind in 1967.

Just imagine what we have to look forward to as they mature and gain experience.

Tonight was a feel-good story for a change. A big win, led by the youngsters. Love the feel-good stories.

Brendan Gallagher opened the scoring in the second period, but the Islanders tied it soon after with Francis Bouillon in the box for holding. But two Habs power play markers, one by Lars Eller and another by Michael Bournival, and it was 3-1 after two.

In the third period, New York edged closer with a power play goal, but the Canadiens iced it with a lovely Gallagher to Eller to Galchenyuk display, and folks at the Bell went home happy and Michel Therrien went home with his 250th NHL win.

Random Notes:

Tomas Plekanec was sent to the box in the second period for face-off violation. Maybe it was explained on RDS and I just don’t understand French well enough, but I didn’t get it. It seemed to me that Pleks stepped on a stick and went down. And as far as face-off violation goes, I thought it only meant players cheating in the circle and such. I’m hoping someone will clear this up for me. I’m not afraid to admit this is something new to me.

Travis Moen left in the second period, apparently with a virus. Maybe he has to cook his hamburgers a little longer.

PK Subban was motoring all evening and playing like we know and love.

Shots on goal – Montreal 31, Isles 26.

Love these 6 pm games. Not too early, not too late.

Next up – Thursday when the Lightning come to town. Hopefully the kids and their inspirational play will set things in motion and the Canadiens come out breathing fire.

Alexei Emelin might finally be back in action on Tuesday. Here’s hoping.

 

 

Therrien Likes Things Drab

Geez, I hope this doesn’t hurt my stick boy chances.

What do I think about the seemingly never-ending P.K. Subban/Michel Therrien saga?

I personally believe PK drives Therrien crazy, only because Therrien is an idiot who believes PK should be harnessed and talks too much and doesn’t deserve more ice time or playing for Team Canada in the Olympics because Therrien never really grew out of his grade eight mentally or understanding that some people just have high-level personalities. Unlike him.

It’s a personality conflict that would make this coach dislike PK even if he was nothing more than his next door neighbour.

Therrien might also feel he’s getting into Marc Bergevin’s good books by not showcasing him and possibly keeping PK’s bucks from being sky-high when it’s time for a brand new contract. Kind of a brown-nosing, self-serving approach.

Why does the entire hockey world wonder what Therrien’s doing with this young stud? Because like I said, there’s a strong chance the guy’s an idiot.

And what was so wrong with PK and Price’s triple low-five?

“I always like teams who are humble” Therrien said back then when he banned the triple low-five. “It’s a team concept. It starts with that. In life, I think you have to be humble. And we have to respect the game. We have to respect the other team. And we have to respect our fans.”

PK’s personality almost certainly rubs this guy the wrong way. Something will have to give soon.

Random Notes:

My co-worker Gilles Gratton, who played goal in both the NHL and WHA, said the Canadiens wouldn’t have scored on Jaroslav Halak the other night in the shootout even if every player on the team took a turn. Halak didn’t move, the skaters waited for him to do just that, and they ultimately were confused when he stood his ground. Whereas, says Gilles, Carey Price is a slow goalie, his reflexes aren’t overly quick, he can’t react in shootouts, and if he was smaller, he wouldn’t even be in the NHL.

Habs Visit That Patrick Fellow

Habs vs. Patrick Roy and his Colorado Avalanche in what should be a great night if Montreal can beat those Denver dudes.

I’m hoping Patrick gets so upset he loses his mind, jumps on the ice, and reinforces the widely-held fact that there’s a serious streak of craziness in him. He’s a loose cannon, but I still hear on talk radio and such that down the road Patrick will be behind the Canadiens’ bench.

I hope he never is, although a lot of people feel differently and my opinion isn’t overly popular with some. I’m just not a big fan of the guy. And he’ll probably be on his best behaviour tonight because I’m sure he’d love to coach the Habs in the near future.

I wonder if Michel Therrien feels that too.

I bought Patrick’s 12″ figurine when it was in Walmart several years, and I paid almost $30. Now I see that it’s in the $250 range. This I like about Patrick.

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Habs Blank Jets

Suddenly the Canadiens see themselves with a tidy three-game winning streak after shutting out the Jets 3-0 in Winnipeg, thus making the Western swing a big success with three wins in four games. Curse those Flames.

Carey Price was solid as the Rock of Gibraltor, David Desharnais enjoyed his finest game of the six played so far, and Daniel Briere shook the monkey off his back thanks to Michel Therrien, who had him out with the Jets’ net empty, and Briere didn’t miss.

Imagine if he would have?

But all this good stuff came with a price. Max Pacioretty did the splits that would make Baryshnikov envious, but unfortunately it also looked painfully serious and he could be gone for awhile. Maybe it just looked bad. We wait to hear.

Max hasn’t been the luckiest. He’s had a rash of things happen to him, from a Chara mugging to an emergency appendectomy to a Grabovski hand-biting, but he always comes back sooner than expected and hopefully he’ll continue this habit. Get well soon, Max.

The Habs were too much for the Jets in the first two periods and held on in the third, but Carey Price simply stopped everything as the boys were outshot 36-25, and how great it is to see our backstopper playing like he did tonight and in Vancouver. It’s a confidence booster for him, his 22 teammates, and 10 million Habs fans.

David Desharnais played like it was two years ago and was dangerous and handled the puck brilliantly all night. Of course there was that one time that he cruised in front of the Jets’ net with the puck and held onto it for about an hour before eventually losing it. It would have been such a thing of beauty had he converted.

But he didn’t and it continues to be a work in process. But maybe he’s on the right track.

Brandon Prust opened the scoring in the first, P.K. blasted home another bullet, and Briere hit his target in third.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Except for the Max part.

Random Notes:

Rene Bourque and Tomas Plekanec. It’s time, don’t you think?

Next up – back home to the Bell for a Thursday night clash with Columbus. Four straight would be nice.