Whenever you see a team hand out a four-year contract extension to a head coach and that head coach isn’t Mike Babcock, the natural reaction is, “How many of those years will the team be on the hook for after he’s fired?”
So it is with Michel Therrien getting a four-year contract extension with the Montreal Canadiens, as the team announced on Saturday. It kicks in for the 2015-16 season and runs through the 2018-19 season, when, in theory, Therrien will have coached the Canadiens for seven seasons, including his first two and next season.
If you’re curious: The longest Michel Therrien’s coached one team is four seasons, not coincidentally the first four seasons of Sidney Crosby’s career in Pittsburgh.
And the last coach to last seven seasons with the Canadiens was Scotty Bowman.
Just an FYI.
“We're very happy to have agreed to a contract extension with Michel Therrien for multiple seasons. Michel is an accomplished and experienced coach who has instilled a culture of hard work in our organization while helping develop our young players. Michel and his coaching staff work in a unique and demanding hockey market and the team's success over the last two seasons are a reflection of their excellent work. This decision reflects our desire for stability and consistency within our hockey operations department”, said Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin.
Once more, with feeling: “… work in a unique and demanding hockey market.”
In other words, “We better hang onto this one because where else are we going to find a bilingual coach with his pedigree? Wait until Vigneault gets fired in New York to hire him again?”
It’s not like Therrien didn’t deserve something for the effort. He’s made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and lost in the conference finals this postseason. Montreal’s got a good thing going on, and how much you want to credit Therrien with that success is probably directly related to how you feel about Michel Therrien.
However, next to goalies, locking in your coach to a long-term deal is one of hockey's greatest catalysts for regret.
But rest easy, Canadiens fans: Your coach is signed through 2019.
Your Norris Trophy winning defenseman? Yeah, he’s an RFA. But at least the coach is taken care of.