Michel Therrien will return to coach Montreal next season: Report

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Greg Wyshynski
Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien signals from the bench behind players Dale Weise, left, Tomas Plekanec, center, and Brendan Gallagher, right, during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Maybe the exit signs in the foxhole aren’t all that well lit. 

Maybe the options are so limited due to expectations and cultural requirements that there’s no clear line of succession.

Maybe that three-year “mega extension” Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin used to double-down on his now-embattled head coach Michel Therrien tethers them together, to the point where Bergevin tumbles over the edge of the cliff with him if Therrien is dumped. 

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Or maybe the Habs are just screwed.

Whatever the case, Renaud Lavoie of TVA reports that Therrien will return to coach the Canadiens next season.

Bergevin already stated that Therrien was safe for the rest of this squandered season, one in which reigning Hart and Vezina winner Carey Price has been limited to 12 games and sparkplug Brendan Gallagher was out of the lineup for 17 crucial games.

Price’s injury has apparently handed Therrien a do-over. There’s some merit to that: The Canadiens’ confidence was leeched away by the injury, overcompensating for average-at-best replacement goaltending and failing to play with the same offensive reckless abandon as they did earlier in the season. (Their goals-per-game through Nov. 30 was 3.48; after that, over 44 games, it was 2.15.) While their tumble down the standings isn't all on Price, his injury ripped the heart of this team. 

And so the final months of this season will serve as an evaluation for Bergevin. Therrien remains in the foxhole, but perhaps some of the players who failed to show leadership through trying times are shoved out. That’s at least what Lavoie seems to indicate.

The problem with all of this is that it essentially delays the inevitable. Therrien is going to be fired next season because his tactics are tired, his system doesn’t maximize the potential of his roster and because, frankly, he’s the guy you fire before you hire the guy that leads you to victory. Ask Dan Bylsma.

From Brendan Kelly of The Gazette:

Look, I know we have some great young players, starting with two potential superstars in P.K. Subban and Alex Galchenyuk. The trouble is that our coach isn’t good with budding superstars. Look how he threw P.K. under the bus a few weeks back. Look how he’s still grumbling about Galchenyuk, who’s turned into a scoring machine. As recently as this past weekend, he was still insisting that Chucky simply wasn’t ready before now to centre the first line.

Like I said, jury’s in. He’s a bad coach. The most storied franchise in hockey history is collapsing and meanwhile the team was happily staging its first live Facebook event Monday, running live footage from the team’s practice. Tens of thousands of the Habs’ closest social-media friends had taken a look at this but many used the forum to express their dismay at the tattered state of “their” team and many of the naysayers were suggesting that Therrien’s past-due-date is…..well past due.

Maybe Bergevin believes his friend hasn’t hit that expiration date. And maybe this decision to bring Therrien back, after two votes of confidence already this season, will be strike three for the entire management group. 

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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