Therrien, of course, served as the head coach of the Habs from 2000 to 2003. He was hired by new Montreal GM Marc Bergevin and is now the sixth man to be given a second shot behind the bench of the storied franchise.
“My intention is to bring back intensity, pride and discipline,” Therrien said. “To the fans, when they come back to the Bell Centre, they’re going to cheer for a team that works really hard.”
Among early favourites rumoured to be up for the coaching position in Montreal were Patrick Roy and Bob Hartley. Hartley went on to sign as the head coach for the Calgary Flames, while Roy will remain heavily involved with the Quebec Remparts.
In taking over from interim bench boss Randy Cunneyworth, Therrien has his hands full with a club that is trying to get a foothold in the league again. The fans have been burned before and are viewing the Therrien hire with a lot of apprehension, so he’ll have his work cut out for him. Therrien will get to decide if the wants to keep Cunneyworth on as an assistant coach.
Therrien has an extensive history with the Montreal Canadiens. He served as head coach of its AHL affiliates in Quebec City and Fredericton before becoming the head coach, replacing Alain Vigneault in the post in November of 2000. In his tenure with the Habs, Therrien went 77-77-14. In June of 2003, he was fired and Claude Julien was hired.
From there, Therrien made his way to the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. He coached the affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before joining the Penguins as their head coach for two consecutive seasons where the club notched over 100 points in the regular season. He also coached the Penguins to their first Stanley Cup Final berth since 1991-1992.
Bergevin, for his part, is confident in his first major call as the general manager of the Habs. “It was my decision at the end of the day,” Bergevin said. “I’ve been through the same process last year in Chicago, at the minor league level…I like to ask people questions and make a lot of phone calls. I like to keep my assistants with me, they gave their input, but in the end it was my decision.”