A Puppet in Place …

“Yes sir … I will be good. Yes sir – I will do what you say …!”

If these were not the words that sealed Michel Therrien’s fate as the new / old coach of ‘Les Habitants of former greatness’, then fasten some seat belts Habs fans – it’s gonna be a heck of a four month ride from the start of training camp.

Michel Therrien is not a bad coach. He is nowhere near the calibre of Mario Tremblay in this respect. In fact, on several occasions, Therrien appeared like Scotty Bowman’s long lost French relative on episodes of L’Anti Chambre as opposed to Tremblay’s rah rah ROY rants.

This is the conundrum the Habs, the Hab faithful and all the tiny Hablettes scattered around the Hab universe find themselves with. Michel Therrien is; his own worse enemy.

Hmmm … Sounds very much the same reason some of the hockey minds were opposed to Patrick Roy? Yes but the difference between the two is larger than a young boy’s eyes upon seeing a scantily clad woman holding a Wayne Gretzky rookie card.

Patrick Roy has respect. Therrien does not.

Hockey players are fans of Joan Rivers. They heed her advice to ‘talk amongst themselves’ every chance they get. It is not the old days when a guy like Gordie Howe never spoke to a guy like Maurice Richard. Even if Twitter was available in the fifties; it’s hard to imagine two men with so much loyalty speaking or Facebooking one another on how to make great scrambled eggs.

In this, the modern apocalyptic Bettman daze – players not only speak to one another, by the very nature of the beast created by Bettman; they play on the same team every six months or so it appears.

“Hey …!” Says Carey Price to John Leclair at a Habs alumni dinner. “What’s this guy Therrien like as a coach?”

Leclair, who played for Therrien’s Pens during the 2005 – 2006 season, thinks and says …”Fundamentally he is sound. Everything is ok until the pressure mounts. Then, Therrien makes these wacko decisions which leave everyone confused.”

“I see.” Says Price with concern on his brow. ” What about Roy, would he have been a better choice?”

Leclair thinks for a moment and replies; ” Well Carey, I have no idea what type of coach Patrick is. One thing is certain, the guy hates to lose and when some guys panic – that is the time Roy channels his emotion to winning at all costs!”

The Bergevin Holding Company

Marc Bergevin never won a Stanley Cup by himself. Let alone two of them. Bergevin’s successes have been by committee. Once his playing days were through, Bergevin drank from the Stanley Cup as a cog in a wheel. This is the recipe which Bergevin knows …

This is the recipe Bergevin is attempting in Montreal with the Canadiens. The difference? Chicago had Dale Tallon, Montreal has Dale Tallon’s prodigy. The Black Hawks were obscure in the press. The Habs are the press.

Therrien as a coach has matured since the days in Montreal and Pittsburgh. As a television analyst on RDS he is very composed compared to some of his co – workers. It is relatively simple to be composed as the one guy ( aside from Michel Bergeron ) on the panel with the most experience as a coach. It’s easy to be composed in front of a camera man who smokes Gitanes.

The question remains; in front of 21,000 spectators at Le Centre Bell with a minute left and down a goal – will Therrien leave Cole on the bench and insert Ryan White on a hunch? Will Therrien’s emotions overide his brain? This is what troubles the average bear and the average fan.

Bergevin, Dudley, Mellanby, Carriere and the little Canadiens’ fan who lives down La Gauchetiere lane are the ones in charge. This committee needed a French dude to coach.

Carbonneau is too fiery for their tastes. Carbonneau would not listen to his good pal Gainey – why would he listen to guys he played and scored against?

Patrick Roy needs do his John McEnroe impersonation almost daily. Roy as a goalie and Roy – as a person, are perfectionists. If things do not go his way and the proper way; the puck hits the fan. If the puck hits Bergevin, Dudley, Mellanby and Carriere – too much effort for Roy to run around with his apologies.

Michel Therrien wants to coach in the NHL – badly. Luckily for the Montreal native, the Canadiens badly require a French speaking coach.

Is that right Michel?

“Oui Monsieur, – je veut faire comme tu veut …!”

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  1. philippe ouimet

     /  June 6, 2012

    I suddenly got cold feet with Bergevin’s appointment of Michel Therrien. I guess Dudley, Mellanby and Bergevin know something we don’t know….. got my fingers crossed on this one!!!!!


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