Right off the top may it be said that, despite unrelenting pressure from Montreal’s social media, I don’t believe that Michel Therrien is in danger of losing his job. At least not right now.
Maybe Guy Boucher was aware of that when he decided on Sunday to accept the head coaching job with SC Bern of the Swiss National League. He is signed to the spring of 2016. There are usually out-clauses in these contracts if an NHL coaching offer comes along but the fact that he’s headed overseas while his four year Tampa Bay Lightning contract is still being paid off says a lot about current interest in his services on this side of the Atlantic.
Fans and some portions of the media seem to think Boucher is the logical candidate to succeed Therrien if the Canadiens were to drop the hammer forgetting how badly he screwed up the Tampa Bay Lightning over his two-plus seasons there. Actually he’s the only logical candidate that fits the stated Canadiens policy of francophone-only, unless somebody is under the delusion that Hamilton coach Sylvain Lefebvre is ready to assume the job.
In my opinion Boucher is a really smart young guy who had tremendous success in junior hockey and then with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Boucher’s problem seemed to be believing his press clippings which portrayed him as some sort of visionary who was going to change the game and the way is currently being played. Whatever he was trying to sell to the Lightning didn’t go over and he was gone. And his phone hasn’t been ringing since. A stint in Europe might be just the thing to re-boot his career as it did with Bob Hartley.
I’m reminded of Therrien’s first go-round with the Canadiens which also turned out a disaster. He learned from it and he’s a more patient, less emotional individual behind the bench than he was. Some would argue, a different coach but not a better one. The jury remains out on that.
As for Boucher; He becomes Bern’s third head coach this season. They started the season with Finland’s Antti Törmänen who was replaced by Lars Leuenberger in November. Leuenberger will remain with the tream as Boucher’s assistant.
…….Meanwhile the Canadiens were back on the practice ice Monday, preparing for their Bell Centre game against Carolina Tuesday. Nothing revolutionary to report. P.K. Subban will return to playing with Josh Gorges and Alexei Emelin rejoins Andrei Markov on the top two defense parings. It looks like Douglas Murray will play alongside Nathan Beaulieu with Bouillon and Diaz healthy scratches again. Up front, Briere remains a centre between Rene Bourque and Brandon Prust and Eller on the left side of the Plekanec line. Louis Leblanc has a cold or flu symptoms and missed practice. Carey Price will be in goal against Carolina.