Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Price of Getting Shellacked

Michel Therrien has done many dumb things in his NHL coaching career. Questionable overuse of mediocre players like David Desharnais, a failure to make tactical adjustments other than rearranging his line combinations and over-reliance on slowing veterans are chief among them. None of those obvious shortcomings have imperiled his position with his boss, Marc Bergevin.

In another city, with another GM (see Pittsburgh, 2009), Therrien likely would have been replaced after a season like last year's. In Montreal, under Bergevin, however, Therrien has the enviable safety net of the best goalie in the world saving the team from disaster on a regular basis, and thereby glossing over the coach's failures. It's fair to say, based on the Habs record with and without him, Price is Therrien's ticket to job security.

During the 10-0 dismantling of the Habs by the Columbus Blue Jackets, though, Therrien might have finally made a fatal error. Leaving Al Montoya in net for all ten Jackets goals humiliated the veteran goalie who obviously wasn't having a good night. While it's understandable for Therrien to want to give Price the night off and protect him from risking injury in what had become a meaningless game, Price had other ideas.

As the score mounted and became more and more embarrassing, Price got up half-way into the second period and went to the tunnel to stretch. And stretch. Nobody told him to do so, but, like everyone else watching Montoya's embarrassment, Price assumed Therrien would show mercy and replace the guy. Price, the real leader of the Canadiens, was frustrated and upset by the way things were going on the ice and he wanted to get in there to help stop the bleeding. When that didn't happen; when the coach left his goaltending partner to serve out the whole mortifying sixty minutes without relief, Price could not have been happy.

Whenever a team takes the kind of nosedive last year's Habs did, we say the coach has "lost the room," but Therrien managed to survive that because he had the "Price was injured" excuse to protect him. Now, with Price healthy and playing at the top of his game, Therrien has a bigger concern. When he threw Montoya under the bus, he risked losing Price's support. And if he loses Price, he really has lost the room.

Max Pacioretty may wear the "C," but Carey Price is this team's captain. While it's not in his nature to quit just because he dislikes the coach, his opinion will influence his teammates. After that embarrassment in Columbus, he can't be thinking happy thoughts about Therrien. And that may be the dumbest thing Therrien has ever done.


dra58 said...

M/T has one other thing in his corner with M/B. He introduced M/B to his new girlfriend last year and they became fox hole buddies. CHaracter has been M/B's buzz word for years and for whatever reason he left his wife and kids and is not divorced yet but has M/T's blessing and friend as his new partner. Not that I am holy or anything put people who preach like he has should not look in mirrors or live in glass houses. As for me well I could never hold that against someone like M/B does with young kids who make mistakes at parties... He needs to get his blinders off and see that M/T is as some say eMpTy and find a real coach. He has done well in getting Captain Kirk as an associate coach at hopefully the same pay but leave him there as he has a rappor with the players and will fix our power play. He needs a real coach behind the bench regardless of the language. I could go on forever but.......

Ian said...

MT said 'We took a decision' about leaving Montoya in the debacle. Trying to deflect blame off of himself, I figure.

Supposedly they wanted to get Carey his rest. Hmmmm. He played only one game in the previous week. How tired did MT think Carey was?

Price was fully prepared, and rightly so, to go into the game. MT threw Montoya under the bus. He's good at that (Right P.K.)?

The Habs (my team, despite poor management decisions) lead the league with a 10-1-1 record. But let's be honest, they probably should have a .500 record around now. The record lies. Price and Montoya are the reason for the record, not the team playing MT's vaunted 'system'.

I look forward to the day when MB finally comes to his senses (or is brought to his senses by ownership) and fires MT.

moeman said...

Very good read J.T.

UK3X said...

People aske how my team is doing. I say..."yeah - ok, not great but they are getting there" ...I know they lead the league but they arent really playing very well are they. The goalies are keeping them in it. Columbus should have been a wakeup but then look at how they squeaked it against the flyers. Therrein is on a. Countdown clock... and it started ticking big time on Friday night.

Mr. Pavlov said...

Very well stated J.T. I have been a Therrien-basher for a long time now. In fact he gets me so frustrated and infuriated, that I just see red most of the time when I look at him. So I can't do a cool-headed analysis such as this very often. Thank you for compiling all my reasons together in a succinct fashion. In fact, ever since the Subban trade, I try not to think about Monsieur Therrien for my own mental health. Even though Shea Weber has exceeded my expectations, and is working out very well for the Haps so far, I think in the long run P.K. will be missed more than people realize now. However things are going so smoothly on the ice now, that I have to concede this round to Mark and Michel. I know a lot of Haps fans (and others possibly ) will be saying right now-"You don't know what you're talking about, Therrien had nothing to do with the trade". Well, I have to beg to fact that is about mty biggest beef with our coach- the sneaky way he gets things done, and playing personalities off against each other. All while acting dumb, with a "Who me?" look on his face. Or is he acting at all?

Ian said...

The day has finally come. MT has been fired. Long overdue.

What a bonus to get CJ as the new coach. I don't think we will be outcoached in too many games now.

PK Subban must have a smile on his face right now. I am happy for him.

And I have a smile on mine too.