By: Rossy Pasternak
Marc Bergevin, General Manager of the Montreal Canadians, has been perfect since he arrived in the the hockey hotbed. He has built this team patiently but aggressively, picking the right times to make a move. He has done a wonderful job of managing the salary cap, and his trades have effectively closed off weaknesses to the team. He has done an even better job handling the media and crazy fan base, and making sure he makes the best moves for the team. The verdict for the P.K. Subban – Shea Weber deal is still to be determined, but Montreal has looked like the immediate winners. Bergevin’s signing of Alexander Radulov has looked genius, as he has produced 42 points in 56 games since coming back to the NHL. With all of these moves, Montreal was looking like a real competitor for the Stanley Cup.
Yet, there were still struggles. The team didn’t seem to be performing up to their extraordinary potential, and much of that was blamed on now former head coach Michel Therrien. Therrien seemed to clash with the leadership group of the Canadians, and had been on the hot-seat since the tremendous collapse last season. Bergevin finally had enough, and fired him just a few minutes ago.
What makes this move such a victory for Bergevin and the Habs is not getting rid of Therrien, a coach who had reportedly lost the locker room and struggled to find an identity for his team on the ice. What makes this move such a victory is replacing him with Julien, a coach who lasted almost 10 seasons in Boston, winning the Stanley Cup once and consistently coaching a competitive team. Julien coached in Montreal before as well, which means he is familiar with the hostile media in Montreal.
Julien, even while getting fired, was very well respected in the Bruins’ circle. Players supposedly loved playing for him, and his teams usually performed as, or better than, expected. Julien provides a lot of defensive structure and should try to tighten up the neutral and defensive zones.
What makes this such a coup for Bergevin is that fans wanted him to fire Therrien last season, when there weren’t any elite coaches on the market. Instead, he waits it out, knowing that who he wants, Julien, is on the outs. When Julien was let go, Bergevin jumped on his man, and ended up, once again, with perfection.
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