In a stunning move, the Montreal Canadiens fired Michel Therrien on Tuesday and replaced him with Claude Julien, who was fired last week by the Boston Bruins.
Isn’t this move a little crazy considering that Montreal (31-19-8) is atop the Atlantic Division?
“It is a little crazy,” Montreal Gazette NHL writer Pat Hickey said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Just five days ago, we were in Phoenix and Therrien and Julien were sitting by the poolside at the Renaissance Hotel and it looked like everything was going well. They lost that night, then they lost two more games – this team is just not playing well. They’re 6-9-2 since January 9. Carey Price has been the best goaltender in the world, but he hasn’t been in the last month-and-a-half. This team’s in trouble. They’re still in first place in the Atlantic Division, but they’ve got Ottawa, Toronto and Boston all chasing them down. They just decided it was time for a coaching change.”
Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time Julien has replaced Therrien in Montreal.
“That was the same thing that happened in 2003, so this is a script fans here have seen before,” Hickey said. “(Julien) is a really good coach. I think if he hadn’t been available, the Canadiens wouldn’t have made this move, but it was just a confluence of things that happened: Julien suddenly becoming available, the Canadiens not going anywhere, and Therrien pays the price.”
Hickey wasn’t surprised to see Julien gobbled up so quickly.
“I would have been surprised if he had gone to Vegas,” Hickey said. “That’s a team that’s starting out. It’s going to be a long slog there. I think Vegas (wants) someone who works well with young players, someone who may not be there long-term but would be there two or three years to get the franchise up and running. I think Julien’s name was probably on (Las Vegas general manager) George (McPhee’s) list, but I don’t think he would have been interested in that job.”