Sunday, February 15, 2009

Time Runs Out On Therrien

When the news came through the AP wires, it felt like a shock to me similar to a death. Michel Therrien's coaching career had ended on a enormous canyon of a valley instead of once peaking at the top of hockey's promised land.

Therrien inherited a team in chaos, but found a way to discipline a young core and rugged veteran leadership together. Without Therrien, such a quick resurgence would not have been possible for a franchise that may have been one step away from leaving.

Michel Therrien should be praised for what he was able to accomplish. He had the guts to first challenge a soft defense core at his arrival with a press conference that is now legendary among Penguins fans. One of the most charming things about Therrien was his broken English and the way he communicated to the press and pre-game interviews. His French accent hid his blunt truthiness. No one could counter him as his style commanded respect.

Coach Therrien's first key to his initial success in Pittsburgh was because he knew so many players during his time in Wilkes-Barre Scranton AHL. He knew how to utilize Armstrong, Orpik, Whitney, et-al even earning a 21–1–2–1 record start before getting called up.

Therrien's coaching regime fell apart when the roster he was given no longer resembled that of what he used to get to the Stanley Cup finals. The high shots per game and goals against average was the flaw that couldn't be corrected no matter how the lines were constantly shuffled. In the end, the scape goat became Therrien's responsibility for the teams preparedness.

Off the ice, Michel Therrien is a very likable guy. He is often profiled as a single parent of two teenage children. All three have stated that they love Pittsburgh. Where Therrien goes from here is any body's guess, but I am sure he would rise again with a new team looking to rekindle past glories.

God bless you, Coach Therrien. May your unemployment be brief.
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