He's Not Goin' Anywhere

Pittsburgh and head coach Michel Therrien signed a three year contract today. This is a good move. I wasn't sure what Ray Shero was planning to do with Therrien in the future. Therrien was a guy that was already in place before Shero brought his troops in, and I was often wondering if he would get rid of Therrien at the slightest hint of adversity and replace him with one of his own guys like Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coach, Todd Richards (who has been successful in the AHL for awhile now). This proves me wrong.

Most people either love Therrien or they hate him. I'm one that loves him. I watched him come into Wilkes-Barre at a time when his career wasn't going so well and when the Baby Pens had finally gotten rid of a coach that did absolutely nothing for them (if you're wondering who, it was Glenn Patrick). When Therrien came into Wilkes-Barre, he was tough on the guys, but he had to be. They listened to him. Matt Murley once said they were afraid to lose under him, and it showed. Here's a quick look at Therriens 2.25 years in Wilkes-Barre:

  • 2003-2004: In his first year, he took WBS all the way to the Calder Cup Finals. The road to the Finals included an amazing first round comeback against the first place Bridgeport Sound Tigers that was sealed in a game 7 OT win. The Baby Pens had been down 3 games to 1 in the series. In the Eastern Conference finals, they defeated Hartford in a game 7 OT as well.
  • 2004-2005: WBS faced a star-studded Binghamton Senators roster (ie: Jason Spezza) in the first round of the play-offs. They upset them in six games.
  • 2005-2006: In Therrien's 25 games before getting the call to Pittsburgh, he held a record of 21-2-2-1. Unbelievable.

When Therrien got the NHL job, he never forgot about the guys he coached in Wilkes-Barre. That's why you see most of them on the Pittsburgh Roster today. Guys like Max Talbot, Ryan Whitney, Marc-Andre Fleury, Dany Sabourin, Rob Scuderi and before their departures: Colby Armstrong, Alain Nasreddine, Erik Christensen & Michel Ouellet. He knew what those guys could bring to the table, and he gave them a chance to do so. He's not notorious for being well-liked in the locker room (although I do think he's softened up a bit since his days of calling his players out for playing poker and drinking beer until 5 am), but I could care less about that. Most coaches of successful teams aren't the most-liked guys (Randy Carlyle, Ron Wilson). The bottom line is: he's doing his job, and he's doing it well.

Looking forward to three more years and possibly some more snap shows and water bottles thrown across the ice, coach.

Photo Credit: Gene J. Puskar, AP



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