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Michel Therrien

Therrien with the Penguins
Born November 4, 1963 (age 46)
Montreal, Canada
Other names Bulldog
Occupation NHL Head Coach
Predecessor Ed Olczyk
Successor Dan Bylsma

Michel Therrien (born November 4, 1963 in Montreal, Quebec) is a former hockey player and head coach of the Montreal Canadiens and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Therrien coached the Canadiens for three seasons, taking them to the Eastern Conference semi-finals in the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs. During the 2006–07 season, he coached the Penguins to one of the most successful single-season improvements in NHL history, finishing with a 47–24–11 record (105 pts), a berth in the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs, and a nomination for the Jack Adams Award, as the NHL's best coach. The following season, the Penguins under Therrien made it to the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals, ultimately losing to the Detroit Red Wings in six games. On February 15, 2009, with the Penguins struggling to make the playoffs, the Penguins organization announced that it had relieved Therrien of coaching duties and had promoted its AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma to serve as interim head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Prior to his coaching career, Therrien played three years as a defenceman in the AHL, compiling a total of 86 points in 206 games and winning the Calder Cup in 1985 with the Sherbrooke Canadiens, on the same team as eventual Hall-of-Famer Patrick Roy. Before coaching in the professional leagues, Therrien was a coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He is a single parent of two children, Elizabeth and Charles.

Coaching career


After stumbling out to a 5–13–2 record, the Montreal Canadiens fired their head coach Alain Vigneault and hired rookie Michel Therrien. The Canadiens went 23–27–13 under Michel and missed the playoffs.


In his first full season as the Canadiens head coach, Michel led the Habs to an impressive record of 36–31–15. A 16 point improvement from the previous year. In the playoffs, Therrien's Canadiens upset the top seeded Boston Bruins in 6 games before losing to the Carolina Hurricanes.


After starting the season 16–12–6, the Canadiens slipped in the standings winning only 2 of their next 12 games. This prompted General Manager André Savard to fire Therrien with a record of 18–19–9. Therrien finished with the Canadiens with an overall record of 77–77–37.


For two and a half seasons, Therrien was the head coach of the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He lead the Penguins to the Calder Cup playoffs in 2004 and 2005.


After leading the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a franchise record start (21–1–2–1) in the 2005–06 season, Therrien was promoted by Pittsburgh on December 15, 2005, as a mid-season replacement for Ed Olczyk. The Pens, however, did not turn their season around going 14–29–8 under Therrien.


The Penguins started the 2006–07 NHL season in mediocre fashion. However, they picked up play in January going 14–0–2 at one point. The streak led the Penguins to a 47–24–11 record, and a 5th place berth in the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Pens fell in 5 games to the Ottawa Senators.


Michel Therrien walking to the Mellon Arena on June 6, 2008

Despite a slow start the Pens began to turn things around in November 2007. They would go on to win the 2008 Winter Classic and later clinch the Atlantic Division Championship with a 4-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers. In the first round of the 2008 NHL Playoffs, the Pens avenged their 2007 playoff series loss by downing the Ottawa Senators, in a four game sweep. They then defeated the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers each in five games, to win the 2008 Eastern Conference Championship and the Prince of Wales Trophy. The Pens eventually lost in the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals to the Detroit Red Wings in six games, finishing the playoffs with a 14-6 record. On July 18, 2008, Therrien signed a contract extension with the Penguins through the 2010–11 NHL season.


The Penguins shot out to one of the best starts in franchise history, only to slow down considerably heading into December. The slide continued, and on February 15, 2009, a day after a humiliating 6-2 loss to the Maple Leafs and with the Penguins struggling to stay in the playoff race, Therrien was relieved of his duties as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Therrien finished four games behind Eddie Johnston for the longest tenure as Penguins' head coach. Dan Bylsma took over as head coach.

Coaching record

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T OTL Pts Finish Result
MTL 2000–01 62 23 27 6 6 (70) 5th in Northeast Missed playoffs
MTL 2001–02 82 36 31 12 3 87 4th in Northeast Lost in second round
MTL 2002–03 46 18 19 4 5 (77) 4th in Northeast (fired)
PIT 2005–06 51 14 29 - 8 (58) 5th in Atlantic Missed playoffs
PIT 2006–07 82 47 24 - 11 105 2nd in Atlantic Lost in first round
PIT 2007–08 82 47 27 - 8 102 1st in Atlantic Lost in finals
PIT 2008–09 57 27 25 - 5 (95) (Fired)
Total 462 212 182 22 46 .532

External links