Author: Jason Brough

Montreal Canadiens Introduce Michel Therrien As New Head Coach

Bergevin sees ‘no reason’ to make changes to Canadiens coaching staff


Sounds like we can cross off Montreal as a potential landing spot for Mike Babcock, or any other free-agent head coach.

“I have no reason to make any changes when it comes to our coaching staff,” Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said this morning. “They are doing great work.”

Under Michel Therrien, the Habs finished first in the Atlantic (50-22-10) and made it to the second round of the playoffs. Which is a lot better than most teams.

But despite that, Therrien received a good amount of criticism for how his team played. The Canadiens were relatively poor at controlling the puck, they had the 20th-ranked offense, and were overly reliant on goalie Carey Price.  

Montreal’s power play also struggled, ranking 23rd during the regular season and scoring just twice in the playoffs. That put assistant coach Dan Lacroix, the power play being his responsibility, under the microscope. But based on Bergevin’s remarks today, Lacroix will remain on the staff.

Bergevin also made a comment about 21-year-old Alex Galchenyuk that raised some eyebrows.

“Chucky is not there yet,” Bergevin said, per TSN’s John Lu. “He might never be a centerman. He might be, he could be.”

Galchenyuk was the third overall pick in 2012. He was drafted to be a center. On top of that, many feel the Canadiens’ biggest flaw is down the middle, where Tomas Plekanec and David Desharnais are currently their top two centers.

Perhaps Bergevin was just trying to motivate Galchenyuk. Or, perhaps his remark, as some have suggested, is related to the fact Galchenyuk is a pending restricted free agent and will be negotiating a new contract this summer. Because Bergevin also acknowledged it’s next to impossible to land a number-one center through a trade, suggesting the price to do so would be, well, Price.

Related: Canadiens need to be more than Carey Price

(Video) PHT Extra: On Canada’s Stanley Cup drought

Brian Boyle, Max Pacioretty

Once again in 2015, it will be an American market that’s celebrating when the Stanley Cup is awarded. Not since 1993, when the Montreal Canadiens defeated Wayne Gretzky’s Los Angeles Kings, has the Cup been won by a team north of the border.

It’s a remarkable streak, really. That a Canadian team has been to the final five times — and lost four times in Game 7 — only adds to it. The Canucks (twice), Flames, Oilers, and Senators have all played for the Cup since 1993.

The fact the Toronto Maple Leafs, the richest team in the NHL, haven’t won a playoff series in over a decade is pretty incredible too. Even in the salary-cap age, there’s a major advantage to having deep pockets.

Then again, these things go in cycles. Remember that Canadian teams owned the Stanley Cup from 1984-90, when the Oilers, Flames, and Canadiens combined to win seven straight titles. And before that, from 1956-79, it was the Habs or Leafs who won the Cup in 19 out of 24 seasons. Only a four-year run by the Islanders broke those two stretches up.

Russia knocks off Sweden, will face U.S. Saturday in worlds semifinal

Yevgeni Malkin, Jhonas Enroth

Two goals by Evgeni Malkin and one by Vladimir Tarasenko helped Russia to a 5-3 victory over Sweden today at the world hockey championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

The result sets up a semifinal between Russia and the United States on Saturday in Prague.

Russia is expected to have Alex Ovechkin in the lineup against the Americans, who defeated Switzerland today.

Canada, after hammering Belarus, will face the Czechs in the other semifinal on Saturday. The hosts got a late goal from Jaromir Jagr to help them defeat the Finns, 5-3, today.

The gold-medal game goes Sunday in Prague.

Russia is the defending gold-medal winner at the worlds. The United States was last crowned world champion in 1960, at the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley.