Gauging a Montreal Canadiens coach can be a tricky endeavor.
For one thing, you must consider the expectations that come inherent with being the bench boss of a franchise that has won a record 24 Stanley Cups.
It’s not about excellence alone, however, as management acknowledged years ago that their head coach probably needs to speak French.
“Although our main priority remains to win hockey games and to keep improving as a team, it is obvious that the ability for the head coach to express himself in both French and English will be a very important factor in the selection of the permanent head coach,” Team president Geoff Molson said in a statement back in 2011.
Some hoped that the Habs would part ways with Michel Therrien after the team’s second-round exit to the Tampa Bay Lightning, yet GM Marc Bergevin stood idle.
Back in April, The Montreal Gazette’s Jack Todd mocked those who yearn for a replacement:
Has the coach of a 110-point team that finished second overall in the league, a team coming off an Eastern Conference final, ever faced so much heat at home? Doubtful. There is a strange reluctance to embrace Therrien here, despite three consecutive outstanding seasons on his watch.
One might break down the arguments in three different ways:
1) Therrien is the best fit, period.
2) Therrien is the best fit considering Montreal’s Francophone requirements.
3) Therrien is not the best fit.
It’s not an especially new debate, yet it’s an intriguing one nonetheless: is Therrien the right guy for the job?