Therrien releases statement, calls coaching a ‘gratifying’ but ‘thankless task’

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Michel Therrien released a statement today, wishing his successor, Claude Julien, well while thanking the Montreal Canadiens for “the experience of five remarkable years.”

Therrien, fired Tuesday as Montreal’s head coach, left the Canadiens in first place in the Atlantic Division; however, the team was also 6-10-2 in its last 18 games.

“Being an NHL coach is a tough job: it is gratifying on many levels but it can also quickly become a thankless task,” said Therrien, per CBC.ca. “When a team is experiencing difficulties, any head coach knows his job is on the line. I understand and accept this reality.”

That Therrien used the word “thankless” to describe the job suggests he may have felt under-appreciated in the role. But after Julien was fired last week by the Boston Bruins, it was no real surprise that a change was made. The Canadiens endured a painful collapse last year, and now they were headed down a similar path in 2017.

Yesterday, Bergevin explained the move, rejecting the notion that Therrien was fired because Julien had suddenly become available.

“I just felt we weren’t playing the way we’re capable of,” said Bergevin. “So, everything happened for a reason. Maybe the timing was — you know, Claude let go by Boston last week — but I didn’t make my decision based on how Boston operates, that’s just not how I did it, no.”