Michel Therrien is understandably under fire, especially after Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin painted himself into a corner by publicly announcing complete faith in Therrien as the Habs started their fall from grace.
With virtually no change in fortunes, particularly over the past two months, fans need a neck for their noose and Therrien fits the bill. He’s done almost nothing, literally, to help the cause. He’s stuck with his same guns, kept most players in their same positions on their same lines, and seems to stick with the same tired systems.
Last night against Colorado the Canadiens gave up a torturously late game losing goal. The nail-in-the-coffin rush was started after a PK Subban turnover at the offensive blueline, and Therrien benched the superstar defenceman for the final minutes. Montreal’s best point shooter looked helplessly on as his team failed to score the equalizer, and fans felt that pain more than PK did.
They lashed out at Therrien on social media well into the night and even more this morning, defending their “best player” and “leader” for his mistake. I have to say, this caught me very much off guard. Like I said, Michel Therrien has done literally nothing. He’s had no answers, and doesn’t even appear to be looking for any. That’s been the infuriating part for me. (see Therrien isn’t a solution)
What’s also been infuriating is the play of PK Subban. Almost every single game lately he’s made some sort of spectacle of himself. In last week’s game against Buffalo, an assist from the linesman gave the Sabres an empty net goal. Immediately after the puck hit the linesman Subban a)repositioned himself, made a hard play on the puck and prevented the shot OR b)put his arms up in protest as the shot went past him? The answer is b. Earlier this month, he tried to get too fancy coming out from behind his own net, got hooked, and turned it over in front of his net for a gift. He a)chased the puck down, got a stick out just in time and blocked the shot OR b)looked up into the air in disgust and watched the shot go into his net? The answer is b. Just after Christmas he was caught doing too many tight turns in the neutral zone and got hooked down. He then a)got up immediately, gave a hard back check and recovered the puck or b)got up, put his arms in the air in protest of the hook, then turned back too late, missed a hip check, and got beat for a goal. The answer is b. The answer is ALWAYS b, and has been for the past two months.
In my recent article on Therrien that I wrote just TWO days ago (Therrien isn’t a solution), I specifically cite “a lack of accountability for PK Subban” as one of the major strikes against the Montreal coach in dealing with the landslide. When I saw Subban sitting on the bench as the puck was dropped I actually raised my arms up and shouted “Finally!” Finally, it looked like someone on that bench took an action, showed some sort of sign of life and willingless to do something.
I think benching PK was absolutely the right thing to do. It might not help anymore because it should have been done long ago, but at least it’s been done. Fans can’t scream at Therrien for not making changes and then question the first move he makes in months. Take the PK blinders off and think about what’s best for the team in that moment. It doesn’t mean he’ll never play again.