He knows, it can be a ‘thank­less task’

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS -

Two days af­ter be­ing fired by the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens, Michel Ther­rien says be­ing an NHL coach is a tough job that is “grat­i­fy­ing on many lev­els but it can also quickly be­come a thank­less task.”

In a state­ment re­leased Thurs­day, Ther­rien said he un­der­stood why gen­eral man­ager Marc Bergevin made the de­ci­sion to let him go and bring in Claude Julien.

“When a team is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, any head coach knows his job is on the line,” Ther­rien said. “I un­der­stand and ac­cept this re­al­ity.”

Af­ter start­ing the sea­son 13-1-1, Mon­treal had hit a tough patch, go­ing 2-6-1 over its last nine games.

Ther­rien, who struck a gra­cious tone in the state­ment, wished his suc­ces­sor the best.

“I leave with my head held high: I am very proud of the work ac­com­plished over the past five years,” he said. “The cur­rent team can as­pire to great hon­ours, and I wish my col­league Claude Julien ev­ery suc­cess in the fu­ture.”

Julien was fired by the Bos­ton Bru­ins last week.

Ther­rien was in his se­cond stint as Cana­di­ens coach. He orig­i­nally held the post from 2000 to 2003 be­fore be­ing re­placed by Julien. He re­turned be­hind Mon­treal’s bench for the 2012-13 sea­son but the club missed the play­offs last year.

Ther­rien also thanked the Cana­di­ens or­ga­ni­za­tion, Bergevin and owner Ge­off Mol­son, adding that his dis­missal in no way changes “my per­cep­tion of the team and its man­age­ment.”

Fi­nally, he thanked the fans in Mon­treal and across Quebec and “the many play­ers whom I had the priv­i­lege of coaching.”

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