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Claude Julien returns to Montreal as head coach

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But is this really that shocking?

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Boston Bruins v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Claude Julien Replaces Michel Therrien for the Second Time

This afternoon the hockey world was set abuzz as the Montreal Canadiens fired their head coach Michel Therrien. His replacement is former Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien and had himself been fired by the Bruins last week. This isn’t the first time that this has happened as Claude Julien also replaced Michel Therrien as the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens back in 2003.

So this is the second time that Julien will take the reins of the Canadiens. This Canadiens team, however, is significantly better than the team he coached to a 72-62-10 record between 2003 and 2006.

Therrien on the hot seat for a while

To say that Michel has had a turbulent stay in Montreal would be putting it mildly. The fans and media in Montreal are demanding and Therrien had made his fair share of enemies in both groups. His handling of players like PK Subban and his questionable lineup choices generally had him at odds with the advanced analytics crowd (I'll leave it to the smart people to explain why). It wasn’t all bad for Therrien, though; the Canadiens made the playoffs three of four years under his watch, even making it to the conference finals in the 2013–14 season. However, they missed the playoffs last year in the absence of Carey Price, and after a hot start to this season their play has tailed off considerably. It didn’t help Therrien that Price has gone 11-12-4 with a goals-against average of 2.93 and a save percentage of .898 since November 30th.

Claude Julien the Obvious Choice

There seems to be a lot of shock in hockey circles today, but I’m really not all that surprised at all. Claude Julien was the best coach available on the market and he is fluently bilingual. Many feel the only reason that Therrien lasted as long as he did is because whoever they replaced him with had to be fluent in French. Obviously, they weren’t interested in Patrick Roy after his debacle in Colorado, and had they let Julien get hired by another team they would have had to continue to hold on to Therrien for better or worse. Claude Julien’s coaching record is 512-309-10 in 942 NHL games coached with his only Stanley Cup victory coming with the Boston Bruins in 2011.