At the practice venue in Brossard, they're stacked standing room 7 deep. Only in Montreal, only in Montreal.
Yes, but what about the practice itself? This should pretty much sum it up:
Music to the ears. Sweet, sweet competent hockey coaching music. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL THESE YEARS?Julien's Habs lines: Pacioretty-GALCHENYUK-Radulov; Byron-Plekanec-Gallagher; Lehkonen-Danault-Shaw; Andrighetto-Mitchell-Flynn.— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) February 17, 2017
- Marc Bergevin held a press conference late this morning, and being Marc Bergevin, revealed very little. Among the things he did say that were worth remembering, Bergevin affirmed that under no circumstances would he entertain any trade offer that involved the Canadiens' future talent, which means you can cross Mikhail Sergachev off the endangered list.
- Although not really asked a direct question about his status, Bergevin did say he was "expecting more" out of Alex Galchenyuk, who's been the face of many Canadiens-related trade rumours the past couple of days.
- Again, Bergevin refused to directly answer why he chose to fire Michel Therrien, other than he wanted his team to head in a winning direction. Maybe dropping an unintentional hint, Bergevin indicated that the team had stopped playing "responsibly", which one could perceive as an indicator that the players were no longer listening to their coach, which stoked the decision to make a change.
- Coy comments about Carey Price, other than he still is a "world class" goaltender, and that he's hoping to see Price's game improve over the coming weeks/months.
- After the press conference, a few Habs players held what appears to have been an informally arranged practice at Brossard, and guess who showed up?
Oates' participation is interesting - because a) he's currently an unemployed (and one would assume looking) coach, b) he has significant ties to Boston, and c) Julien's almost certainly going to make adjustments to the assistant coaching crew, might Oates be part of those changes?In a strange turn of events, Adam Oates is on the ice in Brossard working with Nesterov, Pateryn and Radulov. #TSN690 pic.twitter.com/8hulKQQ4db— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) February 15, 2017
THE FIRING: NOW, WE CAN FINALLY REJOICE
Yeah, it's hard to even believe it, but the day has finally arrived. And almost exactly 8 years since Michel Therrien was let go by his former, former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. That day was February 15, 2009. Astonishing.
Truth be told, this firing shouldn't come as a shocker, at least among those who have been close followers of this hockey team. The final nail was likely this comment on Sunday night:
Price's identity statement was as close to any comment you'll get from a player that his coach has lost the room. That's essentially what happened - the players, at some point the past two months, totally tuned out from listening to Michel Therrien. It explains his termination today as much as it explains the inconsistent, often chaotic display of hockey by this team since early December.Carey Price: "We seemed to have lost our identity." #Habs— Kyle Bukauskas (@SNkylebukauskas) February 13, 2017
This is an incredibly important moment - because it not only turns a chapter in a coaching era that was doomed from the very beginning, but it also allowed the Canadiens, for the first time in recent memory, to hire a bonafide top-notch hockey mind, that being of course, Claude Julien.
Boston's loss will almost certainly be Montreal's huge gain. This is something to celebrate.
And so we breath a sigh of relief - the deed is finally done, and now the fans can watch hockey without fret. Sure, the team will lose again, it may even continue to slide all the way out of a playoff spot, but at least the focus of tension and frustration won't be directed at the man standing behind the bench, frenetically cranking out illogical line combinations, and reserving himself from finding scapegoats to excuse his own poor performance.
It's a new day. It's Valentine's day. It's finally time to celebrate.