Montreal Canadiens Executive vice president and general manager, Marc Bergevin, announced June 5, 2012 the appointment of Michel Therrien as the club’s new head coach.
Therrien has coached an even 1,000 games in professional hockey (499 games in the NHL and 501 in the American Hockey League)
In his six-year tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, Michel Therrien started out as head coach of the clubs’ affiliate team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton from 2003 to 2005, before being promoted at the NHL level leading the Penguins to new heights from 2005 to 2009. In his first season in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he led the team to 86 points in the standings and to the AHL finals. Following a 92-point season in 2004-05, he took his team to a remarkable 21-1-2-1 start, including a league-record 15 straight wins, when on December 15 he was summoned to Pittsburgh to take over as head coach. In 2006-07, his second season behind the Pens’ bench, he was a finalist for the Jack Adams Trophy as NHL coach of the year after leading the Penguins to 105 points and a 47-point improvement over the previous season. It was the fourth-biggest turnaround from one season to the next in NHL history. In 2007-08 under Therrien’s guidance, the Penguins kept the same pace and earned 102 regular season points making their way to the Stanley Cup final, dropping a six-game decision to the Detroit Red Wings. It was the Penguins first division title since 1997-98 and their first berth to the Cup finals since 1991-92. With Pittsburgh, Therrien had a 135-105-32 record for a total of 302 points in the standings in 272 regular season games for a .555 winning percentage.
Michel Therrien spent seven seasons as head coach in the Montreal Canadiens organization from 1997 to 2003. The Montreal native joined the franchise in June 1997 taking over behind the bench of the Canadiens AHL affiliate team in Fredericton, leading the club to the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals. In 1999-00, he became the first head coach of the Quebec Citadelles leading the team to the Atlantic Division Championship in its inaugural season in the Provincial Capital. On November 20, 2000, Therrien became the 25th head coach in Canadiens history. From November 2000 to January 2003, he led the Canadiens to their first playoff appearance in four years, reaching the Eastern Conference semi-finals in 2001-02. In 190 regular season games as the Canadiens head coach, he had a record of 77 wins, 77 losses and 36 ties or OTLs.
Before joining the Canadiens, Therrien coached the Laval Titan and the Granby Prédateurs in the QMJHL, winning the Memorial Cup with Granby in 1996. He posted an outstanding .712 winning percentage in four seasons as head coach in the QMJHL.
In his playing days, Therrien was a solid defenseman who captured the Calder Cup in 1985 as a member of the Sherbrooke Canadiens. He played a total of 185 games in the QMJHL and 206 career games in the American Hockey League.