Former coach Michel Therrien thanked the Montreal Canadiens in a statement released Thursday.
Therrien was fired Tuesday and replaced by Claude Julien.
"I would first like to thank the Montreal Canadiens organization, especially Geoff Molson and Marc Bergevin, for the experience of five remarkable years," Therrien said, referencing the owner and general manager. "The Montreal Canadiens have always been a great organization, and recent events in no way change my perception of the team and its management.
"Being an NHL coach is a tough job: it is gratifying on many levels but it can also quickly become a thankless task. When a team is experiencing difficulties, any head coach knows his job is on the line. I understand and accept this reality.
"I would like to thank fans in Montreal and across Quebec, as well as members of the media. I also salute the coaches and staff I have worked with over the years and, above all, the many players whom I had the privilege of coaching.
"I leave with my head held high: I am very proud of the work accomplished over the past five years. The current team can aspire to great honors, and I wish my colleague Claude Julien every success in the future."
After starting the season 13-1-1, the Canadiens (31-19-8) are 18-18-7, including 1-5-1 in their past seven games.
Therrien was in his second coaching stint with the Canadiens. He coached them from 2000-03 and again from 2013-17 and had a record of 271-198-23-50.
Julien, who was fired as coach of the Boston Bruins on Feb. 7, will coach the Canadiens at home against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday (2 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV).