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Penguins, Michel Therrien Agree To Terms On New Three-year Contract

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins have agreed to terms with head coach Michel Therrien on a new three-year contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero.

The contract covers the 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.

“Michel has done a tremendous job with our team over the past two-and-a-half seasons, developing our young players while leading us to division and conference championships and the Stanley Cup finals,” Shero said. “He had one year remaining on his previous contract, and we could have simply talked about an extension. But we thought that, based on the success we’ve had together, it was time to negotiate a new deal, starting with an increase in compensation for the 2008-09 season.”

Therrien’s 2007-08 team went 47-27-8 during the regular season, won the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference championships, and advanced to the Stanley Cup finals against Detroit. It marked the Penguins’ first division title since 1997-98 and their first berth in the Cup finals since 1991-92.

Over the past two seasons, the Penguins’ record under Therrien is an exceptional 94-51-19.

He was a finalist for the Jack Adams Trophy as NHL coach of the year in 2006-07, when he led the Penguins to a 47-point improvement over the previous season. It was the fourth-biggest turnaround from one season to the next in NHL history.

Therrien has allowed the talented Penguins to thrive offensively, even while demanding disciplined play and accountability in the defensive zone. In 2006-07, Sidney Crosby won the NHL scoring championship and, in 2007-08, Evgeni Malkin finished second in the league scoring race.

“I’m excited to have a new three-year contract with the Penguins and am looking forward to continued success here in Pittsburgh,” Therrien said. “It is a great hockey city with an outstanding fan base. All of our players comment on how much they love playing in Pittsburgh, and I can tell you that our coaches love coaching in Pittsburgh.

 “We still have a lot of work to do, though, because we fell short of our biggest goal last season. Our goal is, and always will be, to win the Stanley Cup.

Therrien, 44, was named head coach of the Penguins on Dec. 15, 2005, following a strong two-and-half year stint as head coach of the club’s American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He led the Baby Penguins to the AHL finals in 2003-04, and his 2005-06 team was off to a remarkable 21-1-2-1 start, including a league-record 15 straight wins, when he was summoned to Pittsburgh as a mid-season replacement for coach Eddie Olczyk.

The native of Montreal played three seasons as a defenseman in the AHL, registering 89 points in 206 games. In 1985, he played on a Calder Cup championship team with the Sherbrooke Canadiens, where his teammates included Patrick Roy, Stephane Richer and Brian Skrudland. He also played for the Baltimore Skipjacks, where his defense partner was current Penguins broadcaster and two-time Stanley Cup champion Phil Bourque.

Therrien broke into coaching in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with Laval and Granby, posting a .720 winning percentage in four seasons. His teams reached the league finals three times, and he captured the Memorial Cup as Canada’s national champion with Granby in 1996.

He was head coach of Montreal’s AHL affiliates in Fredericton and Quebec from 1997-2000 and then gained his first taste of NHL experience as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens from 2000-03. He led the Canadiens to the playoffs in 2001-02.

              Regular season                                  Playoffs

Season     GP    W    L    O/T    Pts                 GP   W    L

2005-06    51    14    29      8      36                 --     --     --
2006-07    82    47    24    11    105                4      1     4
2007-08    82    47    27      8    102               20    14    6

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