Bob McKenzie appeared on Montreal’s TSN 690 on Monday morning to talk about the Canadiens controversial summer, and just how long of a leash GM Marc Bergevin and coach Michel Therrien have.
McKenzie believes that Bergevin and Therrien aren’t as perilously close to unemployment as some fans think. However, it all depends on how things go to start the season. If the Canadiens are below .500 around American Thanksgiving, then “that’s one [situation] where any coaching staff would have to look over their shoulders a little bit”.
The 2015-16 season started off wonderfully for the Canadiens, who were 12-3 at the start of November when Carey Price got hurt. It was all downhill from there, as backup goalies Mike Condon and Ben Scrivens couldn’t match the elite level of Price. The Canadiens finished 38-38-6. The team came apart from the inside, which lead to some drastic changes in the summer. McKenzie speculated that the organization wants to write off last year’s struggles as “the Carey Price issue. He was injured; we didn’t overcome that.”
Both coach and GM were kept around, and allowed to influence major decisions.
“When you push for something, and I have to assume that Marc Bergevin and Michel Therrien pushed for this – this was something they felt the hockey club needed, and it’s a total different direction to go from P.K. Subban to Shea Weber – then you’ve got to get some results.”
When asked whether or not Bergevin and Therrien’s fates are tied together, McKenzie said even though Bergevin is still behind Therrien after the “horrific” year they had, there will come a point where “the GM will have to make the hard call on his coach… most coaches don’t survive forever.” Based on public comments, it would take a really tough start for Bergevin to axe Therrien, as the pair appear to be close in philosophy, but no coach is safe forever.
Ultimately, McKenzie believes the situation is fluid, depending “on how are they playing, what are the reasons for the losses”, but doesn’t believe the leash is “so short that there’s a chance [Bergevin]’s going to be gone by Christmas.”