First-place Canadiens fire Michel Therrien, hire Claude Julien

By Michael Dixon

In a slump and looking for a change, the Montreal Canadiens have fired head coach Michel Therrien and replaced him with Claude Julien.

In one respect, it’s hard to make much sense out of this. NHL head coaches getting fired is not new. Julien was fired by the Boston Bruins earlier in February. What is unique is that the Canadiens are a first-place team in the Atlantic Division. Generally speaking, first place coaches aren’t fired in-season.

But in another respect, it adds up. The Habs are in first place, but that speaks to the division they play¬†in as much as anything. The Habs have the fewest points of any of the NHL’s four division leaders.

Montreal’s standing is also¬†attributed to a hot start. The Canadiens started the season 13-1-1, earning 27 of a possible 30 points. Since then, the Habs are only 18-18-7. In February, they’re 1-5-1.

This was Therrien’s second stint coaching Montreal. Since taking over for the 2012-13 season, he’s compiled a 194-121-37 record. This will mark Julien’s second stint with the Canadiens. He previously coached the Habs for three seasons. Under Julien’s watch, the Bruins won the 2011 Stanley Cup.