Don’t ask me about the news regarding Therrien’s firing on Sunday; I’m not quite sure it was the right thing to do.
The Penguins have been in this miasmic free-fall mode since December, though argueably you could make the case it started when Sergei Gonchar whacked his shoulder wrong in the first preseason game back in October. But is it really Therrien’s fault?
When Pittsburgh brought Michel in back in December of 05, the team was in a death spiral. Bottom of the league, scraping the leavings of better teams and barely making 47 points that year – a gift, if anything. He replaced Eddie Olczyk – another firing that I disagreed with – during Sid’s rookie year and got them through the rest of that horrendous season.
Two seasons later, Therrien’s helming a lightning squad with a top-4 power play into the Stanley Cup Finals and came within two victorys of watching the Pens hoist their third Cup. Instead, the team faltered, Detroit pounced, and it was over.
Still, Therrien was rewarded with a three-year contract extension and saw Shero work some contract magic to retain a solid core of players for the franchise that would make it a perennial contender for the Cup. Despite losing Hossa, Malone, Roberts, Conklin and others to the inevitable ‘salary cap cutdown.’ Hossa was the biggest loss, but that’s a rumination for another time.