Amid the worst run of any Montreal Canadiens team in 76 years, general manager Marc Bergevin said head coach Michel Therrien will not be fired.
Bergevin expressed confidence in Therrien at a press conference Thursday, saying Therrien’s job is safe for the remainder of the season.
“It’s been a hard time for all of us, but I believe in Michel Therrien and his coaching staff,” Bergevin told reporters. “Nobody is going anywhere. Michel knows he has to make the players better and he works at it every day. That’s what I love about Michel Therrien.”
Thursday’s statement isn’t exactly a surprise, considering Bergevin signed Therrien to a four-year contract extension less than two years ago, locking him up through the 2018-19 season. Bergevin doubled down on Therrien with that extension, so firing him now would put a stain on Bergevin’s record.
The Canadiens have been in absolute free-fall since Hart Trophy-winning goaltender Carey Price went down with injury on Nov. 25. Montreal held a seven-point lead in the Atlantic Division on the morning on his injury.
Since then, the Habs have won just four times in regulation. They are 4-16-1 in their last 21 games, compiling half as many points as the next worst NHL team in that timespan, and bouncing entirely out of the playoff picture.
The prolonged slump it isn’t solely on Price’s replacements, Mike Condon and Ben Scrivens. Montreal’s scoring has fallen off a cliff.
“We have to find a way to win without Carey Price,” Bergevin said. “That’s a fact.”
While a few other struggling teams, such as Anaheim and Nashville, have made trades in attempt to pull them out of their tailspins, Bergevin said he will not “sacrifice the future of the team for success in the short-term.”
“I’m not a person that panics,” Bergevin said in French, according to colleague Pierre LeBrun.
For now, the picture looks relatively bleak in the short-term for Montreal. Bergevin said Thursday that Price has not suffered a setback, but his rehab has “been slower than expected.”
Price may be out for another three weeks or a month, Bergevin said, and there is no firm timeline for his return.
Frank Seravalli can be reached at email@example.com.