Michel Therrien's tenure as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins has been pretty successful in terms of wins and losses. He inherited a team that was, for the most part, a disaster during the 2005-06 season, and in the years since has guided the Penguins to a pair of playoff appearances, a division title, and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. Not bad. Still, it seems he's always in the doghouse of Penguins fans, and, perhaps, hockey fans in general.
Sure, you could use the argument that he's coaching a team that has two of the three best players in the world and an emerging No. 1 goaltender, all of whom have yet to reach their peak potential, and that anybody could just sit back and watch them win games on talent alone. You could use that argument.
You could also counter that argument by saying his team has consistently been decimated by injuries the past two years -- including losing Sidney Crosby for 30 games a season ago, not to mention extended injuries to Marc-Andre Fleury in each of the past two seasons. And that doesn't even get into the defensemen -- and that, through it all, the team has still won hockey games. A lot of hockey games, actually.
Of course, those would be excuses. And Therrien doesn't like excuses. Not one bit. Take, for example, his post game press conference following the Penguins' latest home defeat on Tuesday night.
"The schedule is pretty tough. We just played four games in six days. Those are excuses," he said. "We don't have the right attitude. We like to complain about each other on the bench and on the ice. They better wake up pretty quick. ... I'm really disappointed with their work ethic and the concentration. Until they change their attitude, we are going to have the same results. If I had an hour, I could sit down," he said. "But, I don't have an hour. There are a lot of things I don't like, a lot of things."At that point, Therrien simply walked away from the podium, ending the press conference. Regardless of what you think of the man as a coach, there's no denying that he speaks what's on his mind, and in terms of the comedy factor, it can be downright hilarious at times. Who could forget this gem following a 3-1 loss to Edmonton during his first year on the job in Pittsburgh:
In my mind, that's still one of the best coaching meltdowns ever. And while Tuesday's presser can't really touch that one, the message is delivered loud and clear. I think. I hope.