Saturday, 13 September 2014

Newsflash: Michel Therrien wins a popularity contest! Fans polled are satisfied with his and Marc Bergevin's work.

Le Journal de Montréal offers today, aside from breathless reports about Jean Béliveau and his arrest in Ottawa last night at the wheel of a rented Porsche, the results of a poll among Canadiens fans.  There are lots of articles about various questions and the numbers, but the one I jumped to is the popularity question for GM Marc Bergevin and Head Coach Michel Therrien.

I sometimes address the 'Two Solitudes' question, and try to make the point that what rages as controversy on Habs Inside Out and Hockey's Future boards isn't necessarily so for all fans, specifically franchophone supporters of les Canadiens.  In this matter, we can see that dichotomy.

For Marc Bergevin, 79% of respondents claim to be satisfied with the job he's done so far, and Michel Therrien gets an even better grade of 84%.  

Now the methodology is unclear, I can't find how the poll was conducted beyond the fact that Sondages Léger did the work and asked 1000 respondents, and it's almost certainly not a poll of french-speaking fans only, but we can assume they're the vast majority, Le Journal probably being more interested in reporting on fans in Québec rather than those far-flung fans in Whistler, Sydney and Turku.

And the numbers couldn't be more clear.  I don't know what the results to the same question may have been when Michel Therrien was first hired, it was generally greeted as good news as best I can remember it, but there was a significant undercurrent of unease, for a lot of the same reasons we bat around on HIO: his gruff, sometimes inarticulate manner, his coaching style that prefers effort to talent or mostly anything else, and his checkered history and track record.

But after two seasons of surprisingly good results, it seems the fans have come to the conclusion that the coach might know what he's doing and have the team pointed in the right direction.  

This concords with all the public pronouncements from the players.  Many reporters have tried to get an Andrei Kostitsyn moment out of one of them, to get a player to whine about his icetime or the style employed, but they overwhelmingly parrot that their coach is doing a good job and they love to play on their team.

Like many fans I had strong qualms when Michel Therrien was announced as the head coach, but I must surrender to the evidence, and say that he has my confidence.  Until the team starts to underdeliver.

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