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Therrien hired by Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens executive vice president and general manager Marc Bergevin announced Tuesday the appointment of Michel Therrien as the club’s new head coach.

Therrien, 48, has coached an even 1,000 games in professional hockey (499 games in the NHL and 501 in the American Hockey League).

In his six-year tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, Michel Therrien started out as head coach of the clubs’ affiliate team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton from 2003 to 2005, before being promoted at the NHL level leading the Penguins to new heights from 2005 to 2009.

Therrien becomes the fourth former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach currently in the NHL, joining Todd Richards (Columbus), Dan Bylsma (Pittsburgh) and Mike Yeo (Minnesota).

In his first season in Wilkes-Barre, Therrien led the team to the Calder Cup Finals. He was promoted to Pittsburgh on Dec. 15, 2005, and in 2006-07, he was a finalist for the Jack Adams Trophy as NHL coach of the year after leading the Penguins to 105 points and a 47-point improvement over the previous season.

Therrien previously spent seven seasons as head coach in the Canadiens organization from 1997 to 2003, The Montreal native joined the franchise in June 1997 taking over behind the bench of the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate in Fredericton, and led the club to the conference finals in 1998-99. He won a division championship with the Quebec Citadelles in 1999-2000, and was on Nov. 20, 2000, he became the 25th head coach in Canadiens history.

In his playing days, Therrien was a solid defenseman who captured the Calder Cup in 1985 as a member of the Sherbrooke Canadiens.