The Montreal Canadiens have turned to Claude Julien as head coach in an attempt to avert another collapse, the NHL team announced.
Michel Therrien, who had coached Montreal the last five seasons, was relieved of his duties on Tuesday in the bizarre midseason swap, which comes as the Canadiens have lost 10 of their last 13 games.
Julien had been on the market for a week after he was sacked by the Boston Bruins on February 7.
Ironically, the Canadiens lost to the Bruins and Julien's successor Bruce Cassidy in a listless 4-0 decision on Sunday, likely setting in motion Therrien's long-rumoured ouster.
"The decision to remove Michel from his coaching duties was a difficult one because I have lots of respect for him," Canadiens general Marc Bergevin said in a release. "I came to the conclusion that our team needed a new energy, a new voice, a new direction.
"Claude Julien is an experienced and well respected coach with a good knowledge of the Montreal market. Claude has been very successful as an NHL coach and he won the Stanley Cup. Today we hired the best available coach, and one of the league's best. I am convinced that he has the capabilities to get our team back on the winning track."
Therrien had Montreal atop the Atlantic Division, but the season, buoyed by a hot start, was beginning to enter a freefall similar to the one that kept the club out of the playoffs a year ago.
Montreal's talented roster suddenly could not score, averaging just 2.07 goals per game in the 13-game slump, including three shutouts in their last five outings.
The main difference between last year's collapse on the makings of an rerun is the presence of goalie Carey Price, who was injured most of last season, and defenseman Shea Weber, who was in Nashville then.
Price's play especially has dipped off significantly since 2016 turned to 2017, having allowed three or more goals in 11 of his last 16 starts.
Therrien, hired for a second stint with the Canadiens in 2012, was said to have lost the locker room. And with the success shown by teams who recently fired their coaches - the St Louis Blues are 5-1 under Mike Yeo, who replaced Ken Hitchcock February 1; the Bruins are 3-0 with Cassidy — the time to make a move to salvage the season was now.
Therrien finished his encore run in Montreal with a 165-107-32 record, but failed to build on the franchise's Eastern Conference finals appearance in 2012-2013, his first season.
Julien, 56, coached the Bruins to a 419-246-94 record during his 10 seasons in Boston, including a Stanley Cup title in 2010-11.
But his tenure came undone as the Bruins started the season 26-23-6, an unacceptable ledger given the team's back-to-back seasons of missing the playoffs.
To begin his Montreal trial, Julien will inherit all of Therrien's assistants, who were retained by the club.
|ECB hopes new T20 competition can be ´most dynamic tournament in world cricket´|
|Efficient Giroud still a favourite for France boss Deschamps|
|Dustin Johnson pulls out of Shell Houston Open|
|Koke wanted inside track on Mbappe - Griezmann|
|Raiders´ move to Las Vegas approved by NFL owners|
|De Boer will not be next Netherlands coach, says agent|
|Liverpool great Fowler expects Merseyside derby dominance to continue|
|Spieth tees off with comeback king Brady ahead of Masters redemption bid|
|Ademi doping ban reduced to two years|
|Aguero dropped by severely depleted Argentina|
|Manchester City fined £35,000 by FA|
|Ryan poised to leave Munster for Racing|
|Real Madrid great Raul won´t rule out shock Barcelona move|
|France could take over world football - Wenger wowed by next generation|
|Dickwella to miss rest of ODI series with fractured hand|
|Warner put too much pressure on himself - Hick|
|Thierry Henry on Kylian Mbappe: Ooh la la!|
|Ireland loss could be blessing in disguise for England, says Robinson|
|Valencia appoint Alemany as CEO|
|Vettel and Ferrari renaissance gives Mercedes food for thought and F1 excitement again|
|Redskins president: Firing GM McCloughan right thing to do|
|Barcelona´s Arda suffers groin injury on Turkey duty|
|Rockets´ Beverley: Resting is ´b******t´|
|For once, I beat Allegri! - Sarri thrilled to be honoured as Serie A´s best coach|
|Western Force deny rumours they will be cut from Super Rugby|
|Paying Lukaku £250,000 a week would be ´an absolute bargain´|
|Only Griezmann can decide his future, says Gameiro|
|We couldn´t have asked for more - Ashwin ecstatic as India close in|
|Barcelona will monitor Dybala but deal ´very difficult´|
|India on course for series victory over Australia after dramatic day in Dharamsala|
|Eusebio: I would reject Barcelona|
|Brailsford´s marginal gains ´a load of rubbish´, claims Wiggins|
|Ribery turned down ´every big club´ for Bayern stay|
|Wales will find a way to win without Gareth Bale, Coleman claims|
|Mixed emotions as Raval again misses out on maiden century|
|I should have put rugby on the backburner - Aaron Smith opens up on airport incident|
|Koeman ´undoubtedly capable´ of managing Netherlands|
|Defoe in the running for World Cup spot, says Southgate|
|Elbow trouble takes its toll as Tait retires from all cricket|
|Murray likely to miss Davis Cup quarter-final|
|Umtiti hopes to get one over Barcelona team-mates as France host Spain|
|Bale slammed by O´Neill for ´very poor challenge´|
|Williamson equals Crowe record as New Zealand dominate|
|Postecoglou hints at changes for Socceroos|
|Warriors win seventh straight, Rockets beat Thunder|
|Marquinhos: Brazil united and humble under Tite|
|Nadal, Nishikori advance as injured Raonic withdraws|
|Nadal happy to silence doubters after 1,000th match|
|Ozil expects decision on Arsenal future ´soon´|
|Kerber, Halep ease into last 16 at Miami Open|
|Kante: I wanted to join Marseille|
|Johnson claims Match Play title to become first to win all four WGC events|
|Nadal celebrates 1,000th match with hard-fought win in Miami|
|Larson stays red hot with Auto Club 400 win|
|Defoe plays like he´s 25 - Lallana lauds legend after England goal return|
|A dream that came true - Netherlands´ Blind proud of sacked father|
|Henry: Replacing Wenger as Arsenal manager? I don´t know|
|Uncapped Laporte replaces injured Rami in France squad|
|Stade put strike behind them with Toulon win|
|Chelsea star Costa suffers injury scare in Spain training|
|Ward and Washington set the tempo - O´Neill|
|Back injury scare for Manchester City´s Sterling in England win|
|Long talked Coleman through broken leg with pregnancy breathing techniques|
|´Last man standing´ - Hart proud to take England armband|
|Points takes Puerto Rico prize|
|Scotland 1 Slovenia 0: Late Martin winner eases pressure on Strachan|
|Northern Ireland 2 Norway 0: O´Neill´s men cruise into second|
|Teenager Shadab stars as Pakistan beat sorry Windies|
|Vinales victorious in ding-dong battle with Dovizioso|
|Netherlands sack Blind after Bulgaria loss|