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Flashback: Michel Therrien's unforgettable rant in Pittsburgh

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

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The Pittsburgh Penguins are in Montreal on Saturday night to face the Michel Therrien-led Canadiens, the top team in the Eastern Conference.

As you might remember, Therrien coached the Penguins for parts of four seasons between 2005-06 and 2008-09. Saturday's game will be the first time that he will coach against Pittsburgh since his firing in February 2009. The Penguins that season went on to win the Stanley Cup under their current coach, Dan Bylsma.

But Therrien received (and deservedly so) a lot of credit for helping to turn the Penguins' on-ice product around after some dreadful seasons earlier in the decade, demanding an attention to detail and defense. He led the team to the 2008 Stanley Cup Final (they lost to the Detroit Red Wings in six games).

It was a bumpy road before that, though. And during Therrien's first year in Pittsburgh -- after he took over for the fired Ed Olcyzk -- the Penguins had a brutal 41-game stretch from November through early March during which they lost 34 games.

That included a 1-17 stretch in parts of January and February 2006.

It was during that particular stretch of games where Therrien unloaded on his team after a particularly lifeless effort against the Edmonton Oilers (a 3-1 loss in early January) in what has to be one of the greatest postgame interviews in the history of professional sports. You can keep your Jim Mora and Mike Ditka meltdowns; I'll take this one.

It simply does not get any better -- and brutally honest -- than that. So many amazing things that are just too many to count. The annoyed sound effects. Calling his defense soft and wondering if their goal is to be the worst defense in the NHL. "Kovalchoo."

This is Therrien's second stint with the Canadiens (he also coached them from 2000-03), and his hiring this offseason received a lot of criticism (including from yours truly). But through their first 20 games, they have the best record in the East, holding a three-point lead over (fittingly) the Penguins.

There are still nine Penguins on the roster from the Therrien days in Pittsburgh: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik, Tyler Kennedy, Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke, the recently re-signed Mark Eaton, and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

(S/T Sam Kasan)

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