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Quick Shifts: The one stat Brent Burns cares about

Sportsnet logo Sportsnet 2017-02-17 Luke Fox

A quick mix of the things we gleaned from the week of hockey, serious and less so, and rolling four lines deep.

1. I don’t have the energy to look it up, but I bet the list of head coaches fired 14 days after coaching in the NHL All-Star Game is a short one.

Had a chance to speak with Michel Therrien twice over that weekend and was taken by how appreciative he was of the honour, how accommodating he was with his time.

Say what you will — and I was certainly of the mind Marc Bergevin should’ve fired him after/during the 2015-16 tire fire — but this is a man who understands the game is larger than him, and he was getting good results out of a flawed and oft-injured roster this season.

“Yes, I’m the one here, but it [represents] the great circle and dedication we’ve got this year from our players,” Therrien said that weekend in L.A.

“Before anything, we all grew up as a fan. If you’re a player, a coach, a reporter—we’re all fans of the game.

“I remember in my childhood I skipped school to go see the Stanley Cup parade in Montreal and didn’t tell my parents. We’re all fans.”

He laughed at the memory.

“We’ve got a chance to make a living and be part of the NHL. I think we’re fortunate to be part of that.”

2. More Therrien from my notebook.

On Sidney Crosby, newest member of the 1,000 Point Club: “He’s going to be 30 this year, eh? Times go fast.

“I got a chance to work with the guy when he was real young. He impressed me at 18. At 19 he won the scoring title. I was impressed.

“But I’ve been watching his games [lately], and he’s on top of his game. You’re talking about maturity, understanding the game, every aspect of the game—he’s the best player in the game as far as I’m concerned.”

Therrien also said he was cheering the Penguins on during their Cup run last spring and takes a small measure of pride from that championship, knowing he played a part in their early development: “I was always really happy for them.”

On the Maple Leafs: “I believe this is the team of the future. With the young kids they have, they’re playing really well, playing with confidence.”

On the possibility of a Montreal-Toronto playoff series for the first time since 1979: “Players feel it. Both cities feel it. It’s always fun to be a part of it. From a fan standpoint, Toronto-Montreal would be a unique situation, really special…. Eventually it’s going to happen.

On whether captain Max Pacioretty should’ve been named to his first All-Star Game: “He’s doing a phenomenal job as a leader. He’s better surrounded this year. We have guys who bring leadership to our group. I’m talking about Shea Weber and Andrew Shaw. I feel like a better coach this year because we added Kirk Muller. You want to be well surrounded. Myself and Patch are certainly better surrounded. Do I believe he should’ve been [an all-star]? Of course.

“He’s got a ton of character. He didn’t want to miss any games [with a hairline foot fracture in November]. He missed only a few practices, not much. It shows dedication.”

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