If that isn't an issue to be dealt with immediately, it is certainly something that will grow with time. Brooks Orpik, the free agent defenceman who will be coveted by many teams after July 1, has told people he will not re-sign in Pittsburgh if Therrien is the coach. Jordan Staal, the terrific young player who lives in the shadow of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin -- but is poised to bust out as one of the most complete centres in hockey -- is another Therrien complainer.
It's no secret that Orpik and the Pens coaches --namely Therrien-- didn't always see eye to eye. Orpik had a wonderful playoffs, emerging as a valuable shot-blocking, hitting machine but he had rough season at times. Therrien made him a healthy scratch; including a trip to Boston, where Free Candy had family to watch him. Therrien put Orpik as a 4th line winger for a couple games.
But players and coaches don't have to be good buddies and go out for drinks after games. In fact, a little tension is probably a good thing.
Orpik pretty much flatly rejected the report that Therrien would be the deciding factor in whether or not he returns to the Penguins next season.
"My whole career I've never been best friends with the coach," Orpik said, responding to a Winnipeg Sun story suggesting he would not return to the Penguins if Therrien did. "I'm here to play. I've always had a good working relationship with my coaches. It's nothing personal.
"Would it prohibit me from coming back? No, not at all. I'm not here to have someone pat me on the back every day. That's obviously not something he does. He tries to get the best out of you. Those rumors, I don't know where they started. I don't see any quotes in those articles from me. That's mostly speculation, as far as I'm concerned."
Don't believe all the reports that Coach Therrien is holding this team back or there's a mutiny on board. Therrien coached a lot of this team in Wilkes-Barre and earned respect by turning a team in turmoil (thanks Edzo!) into a pretty effective systematic defensive unit.
Plus when you're the Penguins coach (or any coach) you need a good relationship with your captain. Especially when your captain is Sidney Crosby. Crosby, the consummate pro, is said to be pretty pleased with Therrien and hasn't grown tired of the gruff Frenchman's tactics.