Father knows best

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:14 AM ET

He's got his hands full with the teenagers, but the face of Pittsburgh Penguins coach Michel Therrien lights up in a hallway at Scotiabank Place when he talks about them.

Dealing with them can be part negotiation, part dictatorship, part head shake.

Curfews?

Bedtimes?

Dress code?

Makeup or no makeup?

Therrien coaches 19-year-old Penguins centre Sidney Crosby and 18-year-old forward Jordan Staal, but the most important teenagers in Therrien's world are 14-year-old Elizabeth and 13-year-old Charles.

Therrien, now divorced, fought for and won custody of his two teenage children.

NHL coach and single dad.

Now, that's a resume.

Why not juggle chainsaws and do brain surgery at the same time?

Therrien is a contender for the Jack Adams Trophy as coach of the year. He should probably win it, really, after guiding the Penguins to a 47-point improvement this season. That would be quite an honour to earn in his spare time.

"Beside everything else, (being a single parent) is the thing I'm most proud about," said Therrien yesterday. "Honestly. I'm capable of doing my job and I'm capable of raising my kids. That's my biggest challenge and it's the thing I'm most proud of."

When work takes Therrien away from home, as it does now, a nanny comes in to run the household.

He talks to his kids every day, of course.

When Therrien is home, the nanny leaves and he takes over running the family bench.

"When I'm at home, I'm the one who's taking care of them," said Therrien. "We have a great relationship. I have two wonderful kids who have to make adjustments in their life because their dad is a coach in the NHL," said Therrien.

FOUGHT GRANBY COACH

Maybe being the father of two teenage kids has mellowed Therrien behind the bench some.

Really, in comparison, which is more important?

This is a coach who, while coaching Laval of the QMJHL, marched around an arena under the stands to fight Granby coach Alain Rajotte. Therrien figured the security guards would stop them, but they instead held back the crowds, clearing a path.

"The freakin' security, it was like a wrestling match," Therrien told Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "They were holding people back and clearing a lane for us. So, a fight happened."

Therrien broke Rajotte's nose and got a 10-game vacation.

While coaching the Habs, Therrien's disputing a call by referee Kerry Fraser is blamed for the Canadiens going down to the Carolina Hurricanes in the playoffs in 2002.

Therrien got a bench minor with the Habs winning Game 3, the 'Canes scored on a 5-on-3 advantage and went on to win the game and the second-round series, which they had trailed at that point 2-1.

It was a mellow and smiling Therrien who faced the media yesterday in the wake of Wednesday's 6-3 Game 1 loss to the Senators.

"It's pretty simple. That was a bad day. Bad days happen," he said.

"We didn't have too many bad days through the course of our season or we wouldn't be here.

"This is a team that has bounced back after a fair performance and (Wednesday) was a bad performance.

'MATTER OF ATTITUDE'

"How are we going to react now? It's a matter of attitude."

Which is something the single dad seems to have down pat.

"We've been together for three years now," he said of Elizabeth and Charles. "It's a great thing for them that I'm in their life and it's a great thing for me that they're in my life.

"I need them and they need me."

There's what's important, right?


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