Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rumour Mill: Jaques Martin to Coach Habs

Wait, this is real.

Announcing Jaques Martin as head coach is just, well, boring. A big "so what?" To date, Gainey has at least been able to peek my interest in the team's developments. Sure, they haven't all worked out, but they've always had a waft of potential.

This move seems like a cop-out.

Jaques is a bit confusing: successful in the regular season, Choke-ahontus in the playoffs (not just Lalime's fault.) He helped develop Chara and Redden -- but completely botched Spezza, and didn't do anything with Bowemeester or Florida's young talent. He communicated well with some players, but was completely useless on others (Yashin, Spezza...)

Gainey went and found a guy who likes the coach and GM role, and is just a little bit worse than Gainey is; the only reason the Habs got to get 2 home games worth of playoff revenue was because they beat Florida head to head in the regular season.

Gainey made a right move in getting a veteran coach -- its time for some experience behind the bench. I would have much much much preferred Marc Crawford. A coach that wins in the playoffs, has dealt with young talent (see Tanguay and Hejduk, Sedin twins) and dealt with Franchise goalies (Roy and Luongo). He's firey, passionate, and can drive a team to win. (And his mom is French -- apparently he can speak the language.)

Maybe Gainey knows his team (team? what team?) isn't ready to win yet. Maybe Gainey is looking for a couple years of stabilizing, structured play that will give him a good base in order to fire Martin, and get a playoff coach. Or maybe is looking for someone to replace him -- much like Murray ousted Martin in Ottawa. Gainey gets out, feels the team is in steady hands with Martin, and then Martin gets to try and pick someone for coach.

Meanwhile, we sit in 8-11th place in the standings -- and are always crushed in the 2nd round of any playoff run.

In other news, I am glad Rollie is out; he hasn't had much luck in making a star goalie. He seems to be the guy for goalies who are confident and good to go, but I have never seen a Habs goalie break and then recover. They seem to break and stay broken, and all they talk about is "positioning". Rollie's time was done a couple years ago.

And no offence to the conditioning coach, but I'm glad he's out too. There have been a lot of injuries over the years, 2007-2008 the exception, and injuries come from conditioning and training. Or rather, the lack there of (*). Further, to go deep in the playoffs, the team must be in condition to do so... and the Habs haven't been. Their skating was pathetic by the end of last year.

I feel bad picking on the "little guys" behind the scenes -- surely they did their best! The players have to make it work! And this is true. These are good coaches that are gone. But let's see if fresh blood can get us a skating team with a goalie who can shake off a bad game.

Good luck to all the new coaches! From FAILING hands we pass the torch for you to hold high, and watch out for that cross-fire, lads!

(*) I'm talking about groin pulls and shoulder injuries and jammed wrists and sore backs -- twisted knees and head shots don't count -- and accidents always happen. But if you are fit and in shape, you'll be ready for late game hits, or awkward falls, or whatever.

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