When Jacques Martin signed with the Montreal Canadiens, he said he’s a defensive coach.
A defensive coach whose team allows a blitzkrieg of shots and inexcusable loose play almost on a nightly basis.
It’s enough to confuse Confucius. This is a team that needs to tighten up.
And yes, as they say, his post-game interviews could make drivers fall asleep at the wheel.
Add to it the fact that if it wasn’t for Jaroslav Halak and his legendary three rounds of sparkling playoff performance last year, as reader Mathman points out, Jacques Martin’s showing as coach of the Montreal Canadiens has been no better than dismal and mediocre. The team barely squeaked into those magical playoffs in the first place.
But regardless of a coach not doing a good job, the fact remains that he can’t go out on the ice and do the job for the players.
Opposing players are left wide open in front of the net and should be cleared away like a snowplow plowing. Hal Gill and Ryan O’Byrne especially should be playing the role of extremely angry young men who take no prisoners. The crease should be where men fear to tread. Instead, all too frequently, players on other teams just keep pounding away looking for loose pucks which often find their way to the back of the net.
Martin can’t control it when one of his players shoots the puck over the glass and gets the team in penalty trouble. He’s not on the ice when a phantom penalty is called in the last two minutes of the game and an infraction to the other team isn’t in overtime, who then quickly skate away with a win that sends daggers through our hearts.
And it’s not his fault when important players are felled by injury.
What Martin can do is not use players who don’t deserve to be used – and there’s a few in this category, and demand that tougher players like Travis Moen charge the net like a wounded animal. We don’t want a team of sweethearts, we want a combination of sweethearts and rough tough rotten bastards.
I don’t think there’s a team in the league that is intimated by the Habs. Others might be wary of the Habs’ speed and trickiness, but when it comes to the physical stuff, it’s a non-issue. Say what you want about Maxim Lapierre being what he is, but at least he plays with an edge.
There’s also a delicate line to be walked between trying to curb some of PK Subbans exhuberance while allowing the kid to also play the only way he knows how.
Martin’s been coach for not just three games but a previous 82 games and playoffs, and we’re still waiting to see a brilliant stategist arise from behind the bench. But the wait might be a long one.
I don’t know. Can we wait?