Jacques Martin’s Time Has Come

Finally, Jacques Martin is gone as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens. The day has come. It took awhile, but yes, the target of so many of our complaints has been given his walking papers.

So long to Jacques, and I’m sorry to say I’m not feeling bad about this. I’m just surprised that it took the guys upstairs so long to do it?

Assistant coach Randy Cunneyworth picks up the slack. And hopefully picks up the slackers. Maybe now we’ll see some life injected into this sorry bunch.

The way the players played under Martin this year is inexcusable. Something had to change, and we all knew what it was. The guy had to go. Something had to be done to fix this mess, this sad-sack, middle-of-the-pack team riddled with underachievers. There seemed to be no life on the bench, often confusion on the ice, and all the while Mr. Martin studied his notes and played with line combinations.

More than any other beef about the team on this site has been about Martin. Even more than Scott Gomez. Across the board people said he had to go, and I always agreed. This is a big business, a gigantic business, and for ownership, making the playoffs and having a competitive team that makes the playoffs and brings in as many home games in the post season as possible is basically what it’s all about. With Martin at the helm, the team was going nowhere, and finally, and I stress the word “finally,” ownership and management came to their senses, got off their rear ends, and did what they should have done weeks or months ago.

But more than that, seeing the Montreal Canadiens, with their proud and glorious history and all they’ve stood for, looking lost and mediocre and pitiful, has been a horrific sight. Something no Habs fan can ever accept or sit still for. I personally have gone from bored to having my heart broken on far too many nights this year, and I’ve never been able to stomach seeing this team as only a shell of its former self.

Such a dismal display by this group under Martin. It’s been a boring and confused team, and I see and hear it all the time. With the lineup they have, with smallish guys with a history of being offensive guns – Plekanec, Cammalleri, Gionta, and yes, even Gomez, this should have been a tremendously exciting team, an offensive team swarming the ice and finishing with flair. Our great “next hope,” PK Subban has taken a step backward, and although the team has suffered bad luck injury-wise, we can’t expect Carey Price to save the day for us every night. What kind of hockey team is that?

Most have played almost half-dead, fans yawned and fidgeted in their Bell Centre seats, and us at home stared blankly at the screen as nothing happened almost all the time. Interest is down. We’re almost a laughing stock. And Gomez? Forget it. We’ve pretty well wiped our hands of this guy. He doesn’t deserve a place on this team, and he’s never deserved to wear the “A.”

This coach firing has made a lot of Habs fan happy. It’s what we’ve wanted, called out for, pleaded for. But by no means does this mean thing will change quickly, or even at all. It’s up to the players. These guys must shoulder much of the blame. I said in the beginning that if all, or at least most, were having good years on the ice, the Montreal Canadiens would be a force to be reckoned with.

But it’s only been a handful who have played well, while a huge handful should look in the mirror and tell themselves they haven’t been earning their big money, and they haven’t made the passionate, loyal Habs fans, the ones who pay the freight, happy at all. They’ve disappointed us to no end, and now, with Cunneyworth, it’s time for these underachieving so-called stars – Mike Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta to name three – to pull up their socks and contribute way more than they have.

This news that I woke up to, Martin fired, is good news. Excellent news. It’s a start. But now it’s up to the players to change things around. It’s unacceptable to wear the uniform of the Montreal Canadiens and not give your all.




26 thoughts on “Jacques Martin’s Time Has Come”

  1. Hey Dennis,Yes ,great news indeed I would think.Something had to be done as the Habs have a good team on paper,just not on the ice.I just wish,if I could have my Christmas wish early,that Kirk Muller was still around to take the job.Kirk is the best one in my opinion to run this team.

  2. I am not sure what all this changing of coaches is doing in the league the last while. I am not saying I am a JM fan but the Habs are only 2 points points out of 6th place. Do you think the Habs without Markov would be much higher. From seeing Kaberle for years in T.O he does run a pretty good PP but is very very soft in his own end…..The same rant goes on in T.O for Wilson’s hide…..I don’t think JM has lost the players in the dressing ??

  3. Leaf Fan, the players have been dead and confused from the get-go. Martin has not been able to motivate them, and yes, I believe he lost them a long time ago. There’s no excuse for so many underachievers on this team. A change was needed, no matter that they’re just a few points from moving up. This team, as is, was going nowhere fast. Martin had to go.

  4. I have to respectfully disagree with you LFIO. I think there was a big problem between some of the players and Jacques Martin failing or refusing to communicate with them on an effective level. Many players looked unhappy and disinterested and were just floating along – punching the clock at a job that made them feel miserable. Martin failed to motivate those players and many players left the team and played much better on other teams.

    Yes it’s true we are not that far down in the standings, but I believe we would continue to sink even lower with Martin in charge. Most of the people who frequent this site thought for sure that Montreal would have a great year and had the talent to be a Cup finalist even. Now just making the playoffs is in jeopardy. Yes injuries have been a factor but I think Martin has been responsible for the poor results so far so something had to give.

  5. Little slip of the tongue for Lars…English is his second language…

    Then again a Freudian slip of the tongue ….

  6. leaf fan
    2 points out of 6 place is an erroneous perception of reality. it is much more when you consider the 3 point system, the number of teams to climb over and stay over and games in hand. IMHO, and i have said this from day one, hiring jm was a big mistake…………. the habs without markov is comparable to the bruins without their best player and they won the cup, doing so by being a well coached team, playing a system that best suited the lineup and the players responding accordingly……….. there is not enough space on this blog or time left in the season to rehash all the blunders and retarded moves, and i’m delirious to be able to say this, the EX coach made. i can understand why you would want jm to stay, thus insuring the likelihood of hab failure and as far as the wilson rant in t.o. it is not comparable.

  7. Thank goodness something was done. I might even be inspired to blog about them again. All I was feeling was indifference. I couldn’t even get excited on game days. It was always two steps forward one step back. Just awful. I have to agree with Pierre McGuire (as much as it pains me). This team was designed for ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK!. No more sitting on leads in the third and hanging on for dear life. And please for the love of God, no more dump and chase, ESPECIALLY during a powerplay.

  8. It’s a good day, Moey. The first day of the rest of the Habs season. Finally we might have some change, and you and I and so many were just sick of the way things were going. This firing should have happened sooner.

  9. Hobo, that’s right – two points of out six and just a few from the very basement. So it’s a distorted look at things. I’ve been just sick of the way this team has looked and getting rid of this guy has to change things for the better. I think he lost his players too. There seemed to be no enthusiasm. Now the players have to do their part too. And about this Gomez fellow……..

  10. I was just basically musing on the number of coaching changes in the last month for the league. I guess its the old story of its easier to change the coach than the whole team. In the case of JM it was probably due as he does employ a very boring system to top things off. As far as the Montreal lineup … they seem to always be able to do damage in the playoffs….

    Is Cunneyworth bilingual ?…just curious

  11. @LFIO, Cunneyworth is not bilingual but nobody is going to care about that if he wins the Stanley Cup. I think the language issue is overblown by a few members of the media both in Quebec and the rest of Canada. The real Habs fans don’t care what language the coach speaks so long as he knows how to make the team win.

  12. I look back at the tone of this blog and it has been pretty negative for a long time. Not negative,more frustrating. I know for myself, I have written more rants and criticisms than compliments to the players or JM. I think we areindicative of what was felt in the dressing room. JM’s attitude isn’tpersonable at all. In fact, he looks like someone people don’t like being around. For a coach, we need someone who can inspire, someone people like being around. I don’t know if Randy is that guy. He does lackexperience but what the hell. My biggest criticism of JM is his lack of a winning record. He has a couple of conference championships but no cup. End story. Gainey has hurt the habs more than JM by a long shot.

  13. This is only part one. They need a major re building program. A couple of superstars, a couple of big guys who can stand in front and let Subban rush the puck without any reprecussions for the odd mistake. Let’s get his swagger back. The only untouchables are Price, Subban and Pacioretty.

    They cannot compete with the big boys. There are too many small players.

    I want a top 5 scorer on this team. We all agree that we need some system of defence but not New jersey style.

  14. It is hard to find 2 superstars number one because you almost have to finish dead last like Edmonton to have a chance .Getting them as a free agent is next to impossible because a team will only let a star go if they know he is on the down side….
    Everyone wants 2 big tough wingers that can score ..again hard to get as everyone wants them…

    It all starts in the draft with excellent scouts stocking the system with the “appropriate players”…..

    My Leafs are also on the small side upfront and cannot compete along the boards with the big boys like the Canucks,Bruins and Flyers..

  15. Finally. I think the upcoming long road trip makes this a great time for this change. We can’t afford to drop any lower in the standings and still make the play-offs. It’s considered poor etiquette to fire a coach on the road. This trip will give Cunneyworth some time with the team away from the Montreal media. I hope Cunneyworth has read Moey’s comment and will give us an exciting team to cheer for.

    As Danno wrote, Cunneyworth only has a bit of high school French. Although he says he’s going to try to learn, I doubt it will be a serious attempt. Some will complain but I agree with Danno, as long as the team wins it won’t be an issue. But as soon as they slump, people will start to point out his lack of French communication. Has there been an English-only Canadiens head coach since Al MacNeil? Despite a Stanley Cup win it didn’t last long or end well.

  16. I am happy that Martin is gone. I must have yelled and jumped like a mad man for about 20 minutes after I heard the news.

    One part of the problem has been fixed. There are two more problems to address though. The first is that Gauthier needs to go and the second is that we need to dump the baggage on this team. These problems will probably be addressed at the end of the season so we may have to prepare ourselves for more of the same old stuff.

    Now with a new coach in charge we may get a lot better and we may not. It’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks when a new system is in place. Maybe Cammy will find his touch again, and possibly Gionta will as well. Hell, maybe Gomez may turn it around! (Just kidding).

    We’ve made some positive steps and that’s great – starting with the best steps so far (getting Cole and getting rid of Martin) – but we aren’t there yet.

    We just need a little more patience and I think all the pieces will fall into place.

    I am so happy the guy is gone. God – he gets a 1 million dollar bonus for being fired!

  17. Good post Dennis. Thought I would click in long enough to say that. 🙂

    It was time for a change IMO. Past time. Whether the change rights the ship, however, remains to be seen.

  18. @ sandy………. they did not go out and hire randy to coach, he was already there and has taken over on an interim basis. if they feel the right guy is not available now, it is the safest thing to do………..cunneyworth has the rest of the season to strut his stuff and take french lessons and hopefully not do the same things as the man who apparently trained him.

  19. Hi AC. It sure was time for a change. And a few others as well. When I’m owner, things will be different.

  20. Close proximity to Jacques should have taught Randy what not to do.
    Goal scored against you, don’t look at a piece of paper and just roll the next line.
    Bad penalty called against you, don’t ignore the referee and don’t put Cammalleri out on PK.
    Get a PP, don’t put out Darche because he once scored a power-play goal in the minors.
    Players on ice are tired and lost, don’t not call a time-out to regroup.
    Gomez playing terrible, don’t ruin the top line with him.
    Subban makes a bad play, don’t bench him in favour of someone who will make two.
    Power-play not working, don’t spend practice trying new line combinations.
    A line finally starts working well, don’t break it up.
    Have a lead, don’t just try to hang on for the rest of the game.
    Shoot-out not working, don’t tell them to repeat same lame move.
    Lose a game against a far weaker team, don’t just accept the loser point.
    Don’t have the exact same non-reaction to losses as wins.

  21. Nice comments, Christopher. You said it all and I can’t add to that. I’m glad you’re on my management team.

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