Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Martin enters the Lions (of Winter) Den

Like any good Quebecois might dream of, Jacques Martin has spent a little time in the Florida Sun and now he’s back at home ready to get back to work.

Martin was announced by Bob Gainey as the next coach of Les Canadiens, returning to Eastern Canada from close to where his near Stanley Cup experiences were last realized.

It was only a few short years ago that Martin was leading the Ottawa Senators into the Stanley Cup final, a short visit that didn’t end so well with the Anaheim Ducks making quick work of what was supposed to be an invincible Senators line up.

During those formative years in Ottawa, Martin found increasing success with a fairly talented line up, the only blemish on what would have been a stellar career in the capital, the inability to see his club to final step, the hoisting of the Stanley Cup.

It was that lack of success in the playoffs that ultimately led to his departure from Ottawa, setting up shop in Florida as the team's General Manager, a stop that didn't change his luck when it came to playoff success.

So with the Canadiens have had similar problems in the last few years when it comes to post season action, Bob Gainey has decided that Martin's shortcomings of the past could be overcome in the future, offering him the opportunity to coach one of the league's most storied franchises.

It is a move that may in the long term find that long delayed success, dependent of course on the talent that Gainey provides for him. Though with a little patience and development Martin may find that these Habs will be to his liking.

The one constant tripping point in Ottawa was the goaltender position, a spot that constantly provided Ottawa and its fans with its greatest disappointments. While last season's final months were a nightmare for Carey Price, there still is enough raw potential there that with the right handling and the proper supporting cast, that Montreal's goal tending troubles may soon right themselves.

It would make for a welcome change for Martin, not to mention for Montreal fans, who after so many years wandering around the NHL wilderness, a spot not common to them, are finally ready for their team to take its next big step.

Gainey is hoping that with the addition of Martin behind the bench, some of those plans may finally be coming together. Though you have to wonder if considering the Habs current uncertain situation as far as ownership goes, if the decisions made today will resonate over the long term should new owners decide that a different path should be taken.

Of course, we suspect if that's the case, Mr. Gainey would probably no longer be part of the equation anymore, if Mr. Martin is wise, perhaps renting might be the best option for the short term, just to see how things shake out in the long term.

CBC Sports-- Getting defensive?

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