Jacques Martin Hired As Montreal Canadiens Head Coach

Kevin van SteendelaarAnalyst IJune 1, 2009

SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 16: General manager Jacques Martin of the Florida Panthers hockey team smiles after newly named head coach Peter DeBoer signed his contract with the Panthers at the BankAtlantic Center June 16, 2008 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)

The Montreal Canadiens have begun a new direction with their coaching staff.

In a press conference this afternoon, general manager Bob Gainey introduced Jacques Martin as the team's new head coach.

Martin has spent the last five years in the Florida Panthers organization but began as a coach with the Ottawa Senators.

His departure now leaves a GM opening in Florida.

He ranks in the NHL's top 10 all-time coaching leaders with 1098 games coached (8th) and 517 wins (9th).

Although no mention was made as to the fate of associate coaches Kirk Muller and Doug Jarvis, there is speculation that former coach Mario Tremblay could return as an assistant and that Jacques Lemaire's name is being floated as consultant.

Gainey said that Martin would meet with both Jarvis and Muller in the near future.

One certain coaching change is the dismissal of goaltending coach Roland Melanson.

Many felt that the less than expected performance Carey Price contributed to the coach's departure.

Names being passed on already include Phil Myre, who has worked for Martin before, and Senator's goalie coach Eli Wilson. Wilson could be a front runner as he was a personal instructor for Price in the past.

Martin was also questioned on the possibilities of the Canadiens acquiring the Panthers pending, UFA defenceman Jay Bouwmeester.

Though he wouldn't comment on the subject, there was a grin on the face of the new coach.