Montreal Canadiens: Brossard is Under New Management

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Montreal Canadiens: Brossard is Under New Management
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

After the first five games, there seems a great deal of grumbling among the faithful in Habsland.  "Different players, different coach, same result" is a popular refrain.

Indeed, it may be difficult to distinguish any difference for those who only check the box score, or are otherwise casual observers.   But make no mistake, this version of the Canadiens is a different team with a very different coach.

Last season, when attending a Habs practise, one got the sense of a team going through the motions.  A Carbonneau-led practise lacked structure and was mostly without purpose.  As Guy Carbonneau admitted last March, he didn't know what to do to get players motivated.  Even before he spoke those words, it was widely apparent that coach Carbonneau had run out of ideas.

Jacques Martin is an experienced coach, something that the Canadiens have been missing for a very long time.  Martin clearly believes that working hard in practise is essential for game success.

Martin was in a snarly mood at practise in Brossard this morning.  It didn't take long for Georges Laraque to be the recipient of his wrath.  To a much lesser extent, Martin also had a few words for Andrei Kostitsyn.  The practise took on a decidedly serious tone afterwards.

The drills mapped out by Martin and assistant coach Perry Pearn were mostly high-tempo, and addressed areas of concern over the first five games.  They included zone breakouts; dump-ins and puck retrieval; and forwards going to the net for screens, deflections and rebounds.

Travis Moen played on the first line with Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta.  Tomas Plekanec centered Andrei Kostitsyn and Mike Cammalleri.  Max Pacioretty lined up with Max Lapierre and Guillaume Latendresse.  Kyle Chipchura, Georges Laraque, and Matt D'Agostini made up the fourth line.

Glen Metropolit, still suffering from a rib injury, was not on the ice.

Greg Stewart found himself wearing a white jersey to fill the spot of the sixth defenseman.

For the last 20 minutes of the 75 minute practise, Martin timed his players as they skated figure eights on the Brossard ice surface without a water break.  All players were tired at its completion, but Chipchura seemed to be laboring more than most.

Afterwards, it was being reported that coach Martin was non-committal about who would fill the sixth defensive spot.  Yannick Weber could return as his trip to Hamilton was for cap reasons.  Martin wasn't sure whether Marc-Andre Bergeron would be a good fit at this time.  Shawn Belle is also a possible candidate for call-up from the Bulldogs.

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