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Martin calls for the infamous Hook formation.
Last week, I wouldn’t have had to explain this one at all. Three consecutive wins, during which Carey Price allowed four goals, have pretty much saved Jacques Martin’s job at this point. Of course, the Canadiens are still only 4-5-2, so don’t believe for a second that troubled waters have passed.
To be fair, a lot of the expectations for Martin’s team are based upon their conference final appearance in 2010. That has completely overshadowed the fact that the team has won 51 percent of its games over the last two seasons, finishing eighth and sixth respectively.
Additionally, while it could be argued that Martin has fostered the emergence of James Wisniewski, P.K. Subban and Carey Price as stars, his system seems to have stifled his forwards. No player has scored 30 goals in Martin’s two years and only one has surpassed sixty points.
The last thing working against Martin is that he coaches for possibly the most prestigious club in the NHL. The only coaches to last four seasons behind the bench of Les Habitants since the Great Depression are Dick Irvin, Toe Blake, Scotty Bowman and Pat Burns. If any team has a better list, I can’t name them.
Recently, that leash has tightened. Guy Carbonneau was fired less than a year after leading the Canadiens to the best record in the East. Claude Julien was at 161 games behind the bench and had a winning record when he was fired in 2006. Jacques Demers was fired in 1995 after an 0-5 start, but barely more than two years after winning the Stanley Cup.
The point here is that Martin is right in that zone where Montreal coaches get the gate. His team bowed out early last year, failing to close out the Bruins, and has come out weakly this season. If they can’t continue to turn it around, Martin could be scanning the wanted ads.