Jacques Martin Fired: Why Montreal Canadiens Made Wrong Decision

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IDecember 17, 2011

WINNIPEG, CANADA - OCTOBER 9: Montreal Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin gives instructions on the bench during a game against the Winnipeg Jets in NHL action at the MTS Centre on October 9, 2011 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The game is Winnipeg's first NHL regular season game in 15 years. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)
Marianne Helm/Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens fired head coach Jacques Martin on Saturday, according to the team's official web site.

Randy Cunneyworth will take over the team as interim coach for the remainder of the season, and Larry Carrière will be one of his assistant coaches.

Cunneyworth will take over the job while respected coaches such as Randy Carlyle, Marc Crawford, and Michel Therrien are all available.

Martin was in his third season as Canadiens coach and led the team to the playoffs in each of his first two years at the helm, making the Eastern Conference Finals in 2010, and losing to the rival Boston Bruins in the first round last season.

This is an incredibly dumb move by the Canadiens. Martin is not the reason the team has struggled this season. The team has been hit hard by injuries to key players, especially on defense.

The Canadiens are sitting in last place in the Northeast division but are just two points out of second despite their injuries. They are also only two points away from a playoff spot. 

Martin has the Canadiens still in the playoff race despite a blue line decimated by injuries to important players such as Andrei Markov.

Since they team acquired defenseman Tomas Kaberle from the Carolina Hurricanes via trade last week, the team is 2-1 and Kaberle has played well.

There was no need to panic for the Canadiens.

Martin's offensive system had rarely been praised during his Canadiens tenure, and the team is currently 20th in the NHL with a scoring average of just 2.53 goals per game.

Brian Gionta, one of the team's best offensive players and captain, is out indefinitely with a lower body injury, which certainly hasn't helped the team's goal-scoring ability. Forwards Travis Moen, Scott Gomez, and Ryan White have all missed games this season as well.

General manager Pierre Gauthier did not make Martin's job leading the Canadiens to the top of the Eastern Conference an easy one. 

The team has little depth, no dominating offensive player, and the club is too dependent on star goaltender Carey Price to win games.

The Canadiens organization should really have thought about firing Gauthier and not Martin, the GM is the real problem here.

For the rest of the season, Gauthier's job will be on the line, and if he fails to mightily improve the team, he should be fired too.


Nicholas Goss is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and was the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals in Boston.