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Martin St-Louis, one more challenge

Martin St. Louis has had a phenomenal career as a player. Never drafted, he ended up earning his Hall of Fame spot with a Stanley Cup ring (2004), over 1,000 points (1,036) and over 1,100 games (1,134).

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The 46-year-old St. Louis native will now embark on a second career. And the challenge will be titanic. The former winger inherited the position of head coach of the Canadiens after the dismissal of Dominique Ducharme. In the aftermath of a stinging 7-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils, Ducharme turned into a sacrificial lamb for the Habs’ horrible 8-30-7 season.

St. Louis will find itself in the wolf’s mouth without a lot of coaching experience, at least in the NHL. He previously served in 2019 as an advisor to John Tortorella for the power play with the Columbus Blue Jackets.


Martin St-Louis on the ice rink named after him in the Sainte-Dorothée district of Laval.


Archive photo

Martin St-Louis on the ice rink named after him in the Sainte-Dorothée district of Laval.

Rick Nash shared the same locker room as St. Louis. He was with the Rangers for the Quebecer’s final two seasons in the NHL. Now the director of player development with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Nash doesn’t believe his inexperience will be a major obstacle.

“When I played with Martin in New York, he was already a hockey teacher,” Nash said in an interview with the Newspaper. He inspired me a lot. I’ve rarely met a guy as competitive as he is. He had returned to Columbus to assist on the power play. It was a short experience, but you could see he liked it. »

“Marty will be running the Montreal Canadiens, that’s big,” he continued. But if there’s one guy to take on this challenge, it’s him. I’m from the Toronto area, I know hockey is a different beast in Canada. Marty became a super star in the NHL at a time when recruiters didn’t even look at a player when he was under 6 feet tall. He spent his whole life proving people wrong not to believe in him. The Canadian is now one more challenge for him. »

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As Brind’Amour

Kent Hughes, the Habs general manager, had said he would be looking for a modern-day coach, a good communicator. If he had offered Ducharme a vote of confidence, just as Jeff Gorton had done recently, the new CEO chose to go with a new voice.

In St. Louis, Hughes opted for a coach in the mold of Rod Brind’Amour of the Carolina Hurricanes. In recent interviews, Hughes had said he was in love with Brind’Amour’s way of working.

“We are not only adding an excellent hockey head, but we are bringing in Martin a respected winner and a man whose competitive qualities are recognized by everyone who crossed his path,” Hughes said in a statement.

St. Louis has not signed a long-term contract with the CH. He will assume the duties of head coach on an interim basis. At the end of the year, Jeff Gorton, Hughes and St. Louis will discuss future plans again.

Several links

There are several paths that unite St. Louis to the two hockey patrons of the CH.

In his final NHL season with the Rangers in 2014-2015, St. Louis got to know Gorton well, who at that time was in an assistant GM role to Glen Sather.

Martin’s son Ryan plays for the Northeastern Huskies in the NCAA. They are the team of Jordan Harris and Jayden Struble, two CH hopefuls, but also the same formation as Jack Hughes, the boy from Kent. Jack is one of the top prospects for the 2022 draft.

Listen to Mario Dumont’s reaction during his current affairs review broadcast live every day 16 h via QB radio :

A man of defiance

Frantz Jean had just landed in Denver when he heard the news for St. Louis.

“It was just a three- or four-hour flight from Tampa to Colorado, but the hockey planet was moving quite a bit. Tuukka Rask announced his retirement with the Bruins, Dominique Ducharme lost his position with the CH and Martin replaced him. »

Jean, a goaltending coach with the Lightning since the 2010-2011 season, got to know the former No. 26 well. He wasn’t in shock.

“I’m not surprised to see him jump into the coaching circle,” Jean said. Newspaper. As a player, Martin was very cerebral. He was a machine physically and he had immense determination, but he always knew how to dissect opponents and he always communicated well with his teammates. In our team meetings, when we watched videos, he would often intervene, ask questions and suggest adjustments. »

“He doesn’t have a lot of experience of the job on a big stage, but he has lived. And he’s a guy who thrives on challenges. There are coaches who have never played in the NHL and they are among the best in the profession. I can think of Jon [Cooper] at home with the Lightning. »

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