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Canadiens’ Plan Seems Obvious After Martin St. Louis Named New Coach

The Montreal Canadiens have named Martin St. Louis as interim head coach after firing Dominique Ducharme on Wednesday.

After firing Dominique Ducharme on Wednesday, the Montreal Canadiens have made an interesting decision to bring in Martin St. Louis as the team’s next head coach. Despite having no NHL coaching experience, St. Louis was given the interim tag about an hour after news broke that Ducharme was out.

Related: Canadiens Fire Head Coach Dominique Ducharme

The Canadiens and general manager Kent Hughes released a statement on the hiring and said, “We are very happy to welcome Martin to the Canadiens organization.” Hughes added, “Not only are we adding an excellent hockey man, but with Martin we are bringing in a proven winner and a man whose competitive qualities are recognized by all who have crossed his path.”

Considering this is not a proven coach taking over and the Canadiens have overlooked a couple of qualified candidates in their coaching ranks internally, it appears the plan for this season is obvious: continue moving forward with the plan to be sellers, don’t place much emphasis on winning, but ensure the team competes, has fun and that the young stars have a voice that can push them in a positive direction while the team figures out its next move.

But What If St. Louis Does a Good Job?

One of the questions many will be asking now is, ‘What happens if this coaching change works?’ This is the same scenario that happened last season and it resulted in Ducharme getting a three-year extension. Granted, Ducharme had a little NHL-caliber coaching experience, and the Canadiens were expected to perform much better last year than they did until the postseason began. So too, few are expecting much out of the Canadiens this season. But, what if the Habs start winning?

Martin St. Louis Canadiens

Does that change their approach to the NHL trade deadline? Does that put St. Louis in a position to get an extension? He’s got no NHL head coaching experience to speak of and the Habs are already paying two head coaches outside of whatever deal they just struck with St. Louis. Can they really afford to make this mistake again?

Keep in mind, St. Louis will go from coaching youth hockey to being an NHL head coach. One has to think the Canadiens don’t envision giving him an extension and this is just a deal to finish out the season and a full-time head coach can be hired. At the same time, it doesn’t sound like the organization is ruling anything out. Elliotte Friedman is reporting, “To this point, Martin St. Louis is signed for the rest of the season. Sounds like the plan is to see how this goes, then talk at the end of the year about the future.”

St. Louis, along with executive vice-president of hockey operations, Jeff Gorton, and general manager, Kent Hughes will address the media on Thursday, February 10, 2022. It will be intriguing to see how many questions involve the long-term plans for the franchise.

Next: Tuukka Rask Likely Ending Comeback With the Boston Bruins



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