Don’t count me among those ready to throw Jacques Martin under the bus as a result of the Canadiens record of 1-5-2 that includes a current six-game losing streak. I am not convinced that firing the coach is going to make one ounce of difference. The answer lies with the 21 players in that locker room.
Now that we got THAT out of the way, let’s move on, shall we?
Through this gruesome stretch, Martin has, by and large, kept his cool and maintained a stiff upper lip. In fact, he’s flashed a keen sense of humour, on occasion, at a time when Canadiens’ fans haven’t had much to smile about. Yes, he did recently take a reporter to task when asked why he would give someone like Mathieu Darche power play time ahead of someone like Erik Cole. It was a reasonable question, and it was a reasonable, if somewhat testy answer, that was drenched in sarcasm when there was no need for it.
Yes, we know Darche has earned his ice time on the power play. Make the point, Coach, and move on. Martin delivered what I would term a backhanded apology the following day when he commended the same reporter for asking a “good question.”
Whatever. Forget the questions. What Jacques Martin is desperately looking for, are some answers. However, as he searches for answers in an effort to turn this club around, I take issue with something Martin pointed out the other day after a morning skate at Brossard: that two years ago, this team started off with a similar losing record. The inference being: Look how things turned out for THAT team.
Well, yes we know how things turned out for THAT team, thanks, in a large part, to the play of Jaroslav Halak. But Martin is way off base when he compares the early season struggles of the 2009-10 team what the current edition of this club is dealing with.
Two years ago, the Canadiens reported to training camp wearing name tags. It followed an off-season of upheaval that resulted in players like Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev being jettisoned in favour of the likes of Brian Gionta and Michael Cammalleri. It was certainly no surprise to me that the ’09-’10 version of this club needed time to gel. But this is year three for this core group of players brought in by then-GM Bob Gainey. The comparison is unfair. The expectations are higher this season, and rightly so. Yes, the team is dealing with injuries. All teams deal with injuries. So deal with them. That’s why general managers were invented.
The results, however, have been disastrous. So far.
However, let’s move on from this history lesson, shall we, and look ahead to the Flyers tomorrow night, the Bruins in Boston Thursday night, and the Bruins at the Bell Centre Saturday night. Jacques Martin is still the coach of this hockey club, last time I checked. it is up to each and every player in that locker room to show up and play for the coach and deliver an effort worthy of those big fat paychecks that each and every one of them receive.
Th 21,000 who shell out good money to watch these guys play hockey at the Bell Centre deserve no less, regardless of WHO is behind the bench.