Canadiens fire Martin as Head Coach.

Various sources today report the Montreal Canadiens have fired head coach Jacques Martin, replacing him with assistant coach Randy Cunneyworth until the end of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I confess to being surprised by this, not because I didn’t think the Habs shouldn’t shake things up behind the bench, but rather I thought GM Pierre Gauthier would stick with Martin for a little while longer to see if the team would snap out of its funk. I also thought they’d cite injuries as a reason to avoid replacing him now. Regardless, Habs fans are likely rejoicing, but it remains to be seen if Cunneyworth will be an improvement. If the Habs do rally and finish strong this season, the job could become his on a full-time basis.


  1. Yeah, I’m with the chorus of Habs fans saying “It’s probably a good thing but a couple of weeks too late”. I feel pretty sure they imagined Muller as the next coach and then he was snatched up by the Canes. Is Cunneyworth the answer? Time will tell. But I think the answer is getting rid of some of these contracts, or finding a GM who isn’t afraid to.

  2. Cunneyworth did a real good job coaching in Rochester – he is a good, hard working coach and I think Hab fans will be happy with him.

  3. Cunnyworth will, at least, be able to express his views on the team now and move in a different direction. You pay goal scorers to score. Not sit back all the time. But they need to back check harder. Price has a poor showing about every 4 games and the flyers wasn’t his best but the team has to clear the front better and Cammy HAS TO SCORE AND DIG. The longer he uses one hand on the stick no contact forechecking the long that his line is line 2a and not line 1b. I think the pacioretty line is awesome, the D is coming together, now that line has to get on a roll so they can be in the top 8 with pressure on the other teams. Goo healthy would be nice too. Anyways, I was hoping for Roy or Hartly but I guess we see what this is about. He had AHL success so that’s usually a good sign. He will have the respect of the younger players for sure

  4. The Habs will be improved (not saying how much, but better) with Cunnyworth if he simply plays the hot hands. Martin put to much focus on the vets rather than on who was really going in a game IMO.

    I think PG is hamstrung by some of the contracts but that should get sorted with the next CBA buy out. What he REALLY needs to do is to stop looking or accepting fair trades and look to gourge other teams if the opportunity is there. He could have pushed the Blues for a little more out of the Halak trade (a pick), the Kaberle trade (2nd or at least a 3rd), and given less in the Gomez trade (not that that one was all on him). basically it seems to me that pG does not fully appreciate to value added that cap relief has for a team. The Canes and Rangers not only traded players but also freed cap space which equals a player in future. That has value.

    Either way, I’m not sure this move puts the Habs in the playoffs but it needed to be done.

    @northby: Good call on Muller.

  5. This is the same kind of move as firing Pearn, it’s a band-aid to relieve pressure off of Gauthier. So they had Muller, and Cunneyworth was promoted from Hamilton. Why wasn’t Muller named coach of the Bulldogs? Instead they let him go to Milwaukee. Hab’s fans should figure it out and let the organization know that they want the best coach available, not just a francophone.
    Yes, Martin’s time had come. I mean, Thursday versus the Flyers, LeBlanc gets his first goal and a standing O, and yet his time on ice is limited to 4:21. Don’t you think the kid was motivated by that reaction? Shouldn’t he have gotten more ice time? Martin just didn’t seem interested in coaching this year. But ultimately it all rests on Gauthier. Clearly it’s time for the Habs to clean house at the upper level as well.

  6. I understand some people will think GM Gatuthier is the real responsible for this situation, but let’s face some facts:

    -Martin’s stats with the Habs hasn’t been what they should in regular season, and this since the begining
    -Some (very well payed) key players were not performing as much as expected
    -Young talents such as Subban or Eller did not improve under is coaching
    -Several questions remained unanswered on day to day basis regarding the ice time of some players
    -It seemed to many that players status was no longer a “meritocracy”

    It is a smart move on Gauthier’s behalf. He’s giving a 4-6 weeks last chance to some guys in this room hoping it’s team gets back on track. Until then, no one will have the coach excuse to hide behind. Some of these guys will go if no improvment is shown. Carriere will be his ears and eyes in the room.That will also give a 4 month trial to Cunneyworth. If he-s not delivering, the organisation is giving itself time to talk to some other candidates.

    But a question remains. If habs are in real bad position in january and need some clean up in the room, will Gauthier be the man fans want to do it?

  7. I sure liked how Martin had them playing the last two years, but this year it did not look like the same team. I guess coaches just get stale eventually.

  8. Montreal will continue to fall

  9. @gravitymike: I agree with the Muller commnet, but I think (may I’m wrong) but Muller did not want the Bulldog spot….think I remember hearing that but could be wrong. As for Leblanc Martin was sending him a very clear message: bad penalties do not cut it in the NHL. It is one thing to make a rookie mistake, they happen it is part of the learning process, but sloppy uncalled for slashing penalties is a lesson a player should have learned in peewee. Maybe the worng way to send the message but for the long term development of the team, a good call.

  10. @Habsfan1 Yeah, I could see Muller not wanting the job in Hamilton, knowing he would never get the Hab’s job for being unilingual. I don’t think he would have expected to be NHL coach this quickly, but he certainly played his cards right so far, good luck to him.
    As far as LeBlanc, to banish the rookie for making rookie mistakes, I think, is not gonna cut it. It’s not like he is the sole reason for their continual third period collapses. Let him know he screwed up sure, but show confidence in his ability to learn and recover. But JM has his ways and once again it didn’t work for him. But that’s just me. I have zero NHL coaching or managing, however I do a great job from my armchair. 😉

  11. You do not build confidence in a kid byt benching him, in fact they tend to scew up more because they hesitate instead of reacting institively. He scored his first goal, adenlin flowing he may have gone out and scored another but 4:21 min is shameful. He did the same thing with PK and Elemlin. He does not instill confidence in young players. Eller is an offensive player but does play at both ends of the ice, however, he needs offensive players on his line. If you want to get him scoring he needs to not only make a pass to someone who can ut the puck in the net but also receive a pass at the right time so he can score as well. At the start of the season we had high hopes that we would have three good offensive lines so far we have one that is working. PLec, Cammy and Gionta are no shows with offense even worse on defence. Eller’s line has shown some spark but has no scorer other than AK at times to put the puck int he net. The young defence are learning by making mistakes. however, is anyone telling them what they are doing wrong or how to correct their mistake? In stead Martin sits them out or plays then less. At this point in time to me there is only one way to correct this team and that is to trade at least |Cammy or Gionta and of course Gomez.