In April 2010, I wrote a blog post entitled “22 Reasons to Fire Jacques Martin“. In its aftermath, I received equal amounts of kudos and ridicule. Martin’s detractors agreed with essentially everything I wrote. Much of it is irrefutable, so who could argue? But Martin apologists had their own ammo. The bottom line is that I knew that only one season in to his four-year contract was not the time we’d see the Coach join the unemployment line. The whole exercise at the time was a way for me to vocalize what I thought to be fatal flaws in the team. In the “what have you done for me lately” world of pro sports, Martin’s Canadiens went on to make their first appearance in the Conference Finals since winning the Cup in 1993. Egg on my face, right? Fast forward another year, and it was more of the same. A frustrating system holding players back, but taking the eventual champs to overtime in game 7. Again, egg on my face, right? Hardly. The bar has been so egregiously lowered in Montreal, that a defeat in the first round of the playoffs was seen as some kind of moral victory. Don’t tell me about the injuries. Just don’t. Sobering thought: If Tim Thomas was not so crappy on both winning goals as the Habs jumped out to a 2-0 series lead, it’s entirely possible that the Bruins would have swept the Habs.
This season, year three in to Jacques Martin’s contract, the Habs are off to a dismal 1-6 start. It’s getting worse rather than better. Again, don’t tell me about injuries. Not as long as Dan Bylsma is getting top notch hockey out of his Crosby-less, Malkin-less Penguins. Excuses are for losers, period.
NFL legend Bill Parcells once said you are what your record says you are. And a 1-6 record says the Canadiens stink. Yes. They stink. Did we overestimate this team’s abilies? Or are they not as bad as they’ve shown, and Parcells simply nuts? Regardless, what Parcells’ comment strongly implies is that excuses are for losers.
Regardless, a Coach has to answer for this. So without further delay, here are 10 more reasons to finally get rid of Jacques Martin and start anew:
23- For still trying to stubbornly stuff, bend, fold and shoehorn offensively gifted players in to his defence-first box, despite all kinds of evidence that says defence first does not work if you want to win the Cup, Jacques Martin should be fired.
24- Any team that stands around watching their team’s ONLY chance at success get constantly run over without batting an eyelash has major issues. For neutering this team of any physicality, aggression, and dare I say – truculence – Jacques Martin should be fired.
25- Darche, God bless his heart does not belong on the powerplay over talented players like Andrei Kostitsyn and Erik Cole. For mismanagement of resources and talent to inexplicably insane levels, “Coach’s Prerogative” be damned, Jacques Martin should be fired.
26- For not communicating clearly with his players, and for not clearly defining roles (a 4th liner is not a 1st liner, and a 1st liner is not a 3rd liner, and a defenceman is not a forward!), Jacques Martin should be fired.
27- For instituting a stifling, antiquated system that is currently being taught to future Habs players by Martin clone Clement Jodoin down in Hamilton, Jacques Martin should be fired.
28- For not having any other tactic in his bag of tricks other than extreme line juggling, Jacques Martin should be fired.
29- For his outright lies: “we are a puck possession team” despite being anything but, Jacques Martin should be fired.
30- For his chronic inability to cure his team’s penchant for taking too many penalties (and too many men penalties!), Jacques Martin should be fired.
31- For refusing to ever accept ANY responsibility for his team’s shortcomings (Jacques a little humility is a good thing – try it some time.), Jacques Martin should be fired.
32- Finally, for being a condescending, arrogant knob to a young reporter who dared to ask him a tough and damning question – Jacques Martin should be fired. Jacques, if you’re going to lose your composure in the heat of the moment, try it during a game for once. Try showing some emotion when it actually matters, and not in an insulting way to a young professional.
You may not agree with each and every reason to Fire Jacques Martin that I’ve posted since April 2010 (and I’ve had more rants dating back to November 2009). But I think even his most ardent supporters would have to concur with the majority of them. Even if I’m blindly anti-Martin, just a third of these reasons are damaging enough to the Canadiens that a coaching change should now be a top priority.
Would you add anything else to the list? Anybody want to add a 33rd reason in honour of the number worn by the guy who many think (but certainly not this blogger) should be Martin’s successor?