Today the second member of the Montreal Canadiens coaching staff was removed. Last time Perry Pearn was the scapegoat, today Jacques Martin had “Jihadist” painted on his forehead and was tossed to the street. What makes this firing so sad is not that it comes before the holidays, but that it is clearly a case of Gauthier scrambling to shift the blame anywhere but his lap.
This season, even before the injuries the Canadiens were a mediocre team at best. They stood still over the summer, and haven’t drafted well since the lockout. Only one player in the last three drafts has hit the NHL even for a cup of coffee. A long contract was handed out to a guy with trick knee before he’d played on the supposedly patched wheel. Last year Price played out of his mind, but no responsible general manager should count on their goalie topping a career year.
This year with Price back down to earth, things are different. The injuries haven’t helped. Yes the powerplay is worse than it was last year. That said they are exactly where they were in goals per game. Their goals against is actually better than last year despite all the injuries on the blueline and a lower save percentage than last season from Price. Entering play today, the Canadiens were 2 points out of 8th in the east.
Today, head coach Martin was fired. This less than two months after Perry Pearn was fired. This about a week into the Kaberle Experiment. Why is a guy who was strapped to a hobbled shetland pony and told to win a steeplechase the scapegoat and not the guy who supposedly organized the team? I’m not sure what is going on with Canadiens ownership, but the mess the team in isn’t going to get any better for leaving Gauthier in place to flail about blindly. It’s past time to act, give the incoming general manager time to access the team, farm system and prioritize draft prospects.