Montreal Canadiens Expected to Make Head Coach Announcement

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After an improbable Stanley Cup run, the Montreal Canadiens found themselves in the basement of the NHL this past season. Sporting a brutal record of 8-30-7, after 46 games, management knew they had to make a change. So, recently extended  Dominique Ducharme was relieved of his duties and Martin St. Louis was hired on an interim basis. Despite some questions about his (lack of) experience, St Louis was able to get the team to play well again. This led to questions about his long-term future with the team.

Well, it looks like the interim tag is going to be removed as the Montreal Canadiens are expected to announce that an extension is in place to keep the Hall of Fame player behind the Habs bench.

Report: Martin St. Louis Extended

The pending move is a no-brainer after the team’s on-ice effort and overall play improved so drastically once St Louis took over behind the bench.

Martin St. Louis was a tremendous player in this league. Initially overlooked because of his size, he quieted the critics during his playing career. St. Louis played 16 years in the NHL with the Calgary Flames, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the New York Rangers. He would become a Stanley Cup Champion in 2004 with the Lightning. In his career, he has tallied 365 goals, 588 assists, and a total of 953 points. He won the aforementioned Stanley Cup, a Hart Trophy, a Lester B. Pearson Award, two Art Ross Trophies,  three Lady Bing Awards and is enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Now St Louis is looking to use the same critical fuel in his NHL coaching career.

St Louis Impact

Martin St. Louis brought life and energy to the Canadiens lineup after he was hired. The players all saw improvements in their game. Most notably Cole Caufield rediscovered his game under the new coach. Per Stat Muse, From October-January Caufield only totalled eight points. After St. Louis took over, Caufield had 35 points in the final three months of the year. The stark improvement in play from Caufield (and the team in general) had fans calling for an extension during the season.

St. Louis would finish the season with a coaching record of 12-16-4. It is not about the record or the point totals, however. The new bench boss is looking to build something unique and build a winning culture.

Building a New Culture

Now that Martin St Louis is expected to get the interim tag removed he will really be under the Montreal microscope. St. Louis has his work cut out for him, but he was never one to shy away from a challenge. In an interview with The Canadian Press, St. Louis stated;

“It’s not one specific thing, It’s the habits — I call them winning habits — that you can’t just wait until the next year to develop. Habits, it’s an everyday thing. We’ve got to be hard on those.”

Still, the Canadiens are rebuilding, and it starts with the team’s culture. While there were many positives once St Louis took over behind the bench, this is still a team in transition and will need to keep working on developing these winning habits and culture.

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