While the news of Dominique Ducharme was getting expected more and more by the Montreal Canadiens fan base and media members around the team, the same cannot be said about the announcement of his replacement. We all had lists of potential candidates but no one had Martin St-Louis as a candidate, let alone as their top candidate.
We have asked our team of writers to provide us with their first impression, but in two stages. First, how they felt when St-Louis was first announced as the Canadiens’ new headcoach. Then, we asked them how they see that nomination, or if they changed their mind, after the press conference and one game behind the bench. So without further ado, here are their answers…
My first thought when I heard that Martin St. Louis was hired as head coach was “YES”. It demonstrated to me that the new management group was willing to think outside the box and bring some new blood into the NHL coaching ranks. I thought it also illustrated a change from the stifling “defense first” philosophy the team had been sticking with for so long.
The press conference strengthened my opinion that St. Louis was a good hire. His comfortable and transparent replies were in stark contrast to Ducharme who always conveyed the perception that he was in a police interrogation room. The game solidified my thoughts that the hire was a very good one. After a couple of questionable goals the team could have buckled but they did the opposite – they stormed back and played with passion.
When the news came out, like always, I did my research to know him better. Trying to find what he did in coaching. Like many people, I found that he coached in U13 AAA. But I remember him when he played and I know he was a very good all around player with good offensive skills and smart thinking. Then I saw Anthony Marcotte’s (Laval Rocket’s play-by-play) tweet suggesting that Martin St-Louis might be there to help evaluating the players and become the futur Assistant-GM to Kent Hughes. I agreed with that idea.
After watching the press conference, the first game, listening to what Tortorella and Guy Boucher had to say, I think that he can be a good fit with Hughes and Gorton’s philosophy for the team. I think he can be a good coach. Let see what he can do for the rest of the season.
I will admit, my first reaction when the Canadiens announced that Martin St-Louis was going to be the team’s new head coach wasn’t a positive one. Even though they have an experienced V-P of Hockey Operations, they did hire a GM with no prior GM experience and I never expected that they would pick a coach with not only no NHL coaching experience, but no professional hockey experience.
But St-Louis did an outstanding job at selling himself to me in his first press conference. Am I convinced that he’s the right choice? I’d be lying if I said yes. But now, after listening to him, I am very much intrigued and willing to give the guy a chance. That’s the sound thing to do, in my humble opinion. Give him some rope and see what he does with it, hoping he doesn’t hang himself.