Jacques Martin was hired as coach of the Montreal Canadiens yesterday, leaving his general manager's job with the Florida Panthers for a storied NHL franchise that was swept in the first round of the playoffs.
He replaces Montreal general manager Bob Gainey behind the bench. Gainey took over after firing Guy Carbonneau March 9.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to join this organization," Martin said. "When you look at the players who are in the organization, there is a strong nucleus, a strong base, to build a winning team and I'm really looking forward with excitement to leading this team next year."
Martin, 56, has been the Panthers' GM the past three seasons and coached the team from 2004-08. This is his fourth NHL coaching job, having also coached St. Louis and Ottawa. He was coach of the year in 1999 with the Senators. He has a career record of 517-406-119 for a .551 winning percentage.
Martin's deal with Florida runs through the 2011-12 season. The Canadiens won't have to compensate the Panthers, according to league rules.
Panthers owner Alan Cohen thanked Martin and said a search for a new GM will begin immediately.
Out of sight Sidney Crosby
was nowhere to be found as the Penguins spent the day resting for tonight's Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, giving reporters a rare Kid-free day. "Every day doesn't need to be Sidney Crosby day," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma
said. Because Pittsburgh gets to make the final line change at home, Bylsma is certain to separate Crosby from Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg
, which might create more room - and less frustration - for Crosby . . . History is certainly against the Penguins. Of the 32 previous teams to win the first two games of the finals on home ice, 31 won the Stanley Cup. Only Chicago failed, against Montreal in 1971.
Don't expect Datsyuk
Detroit's top scorer, Pavel Datsyuk
, is expected to miss his sixth straight game with a foot injury. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock
said the most recent exam of Datsyuk's foot was encouraging . . . Babcock also said Kris Draper
(groin) is able to play but he might sit the gritty forward tonight in his reluctance to change his lineup with a 2-0 series lead. "Do I want to play? Absolutely," said Draper, who has appeared in four playoff games this spring. "It doesn't get any better than this, it's the greatest time of year. But all I'm going to do is support whatever the call is either way." . . . Potential owner Jim Balsillie
has filed an application for the relocation of the Phoenix Coyotes, a move expected to happen later this week. Balsillie told The Canadian Press last night he filed the application with the league office. Balsillie wants to purchase the team for $212.5 million and bring it to Hamilton, Ontario.
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