Jacques Martin’s checkered career as a coach in the NHL is on hiatus (I won’t say “over,” because you know how NHL GMs love to recycle “veteran” coaches, even mediocre-to-bad ones). He has “agreed” to step aside so that he can “focus” on his front-office duties.
Martin was brought in to coach back in 2004, at the same time the Panthers hired Mike Keenan to be their GM. Hmm, that move didn’t work out too well, either coughLuongocough. Keenan, as we’ve seen, landed nicely on his feet in Calgary (the Devil is still kicking himself over that deal). Martin has not been quite so lucky. Without Luongo, the Panthers have been a doormat, failing to make the playoffs all three seasons he has coached. Moreover, they have been amazingly consistent, garnering 86, 85, and 86 points in those three seasons.
And he garnered this record against the Southeast Division, which, although it has produced a Cup winner, is basically filled with other doormat teams. He’s had 8 games a season against Atlanta, Tampa and Washington, ferchrissakes. But, that has been typical of Martin’s 1000+ game coaching career. They nearly changed the Senators’ name to “Lost in first round” during his tenure.
But take heart, Florida fans: he can’t do too much damage upstairs. And maybe the team will go out and get some other boringly safe and uninspired coaching choice instead. Since Martin is the GM, I would imagine that he has old buddies calling him night and day wanting his old job. What’s Pat Burns up to these days? There has to be another Sutter Brutter around somewhere looking for a job. Who is the right man to take the Panthers all the way to 87 points?