Surprise. Martin St. Louis will be the interim head coach of the Montreal Canadiens. They made the official announcement just before 5 p.m.
After the Wednesday drama and intrigue surrounding former head coach Dominique Ducharme and his absence from practice and scheduled media availability. Initial explanations were that Montreal media simply requested Ducharme get a day off from addressing reporters, but it was all followed by the eventual firing of Ducharme during the first year of his three year extension signed last summer.
It’s been a whirlwind day in Montreal for new Executive Vice President Jeff Gorton and new GM Kent Hughes.
“We are very happy to welcome Martin to the Canadiens organization,” said Hughes. “Not only are we adding an excellent hockey man, but with Martin we are bringing in a proven winner and a man whose competitive qualities are recognized by all who have crossed his path.”
Things have fallen far and hard for the Canadiens. They suffered another embarrassing loss on home ice on Tuesday night. The lowly New Jersey Devils boat raced them, 7-1. And that was the end for the coach of what has become the worst team in the NHL.
Top defenseman Shea Weber essentially retired last fall after his ankle could not be surgically repaired to adequately play in the NHL. Goalie Carey Price has dealt with personal issues and been away from the team all season. Defenseman Jeff Petry has appeared to check out as things have spiraled and his name has appeared in NHL trade rumors
St. Louis does not have head coaching experience or even assistant coaching experience. St. Louis is currently coaching one of his children’s 13U teams.
In 1134 NHL games, St. Louis has 1033 points (391-642-1033) and won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
St. Louis’s and Hughes’s have sons who are teammates at Northeastern, which beat Boston College Monday night in the opener of the Beanpot Tournament at TD Garden. Gorton was a pro scout, then GM with the New York Rangers during St. Louis’ playing career with the Blueshirts.
Martin St. Louis will make his Canadiens debut on Thursday when Canadiens host the Washington Capitals.