While all signs seem to point towards Martin St. Louis staying on as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens past this season, recent reports have made it clear it’s not a fait accompli just yet.
On Monday night, two separate reports surfaced that despite the success St. Louis has had in jumpstarting a lost season going 11-10-4 in his first 25 games, the team and St. Louis have agreed to still table a decision until the offseason.
On the latest edition of TSN Insider Trading, Darren Dreger stressed that St. Louis shedding the interim tag to become the permanent head coach going forward is by no means a done deal but that there certainly is mutual interest for that to happen. The question seems to be, and who could blame him, is St. Louis ready to uproot his family again and also not be with them as much as he’d prefer to be?
Dreger was asked if the Montreal Canadiens were any closer to pulling the interim tag off Martin St. Louis and making him the head coach going forward?
“No. Both sides agreed and prior to the general manager’s meetings that they would wait until the end of the season,” Dreger replied. “Now, there’s no reason to question the reality of Marty St. Louis becoming the full-time head coach of the Montreal Canadiens. I believe that’s what Hughes and the Canadiens want.
But you do have to look at the set of circumstances. We know St. Louis has done a terrific job on the bench of the Habs. We know that the coaching staff has helped refresh this group. But Marty St. Louis still has a young family. So the timing of it may not be perfect but there have been no further discussions at this point.”
Hours later, Sportsnet Insider Elliotte Friedman had St. Louis himself confirming that report in his latest 32 Thoughts Column:
“I think at the end of the season. Right now, it wouldn’t be fair for the players, for anyone, for me to focus on that. Things will take care of themselves, let’s just stay the course on what we’re trying to do right now.”
This all comes a week after Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes already made his desire to keep St. Louis as the Habs’ bench boss for the foreseeable future very clear.
“I’d like to see him part of the Montreal Canadiens organization for the long term and remove the interim tag, if that’s the question you’re asking,” Hughes told TSN at the NHL general managers meetings in Manalapan, Florida last Tuesday. “In terms of the success and the impact that he’s had, I expected him to have an impact, no question about it. Probably not as significant as he has in such a short period of time, but, I said at the beginning, I’m not one to bet against Marty St. Louis, and those that have, have generally lost. He’s a pretty special guy and he’s proven to be a pretty special coach.”
Young players like Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield have blossomed under Montreal Canadiens interim head coach Martin St. Louis. Since St. Louis’ first game behind the Canadiens bench, Suzuki has nine goals and 15 assists in 25 games. Suzuki and Caufield have become one of the highest scoring duos in the NHL. During that span as Caufield has 15 goals and 12 assists to bring his total to 16 goals and 19 assists in 55 games.