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Hughes On St. Louis: ‘Hopefully At Some Point This Week Or Next’

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Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes confirmed that a new contract, to shed the interim tag off Martin St. Louis’ title and officially make him the head coach, should be signed, sealed and delivered by the end of next week at the latest.

Speaking on the most recent Cam and Strick Podcast episode, Hughes and hosts Cam Janssen and Andy Strickland asked Hughes why a new contract hadn’t been signed already? Strickland joked that St. Louis was using the Mid-Fairfield Rangers – the pee-wee team he was coaching prior to being hired as interim head coach of the Montreal Canadiens – to bargain at the negotiating table with Hughes.

“There’s a lot of money in Greenwich [Connecticut]; he’s driving a hard bargain with the Mid-Fairfield Rangers,” Kent Hughes joked. “I’m sure they’re trying. …no, we’ve been focused on other things and not overly worried about it just because we knew we were going to do it, but hopefully, now that we got back at the end of the week last week, from Helsinki, so hopefully at some point this week or next, we get it wrapped up.”

Note: Scroll to 2:07:20 for the quote on St. Louis:

 

TSN Insider Darren Dreger tweeted Tuesday that an announcement on the new contract for St. Louis would come in the ‘near future’

 

St. Louis, 45, was named interim head coach of the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 9 after Dominique Ducharme was fired. The Canadiens were 8-30-7 under Ducharme in the 2021-22 regular season but then went 14-19-4 under St. Louis.

All joking aside about St. Louis jumping from pee-wee to the NHL coaching ranks, Hughes has already believed that St. Louis could succeed behind the Montreal Canadiens bench and as an NHL coach. The hall of famer, and 2004 Stanley Cup and Hart trophy winner, has always proved the critics wrong with his heart, skill and determination. Hughes was adamant when he hired Martin St. Louis that the fact that the NHL hall of famer and Stanley Cup champion only had coaching experience at the pee-wee level of the game wouldn’t prevent him from being an effective NHL coach. Since then, the Laval, QC native is making Hughes look like a genius and has the Montreal Canadiens fan base buzzing again.

“In terms of the success and the impact that he’s had, I expected him to have an impact, no question about it,” the first-year Montreal Canadiens GM said last month. “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.”

Hughes has known St. Louis throughout his entire hockey career and grown to know him even more since St. Louis started coaching youth hockey. The leadership and innovation St. Louis always has displayed, led him to his decision to make St. Louis the interim head coach and pending official head coach of the Montreal Canadiens.

“I’ve had a lot of opportunity to kind of talk to him, and understand how he thinks the game, collectively, individually, and just probably just as much as anything, I probably have an appreciation of how players feel,” Hughes said. “I get to hear it all the time over the years, and I think there’s a certain, I don’t care what your style is as a coach or what your style is as a communicator, I think all good coaches are good leaders, but I know Marty’s very bright, very strategic, but I also thought he had a certain level of emotional intelligence that he could handle one player one way and another player another way and still move the group towards the finish line together.”

 

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