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Canadiens Head Coach St-Louis One Of Longest Tenured In NHL



Montreal canadiens st-louis

Even though Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St-Louis was hired in 2022, he now stands as one of the longest-tenured head coaches in the NHL.

With the announcement that the Seattle Kraken have fired Dave Hakstol, only six active head coaches have been behind their team’s respective benches longer than St-Louis.

Jon Cooper leads the charge, having been hired by the Tampa Bay Lightning way back in 2013. Mike Sullivan has been with the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2015, roughly six months longer than Jared Bednard has coached the Colorado Avalanche. Rob Brind’Amour has been at the helm of the Carolina Hurricanes since 2018, whereas Sheldon Keefe was hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019. Andre Tourigny has been with the Coyotes franchise since 2021.

Even though the Penguins failed to qualify for the playoffs, Sullivan’s job seems safe, at least for now, but the pressure is definitely starting to mount. The same can be said for Cooper despite the lack of success from the Lightning in the playoffs this season. Brind’Amour’s teams have had a hard time reaching their potential during springtime hockey, but he’s a Carolina hockey institution, as is Bednard in Colorado.

Unfortunately for Keefe, unless the Leafs finally manage to deliver in the playoffs, it seems inevitable that Toronto will look to a new head coach in a desperate attempt to change the team’s identity.  Seeing as they’re currently facing a 3-1 series deficit versus the Boston Bruins, the odds that Keefe will be back behind the bench seem to be dwindling by the minute.

Montreal Canadiens Growth

St-Louis has spent exactly two years, two months, and 20 days as the Canadiens’ head coach.

To make matters even more interesting, St-Louis had little to no head coaching experience before Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes hired him. This runs opposite to most coaching decisions in the NHL, which either dip into the league’s head-coach recycling program or look to the AHL for an experienced coach who may be ready to take the next step.

In that sense, not only is Martin St-Louis one of the longest-tenured head coaches in the NHL, but he’s also one of the least experienced, even if we consider his time coaching in the NHL.

This was particularly evident during his first year behind the bench, a year that saw St-Louis shy away from making in-game modifications to his lineup. He also avoided pulling his goaltender, even if he had ample options available to him in the lineup, and rarely used his time-outs despite having several opportunities to do so.

Just like many of the players on his roster, St-Louis has grown.

He’s shown a little more patience when dealing with the city’s unrelenting media presence, but more importantly, he’s shown legitimate signs of improvement as a head coach, especially in the final stretch of the 2023-24 season.

Beyond using his timeouts and no longer leaving his goaltenders in place during blowout losses, St-Louis’ team started producing the type of underlying numbers that would suggest the best is yet to come.

MUST READ: Canadiens Rebuild – A Silver Lining Emerges Amid Difficult Stretch

There’s a lot of work left to do, and the pressure will start to mount now that the honeymoon phase of the rebuild is over, but it’s fair to suggest St-Louis has gained the respect of his players and the fanbase.

The former is important because the Montreal Canadiens will have to improve upon their results next year to keep the rebuild on track. The latter is important because if the team fails to reach their objectives, there will be slightly less pressure than usual in a city that eats, breathes, and sleeps hockey.

Unlike the coaches mentioned we listed at the start of the article, St-Louis does not have a winning record, nor does he have much in terms of pedigree that should suggest he’s beyond criticism.

But you’d be hard-pressed to find many head coaches around the NHL that have earned more trust from both their players and the team’s fanbase.

That trust will be put to the test in 2024-25,

Canadiens management has suggested they’re looking to take the next step in the rebuild.

However, that announcement was only made after exercising the option to keep their head coach around for several more seasons, which tells us all we need to know about the trust level between St-Louis and those working on the seventh floor of the Bell Centre.

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Seattle firing their coach doesn’t make much sense to me. That team heavily overachieved in its 2nd year, the team Francis picked was a head scratcher. He was handcuffed by teams being skittish after Vegas made so many extra deals to not take certain players, or get extra to take certain guys. Nobody wanted to look as stupid as Florida did–they GAVE Vegas Marchessault to take Reilly–or even some other teams, for that matter.
That St Louis is still employed is no great feat in itself. There was no way they were going to bring him in during a rebuild and not let him grow on the job. I doubt that he will get to a hot seat next season, and maybe not the one after that either. I’m not unhappy with the work he has done, though I hope after next year, if special teams are as poor and we still can’t protect even a 3 goal lead, some assistants will have to go.
For now, it’s just pray for some luck on May 7th and wait and see.

john harmsworth

I think they like Marty’s approach generally, and the progress of Caufield and now Slafkovsky as well as the young defense has all been positive. The way he’s handled the goalies has been pretty good as well. Considering the injuries and lack of bottom 6 talent, it’s pretty hard to fault the coaching. Even the PP and PK have improved considerably toward the end of the season. Meanwhile, a bunch of youngsters on a losing team with zero chance of making the playoffs, stayed engaged and positive and and continued to play hard right to the end of the season.
I think Marty’s approach is to teach his players how to think the game. The test will be if that appears to be working as the team matures and develops and becomes competitive. If a few of these guys don’t achieve that and have to be moved I think that will be recognized and won’t cost Marty his job.
My biggest caveat would be if Marty just gets tired of losing and trying to teach things over and over. He seems patient but we all know he’s super competitive. My guess is he sticks it out and they make the playoffs either next year or the year after. After that we see how far his approach will take them. It’s not uncommon for a team to have to knock on the door a couple of timers before they kick it down. Just can’t do what the Leafs have done and nock gently over and over again while the window slides away.


I don’t see much of a thing here…

MSL has a team that has not made the playoffs, and has not been expected to. Little to no “expectations”. Once the expectations go up, if and only if the team matches the expectations does he keep his job.

Its too easy to fire the head coach, especially when there is a win now mentality. No patience therein. Plus you can’t fire the players…so the easiest thing to do is fire the coach. But at least 50% of the time it makes no difference who the coach is, as the players determine the outcome.