The Montreal Canadiens have hired Martin St. Louis as the new interim head coach of their franchise. This hiring comes just hours after the team fired Dominique Ducharme from the position earlier in the day.
“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.”
In his playing career, the 46-year-old St. Louis played in 16 seasons and scored 391 goals and 1,033 points in 1,134 games split between the Calgary Flames, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers. He would win the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 12, 2018. He’d also win a gold medal with Canada at the 2014 Olympics. Even more impressive, perhaps, is the fact that St. Louis did this as an undrafted and undersized player.
Following his time as a player, St. Louis would become the Special Teams Consultant for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
St. Louis Afforded First NHL Coaching Opportunity
This will be the first coaching opportunity provided to St. Louis in his career and it will come with his hometown team as St. Louis was born in Laval, Quebec. Given that this role comes with the interim title, the future of the Canadiens head coaching position is still far from locked in. Still, St. Louis will likely get a chance to close out the season with the Canadiens and potentially create some sort of spark for a team that is going nowhere quickly.
At the time of this hiring, St. Louis is taking over a Habs team that sits in last place in the NHL with an 8-30-7 record. The team is also on a five-game losing and most recently suffered a 7-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. This was the last straw for the team and St. Louis will now get a chance to take over a team that has officially hit rock bottom.
Related: Canadiens Fire Ducharme
It’s unrealistic to expect the Canadiens to become a playoff team this season, but any sort of improvement on the way they’ve played this season would certainly be a step in the right direction. If St. Louis can show that the team can perform better along the way and take the team out of the basement of the standings, he should absolutely be afforded more opportunities with the team beyond this season.
The team played in the Stanley Cup Final just one year ago, so expectations for this season were certainly higher than they probably should have been. Only time will tell what the future holds for St. Louis and the Canadiens. For now, though, both sides will work together to build the Canadiens back into a team that can win and make fans proud.