Canadiens’ St. Louis Loves Learning the Details of Hockey [Video]

When the Montreal Canadiens hired Martin St. Louis to be their interim head coach back in February, they did so knowing that he could be a boom or bust selection. While St. Louis had a Hall of Fame NHL career as a player, his coaching credentials weren’t particularly deep at the time, as this opportunity was the first time that he would behind the bench as an NHL head coach. There was real chance that he would take over this role, look overwhelmed under the bright lights, and simply act as an interim until the Canadiens had the opportunity to find a more experienced person to take over in the summer.

Related: Suzuki and Caufield Are Canadiens’ Most Dynamic Duo in Decades

Instead, St. Louis helped to bring a floundering Canadiens teams back to some semblance of respectability during the 2021-22 season. Sure they were still doomed to finish last in the NHL, but key young players like Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki once again started playing like stars, showcasing development that wasn’t happening under prior leadership. Seeing this positive growth, Montreal took the interim tag off of St. Louis by signing him to a three-year extension, making him the 32nd head coach of the storied franchise

Martin St. Louis Montreal Canadiens
Despite being relatively new to the job, Martin St. Louis has shown that he belongs behind the bench after taking over as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With a full offseason to prepare, St. Louis and the Canadiens hit the ice ready to play for the 2022-23 season. While they haven’t been a dominant force, the young squad is showing signs of growth, leading them to a respectable record hovering around .500. Sure, this isn’t a playoff-caliber pace, but it showcases a major step forward for the franchise compared to one year ago, and is a sign that Montreal is heading in the right direction under his leadership.

What Canadiens’ St. Louis Loves About Coaching in the NHL

With his first full season behind the bench underway, St. Louis was recently asked what his favorite part of being an NHL head coach was. For anyone who followed his playing career, his answer was both predictable and exactly what you hope to hear from a new coach.

“…It’s the second-best job behind playing,” St. Louis said. “I think my favorite thing to do is to watch how the other team plays and try to figure out where the advantages are at. I really enjoyed that as a player and as a coach, with all of the video coaches and technology, you can really break that down pretty good.”

Part of what made St. Louis such an effective player was his willingness to outwork his opponent in all aspects of the game, both on and off the ice, so it should come as no surprise that he is still bringing this mindset with him to his new role. He understands that games can be won or lost in the planning phases just as much as they can be won or lost on the ice. If you refuse to know your opponent, their strengths, and their weaknesses, then you will never be able to properly compete with them.

So, fans in Montreal should be happy to hear that St. Louis has retained his unwavering love of hockey in the transition from player to head coach. If these habits rub off on their young roster, then the franchise will be in a great place for years to come.

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