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What Really Grinds My Gears

Posted By Corey Krakower On Apr 22 2010 @ 10:21 am In Montreal Canadiens | 13 Comments

The Canadiens played a fantastic 2 periods last night, but once again, when Washington turned it on, they showed the Canadiens, the fans at the Bell Center and all the viewers watching across North America why they are were the NHL’s #1 team this season. The Habs had their chances, but the Capitals are simply in a league of their own against Montreal.

I get that you can blame A LOT of people for this loss, and for that matter why they’re down 3-1 in the series. But there is one thing that is really bothering me, and it’s something  I’ve waited too long to point out, probably because I’m a coach (obviously not at the NHL level, but a coach is still a coach), and I hate criticizing decisions that other coaches make. Hockey is such a subjective game and it’s easy to sit back and rip a coach. For example; if a group of forwards is not scoring goals, you could say the coach should switch up the lines.  And if the coach does switch up the lines and it doesn’t work, people will point out that he is changing lines too much and disrupting chemistry. There are simply no right or wrong answers when it comes to coaching hockey.

At the risk of being called a hypocrite, there are some things that are really bothering me about Coach Jacques Martin. Taking a page out of the Family Guy movie, I present to you my segment of “what really grinds my gears, the Jacques Martin edition.”

You know what really grinds my gears? The fact that Jacques Martin does not own a copy of the NHL rulebook. Rule 87.1 Time-out – Each team shall be permitted to take one thirty-second time-out during the course of any game, regular season or playoffs. All players including goalkeepers on the ice at the time of the time-out will be allowed to go to their respective benches.

You know what really grinds my gears? The irrational hatred that the Canadiens’ coach has for Sergei Kostitsyn . Sergei has actually played well, yet was a healthy scratch in this series or gets very little ice time. I love how he played less than 10 minutes last night and managed a +2 rating. I used to love the way he gave out ice time, but I don’t feel that’s the case.

You know what really grinds my gears? Martin’s weird fetish for Marc-Andre Bergeron. MAB is a -8 in this series with 1 point. The next worst D is a -4, yet Bergeron ranks #2 on the team in average minutes per game.

You know what really grinds my gears? How Jacques Martin can mention in his post game press conference that Alexander Ovechkin is a great player, yet he refuses to adjust when Ovie is lighting it up on the ice. He decided to go with the Gomez line and a D-pairing of Gill-Gorges against the Capitals’ top line. I don’t necessarily agree with that, but fine, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and see if it works. Well Gomez and Gionta were both a -3, while Ovechkin and Backstrom each had 3 points and were +3 and +4 respectively. So why not change/adjust? Tell me something; if Bruce Boudreau even thought that Martin’s “gameplan” might work, would he not have tried to get Ovechkin away from the matchup??? It was clearly not working in Montreal’s favor, yet his stubborn mentality was to stick with it for the whole game. If the coach went for dinner after the game and got food poisoning, and then after the next game he went to the same restaurant and got food poisoning again, don’t you think he would learn his lesson and stop going to that restaurant? Honestly, probably not. He would keep going back and every time he gets sick he would likely just blame it on Sergei Kostitsyn.

That’s my rant for the day. I think back to the day he was hired and being told from someone who I trust that Jacques Martin is a great coach in terms of preparation, but he is lost during games. I guess that explains why he hasn’t won a playoff series in 7 years. Or why in his 10 playoff appearances as a coach, his teams have been eliminated 6 times in the first round and 3 times in the second round. Or why of the 4 teams that he coached that finished #1 in their division, 3 were eliminated in the first round.

I don’t buy living in the past, so please stop saying “the guy has over 500 wins”. Here is a list of the 15 coaches with 500+ wins, and how their regular season record compares to their playoff success. The playoffs separate the players that are great from the guys who can’t elevate their game. The same can be said about coaches.

REGULAR SEASON PERFORMANCE VS PLAYOFF PERFORMANCE (COACHES WITH 500+ WINS)

Warning – you might hurt your neck looking far down the list for Jacques Martin’s name.

Coach RS W % PO W % DIFF
Toe Blake 0.634 0.689 0.055
Al Arbour 0.564 0.587 0.023
Mike Keenan 0.551 0.555 0.004
Scotty Bowman 0.656 0.632 -0.024
Dick Irvin 0.557 0.532 -0.025
Jacques Lemaire 0.561 0.526 -0.035
Marc Crawford 0.554 0.518 -0.036
Ron Wilson 0.533 0.495 -0.038
Pat Quinn 0.556 0.514 -0.042
Ken Hitchcock 0.588 0.545 -0.043
Pat Burns 0.573 0.523 -0.050
Billy Reay 0.571 0.487 -0.084
Bryan Murray 0.563 0.464 -0.099
Jacques Martin 0.550 0.438 -0.112
Joel Quenneville 0.604 0.486 -0.118

Due to facing better teams and the fact that there are no ties in the playoffs; those factors can explain why most coaches have a lower Playoff Win % than during the Regular Season, but the disparity for most are not as bad as Jacques Martin.

Game 5 is in Washington on Friday night. Puck drops at 7pm.

GO HABS GO (or should it be GOLF HABS GOLF?)



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