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McKenzie: Jacques Martin's an exceptional coach

TSN.ca Talent Blog
6/1/2009 10:53:36 PM
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Be very clear on one thing: Jacques Martin is a very capable coach. Actually, he's more than a capable coach; he's an exceptional coach.

But because he's a coach who in the past has had a reputation for playing stultifying defence, people are looking at this hire and saying 'we see lots of steak, but where's the sizzle?' Martin is not a sizzling personality. I'm going to be very curious to see how he handles the fish bowl existence of the head coach in Montreal because he doesn't like a lot of publicity.

As for the stultifying defence part, Bob Gainey wants his team to be able to play defence. They had talent before but he didn't think that they came together cohesively enough as a defensive team. Martin will get them to do that.

One thing in Martin's defence; when the Ottawa Senators won the Presidents' Trophy in 2003, Jacques Martin had the third best offence in the NHL behind only Detroit and Vancouver so he can do both things.

There were a lot of French-speaking coaches with Stanley Cup rings that could have gotten this job - Bob Hartley, Mark Crawford and Michel Therrien - so there was a lot of talent that was bypassed in order for Martin to get this job.

Rolling Out The Big Guns

Unlike the Detroit Red Wings, the Pittsburgh Penguins don't have to rely on minor league call-ups to try and get things going. It's pretty obvious what they need – they need Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby to get on the scoreboard and be more of a force offensively.

There was an interesting seven-and-a-half minute stretch in the first period of Game 2 where Crosby and Malkin got double-shifted and one or the other was on the ice for over six of those seven-and-a-half minutes. That led to a momentum shift in the game which lead to a penalty on the part of the Red Wings and led to a power play goal by the Penguins.

On home ice, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma is going to try and get some more favorable match-ups whenever he can but the big thing is he has to roll his big guns. They're at the point now where if the Penguins are going to make noise, they're going to do it on the backs of Crosby and Malkin.

Bob McKenzie

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