Montreal Canadiens’ head coach Jacques Martin is being completely outcoached by Philadelphia Flyers’ bench boss Peter Laviolette. It’s hard to watch. Coming into this series, Martin and his Canadiens’ had absolutely everything going for them. They were riding high. And Jacques has managed – or mismanaged – to fritter that all away. Michael Cammalleri’s production has hit a brick wall. And Laviolette’s Flyers have crawled all over Jaroslav Halak like little orange ants at a picnic.
With Cammalleri hot as a pistol through the first two rounds, and with Halak stopping most everything he saw, all big Jacques had to do was tap guys on the shoulder and open the gate. Now, that’s all changed. Primarily because his opposite number is a champion. Peter Laviolette coached the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup championship. He knows what it takes to win it all. As a head coach, there is no substitute for that experience. You learn to win no matter what’s being thrown your way. And you deconstruct the other squad, something the Flyers’ coaching staff has done perfectly.
Montreal’s Hal Gill has to instantly become as mean as Chris Pronger. And, if the Flyers are going to be in Halak’s face, Montreal’s got to do the same. Immediately, or the series is over. What I can’t figure out is why this has gone one for 120 minutes already. You’re halfway to losing this series, Jacques. Get your act together!
Mix up your lines to get Cammalleri going. Light a fire under the forwards. Philly simply wants it more. It’s not hard for Michael Leighton to stop 58 shots in this series – when he sees all 58! Get some bodies in the crease, Jacques. So you take a goaltender interference penalty or two. You’ve got to get Leighton thinking.
Were you watching the Blackhawks/Canucks’ series? Chicago’s Dustin Byfuglien almost won that deal single-handedly by pissing off Roberto Luongo. Got Luongo thinking. We all know that thoughts are a goaltender’s kryptonite. Montreal got lots of shots to open Game Two – but they were all from the outside. Come on, Jacques – kick some a**!
Martin began head coaching in the NHL in St. Louis in 1986. Over the years, his teams have missed the playoffs just four times. But, get this, he’s only reached the Conference Finals one other time. That came in 2003 in Ottawa. They lost to the Devils. He’s had NINE first- or second-round series losses. That tells me a lot. It tells me that he’s a good talker, and maybe a good motivator, but not a good coach. Good coaches find ways to win.
Scotty Bowman always found ways to win. Al Arbour did the same. Freddie “The Fog” Shero was a hell of a coach. Time to start coaching, Jacques. Or you’re gonna be watching Peter Laviolette’s Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.