CALGARY AB - FEBRUARY 19: Head coach Jacques Martin of the Montreal Canadiens walks out for the practice session the day before the 2011 NHL Heritage Classic at McMahon Stadium on February 19 2011 in Calgary Canada. (Photo by Dylan Lynch/Getty Images)
The Montreal Canadiens have fired head coach Jacques Martin, installing Randy Cunneyworth as head coach on an interim basis.
Montreal Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin is no longer Montreal Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin. He's been fired Saturday morning by the club, replaced by Randy Cunneyworth, who holds the job on an interim basis. Larry Carriere has been named an assistant coach.
The team has languished all season long, perhaps due to injuries. They've made several moves in advance of firing their head coach -- the dismissal of assistant coach Perry Pearn, the acquisition of defenseman Tomas Kaberle -- in an attempt to shake things up. But apparently, general manager Pierre Gauthier had enough following the Habs loss to Philadelphia on Thursday night.
The team was clearly under-performing lately, however a large portion of blame for that could easily be put on a multitude of injuries. The Habs have been the most injured team in the NHL this season in both man-games lost and CHIP, which calculates how much salary is on the shelf each game.
In many ways this looks like a panic move by the organization after the Canadiens have failed to make a significant push since winning 4 straight games in October.
For other fans, Martin's firing is a matter of downright frustration.
As for Cunneyworth, he had been the boss in the AHL with Montreal's affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs. There's no sense on whether or not he could lose the interim tag, although the fact that he is not bilingual may work against him in Montreal. Maybe he'll buy Rosetta Stone or something real fast.
For more on the firing of Jacques Martin, check in with Canadiens blog Habs Eyes On The Prize.