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Head Coach Marty St. Louis


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On 2/20/2022 at 5:37 PM, BigTed3 said:

 It's also refreshing to have a GM and director of hockey ops who are trying to modernize the team, who aren't afraid to re-build, and who have an actual vision for where we go to try and win a Cup. Too bad we wasted so many years on the likes of Therrien, Bergevin, and Lefebvre. All of those men set our franchise back many years and cost us a real shot at being a contender with an all-world goalie. Good riddance to the old regime and welcome to the new one!

Despite how bad things have gotten this season, I haven't felt this good about the team in at least half a decade.

The final straw for me with MB was the Subban trade, less because of Subban himself and more just because it personified everything that was wrong with this organization (both the trade itself and all the stuff that arguably led to it).  Since then, I just haven't following the Habs all that closely. The Leafs series got me kind of back into the team (I'd been wanting to see Habs-Leafs in the playoffs for decades) and the cup run was fun, but it also felt like a fluke that would lead to a decade of misery by making MB and others look a lot smarter than they were.

Then there was the draft - arguably, in a twisted sense, the turning point where management seemingly embarrassed Molson, combined with MB either being tired or greedy and thankfully not signing an extension last summer, followed by the horrific start. All that led to the smart hiring of Gorton, someone who seems philosophically and stylistically so different than MB and everything else that's happened since. I don't just feel better about what the product will look like on the ice, but also just in the way the organization is going to operate: hopefully no more picking public fights with players, ignoring problems in the minors, the lack of communication with fans, or a repeat of that regrettable Timmins interview.

I have no idea if St. Louis is the long-term answer as coach: I'm skeptical the jump from pee-wee to successful NHL coach is a doable one, but at least in the short-term he seems to be just what was needed.

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11 hours ago, Graeme-1 said:

Despite how bad things have gotten this season, I haven't felt this good about the team in at least half a decade.

The final straw for me with MB was the Subban trade, less because of Subban himself and more just because it personified everything that was wrong with this organization (both the trade itself and all the stuff that arguably led to it).  Since then, I just haven't following the Habs all that closely. The Leafs series got me kind of back into the team (I'd been wanting to see Habs-Leafs in the playoffs for decades) and the cup run was fun, but it also felt like a fluke that would lead to a decade of misery by making MB and others look a lot smarter than they were.

Then there was the draft - arguably, in a twisted sense, the turning point where management seemingly embarrassed Molson, combined with MB either being tired or greedy and thankfully not signing an extension last summer, followed by the horrific start. All that led to the smart hiring of Gorton, someone who seems philosophically and stylistically so different than MB and everything else that's happened since. I don't just feel better about what the product will look like on the ice, but also just in the way the organization is going to operate: hopefully no more picking public fights with players, ignoring problems in the minors, the lack of communication with fans, or a repeat of that regrettable Timmins interview.

I have no idea if St. Louis is the long-term answer as coach: I'm skeptical the jump from pee-wee to successful NHL coach is a doable one, but at least in the short-term he seems to be just what was needed.

I feel pretty similar.

I haven't really enjoyed the team much over the last 3-4 seasons. And yeah, the Cup run was fun, it also felt massively disappointing when the luck ran out against TB. And this season was just an absolute disaster. I couldn't even be bothered to turn in for one period.

I'm happy the organization has a fresh start with Gorton and Hughes and I think I will tune in regularly again next season.

Looking forward to seeing how St. Louis finishes the season with us. Trade deadline stuff. The draft. Going to be an exciting few months!

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12 hours ago, Graeme-1 said:

Despite how bad things have gotten this season, I haven't felt this good about the team in at least half a decade.

The final straw for me with MB was the Subban trade, less because of Subban himself and more just because it personified everything that was wrong with this organization (both the trade itself and all the stuff that arguably led to it).  Since then, I just haven't following the Habs all that closely. The Leafs series got me kind of back into the team (I'd been wanting to see Habs-Leafs in the playoffs for decades) and the cup run was fun, but it also felt like a fluke that would lead to a decade of misery by making MB and others look a lot smarter than they were.

Then there was the draft - arguably, in a twisted sense, the turning point where management seemingly embarrassed Molson, combined with MB either being tired or greedy and thankfully not signing an extension last summer, followed by the horrific start. All that led to the smart hiring of Gorton, someone who seems philosophically and stylistically so different than MB and everything else that's happened since. I don't just feel better about what the product will look like on the ice, but also just in the way the organization is going to operate: hopefully no more picking public fights with players, ignoring problems in the minors, the lack of communication with fans, or a repeat of that regrettable Timmins interview.

I have no idea if St. Louis is the long-term answer as coach: I'm skeptical the jump from pee-wee to successful NHL coach is a doable one, but at least in the short-term he seems to be just what was needed.

Well said. I did think that there was a chance that the team would 'catch lightning in the bottle" like they did last playoffs, but i always felt like it was going to be more about Price being an MVP again rather than a well-constructed team.  I now feel like we will be building towards the latter.  Will it work out? Who knows. But i certainly feel like we're on a better path than we have been for some time.

 

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4 hours ago, maas_art said:

Well said. I did think that there was a chance that the team would 'catch lightning in the bottle" like they did last playoffs, but i always felt like it was going to be more about Price being an MVP again rather than a well-constructed team.  I now feel like we will be building towards the latter.  Will it work out? Who knows. But i certainly feel like we're on a better path than we have been for some time.

 

100% at least it is a path that makes sense to most of us! Before it was make the playoffs and who knows what could happen! I suppose that is true but it makes way more sense to build a great team make the playoffs with ease and have a legit chance to win it all more than once!

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5 minutes ago, H_T_L said:

I was leery at first but Marty is growing on me by the game. Like what i'm seeing so far.

Enjoy it while we can .  When , if they start losing we're going to tear him a new one 

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2 minutes ago, Regis22 said:

Enjoy it while we can .  When , if they start losing we're going to tear him a new one 

Haven't had much to cheer about this year. We all know how things can tank on you week to week. In our case it's been a month to month tank until recently

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On 2/22/2022 at 12:20 AM, Graeme-1 said:

Despite how bad things have gotten this season, I haven't felt this good about the team in at least half a decade.

The final straw for me with MB was the Subban trade, less because of Subban himself and more just because it personified everything that was wrong with this organization (both the trade itself and all the stuff that arguably led to it).  Since then, I just haven't following the Habs all that closely. The Leafs series got me kind of back into the team (I'd been wanting to see Habs-Leafs in the playoffs for decades) and the cup run was fun, but it also felt like a fluke that would lead to a decade of misery by making MB and others look a lot smarter than they were.

Then there was the draft - arguably, in a twisted sense, the turning point where management seemingly embarrassed Molson, combined with MB either being tired or greedy and thankfully not signing an extension last summer, followed by the horrific start. All that led to the smart hiring of Gorton, someone who seems philosophically and stylistically so different than MB and everything else that's happened since. I don't just feel better about what the product will look like on the ice, but also just in the way the organization is going to operate: hopefully no more picking public fights with players, ignoring problems in the minors, the lack of communication with fans, or a repeat of that regrettable Timmins interview.

I have no idea if St. Louis is the long-term answer as coach: I'm skeptical the jump from pee-wee to successful NHL coach is a doable one, but at least in the short-term he seems to be just what was needed.

100% my feelings as well.  I've tried to watch regularly a few times over the last number of years but found it more frustrating than anything and I didn't really feel the same attachment to the team that I did before the Subban trade.  Exactly like you said, it wasn't even about Subban himself (although I did like him) but rather about the direction that it signified the organization taking.  Since then I've still been following the team by reading about it and catching a game here and there, but I haven't devoted a lot of time to watch like I used to.

I watched the playoffs last year and that was a lot of fun - so much so that I decided to shell out for Sportsnet's online package this year (we don't have cable).  Welp... that was a bit of a mistake! :lol:  Worse still, I cancelled just before MSL got hired as coach, so I've missed all of the fun since then.  But if things keep going this way, I might just give it another try next year :)

 

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Small sample size, but it's nice to see the team capable of winning four in a row. That's not something I would have felt was possible with Ducharme behind the bench. The players must have hated playing for Ducharme or something. Seems St. Louis will carry them positively through the remainder of the year!

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As stated above, it's obviously a small sample size but what should the organisation do if Marty continues to have such a positive impact on the team and players? How willing should they be to let him have a go at it beyond this year with such little experience as a coach? When you listen to the players, they really seem to respect him and trust in his coaching ideas. He also seems to have a lot of respect (and trust) for them as well. That's not something that can be said for some of the recent coaches we've had. 

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7 minutes ago, MuddyWaterMoose said:

As stated above, it's obviously a small sample size but what should the organisation do if Marty continues to have such a positive impact on the team and players? How willing should they be to let him have a go at it beyond this year with such little experience as a coach? When you listen to the players, they really seem to respect him and trust in his coaching ideas. He also seems to have a lot of respect (and trust) for them as well. That's not something that can be said for some of the recent coaches we've had. 

It will be interesting.  I wonder, if we have success, if they will think about bringing in a more experienced "associate" coach (generally considered to be higher up than an assistant coach) 

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MSL has more than enough hockey experience to be a head coach. Where he differs from past players who failed at coaching is that he seems to have excellent communication skills coupled with an innate ability to motivate others.

His past hockey experience got him in the door and garnered the initial respect from players but then he improved his position with strong interpersonal skills. As mentioned elsewhere he teaches players not systems. It takes a strong leader to get individuals to use their different skill sets in working as a team member to achieve success.  MSL may be that type of leader. He is also succeeding while working with the group of assistant coaches from the past regime......not an easy task.

I think Marty may have been underestimated yet again. I know he has won me over as I watch the players body language as they go to and from the bench. Watch his interaction with the players on the bench......he spends as much time talking to Pez and touching his shoulder etc etc as he does with CC & Nick. This is his team.

It is good that both parties can reassess the situation at season's end and given MSL's probable financial security there will be no need for an excessive term if he is extended. 

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4 hours ago, RCAF48 said:

MSL has more than enough hockey experience to be a head coach. Where he differs from past players who failed at coaching is that he seems to have excellent communication skills coupled with an innate ability to motivate others.

His past hockey experience got him in the door and garnered the initial respect from players but then he improved his position with strong interpersonal skills. As mentioned elsewhere he teaches players not systems. It takes a strong leader to get individuals to use their different skill sets in working as a team member to achieve success.  MSL may be that type of leader. He is also succeeding while working with the group of assistant coaches from the past regime......not an easy task.

I think Marty may have been underestimated yet again. I know he has won me over as I watch the players body language as they go to and from the bench. Watch his interaction with the players on the bench......he spends as much time talking to Pez and touching his shoulder etc etc as he does with CC & Nick. This is his team.

It is good that both parties can reassess the situation at season's end and given MSL's probable financial security there will be no need for an excessive term if he is extended. 

I agree 100% and to top it off look at the team he has! we have some good forwards and a couple of NHL Dmen but other than that....? we have no buisness winning 4 in a row!

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23 hours ago, RCAF48 said:

MSL has more than enough hockey experience to be a head coach. Where he differs from past players who failed at coaching is that he seems to have excellent communication skills coupled with an innate ability to motivate others.

His past hockey experience got him in the door and garnered the initial respect from players but then he improved his position with strong interpersonal skills. As mentioned elsewhere he teaches players not systems. It takes a strong leader to get individuals to use their different skill sets in working as a team member to achieve success.  MSL may be that type of leader. He is also succeeding while working with the group of assistant coaches from the past regime......not an easy task.

I think Marty may have been underestimated yet again. I know he has won me over as I watch the players body language as they go to and from the bench. Watch his interaction with the players on the bench......he spends as much time talking to Pez and touching his shoulder etc etc as he does with CC & Nick. This is his team.

It is good that both parties can reassess the situation at season's end and given MSL's probable financial security there will be no need for an excessive term if he is extended. 

Agreed. He's convinced me he can do the job as well. What I've liked about him so far:

- great communication with players, media, etc. like you said

- doesn't fall into line and just follow convention. You want to win in this league, you have to push the boundaries of strategy and evolve with the type of player you have and the style of game they can play. St. Louis is the first coach we've had in a long time that hasn't just resorted to playing veterans, relying on goaltending, and playing an old-school system. He believes in skill, offence, and skating, and he doesn't punish rookies for small mistakes.

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3 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

Agreed. He's convinced me he can do the job as well. What I've liked about him so far:

- great communication with players, media, etc. like you said

- doesn't fall into line and just follow convention. You want to win in this league, you have to push the boundaries of strategy and evolve with the type of player you have and the style of game they can play. St. Louis is the first coach we've had in a long time that hasn't just resorted to playing veterans, relying on goaltending, and playing an old-school system. He believes in skill, offence, and skating, and he doesn't punish rookies for small mistakes.

Yes to all of the above! I think he is a diamond in the rough and could become a great coach the kind that can win cups with the right players.

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I'm less convinced than everyone else. It's a great story and there's a lot to like, I'm just worried that in general great players don't automatically make great coaches and having a guy move straight from peewee to the NHL throws away everything we think we know about coaching development out the door. And 10 good games doesn't really change anything.

He's a great players coach and clearly a thoughtful guy, and was just what this team needed in the short term. But I just worry the lack of systems and experience will start to become apparent once the new shine wears off.

I'm rooting for him, like I said, it's a great story and I love the way the team is playing, but I'm just worried if it can last. If he gets the full-time gig, please keep the contract small so the team isn't afraid to make a change if needed.

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Just now, Graeme-1 said:

I'm less convinced than everyone else. It's a great story and there's a lot to like, I'm just worried that in general great players don't automatically make great coaches and having a guy move straight from peewee to the NHL throws away everything we think we know about coaching development out the door. And 10 good games doesn't really change anything.

He's a great players coach and clearly a thoughtful guy, and was just what this team needed in the short term. But I just worry the lack of systems and experience will start to become apparent once the new shine wears off.

I'm rooting for him, like I said, it's a great story and I love the way the team is playing, but I'm just worried if it can last. If he gets the full-time gig, please keep the contract small so the team isn't afraid to make a change if needed.

Agreed on keeping the contract small regardless. I think the key thing to realize here is that just having experience doesn't necessarily make a coach better, especially if they're compelled to play an old-school system that actually handicaps your team. Look at some of the best coaches in the game today... Rod Brind'Amour comes to mind as a guy who has put together a strong system, is well-liked by his players, and had zero head coaching experience before taking over the reigns. Yes, he was an assistant coach, but he really changed the way that Carolina approached things when he took over. Jared Bednar had minor league experience but no NHL experience of any kind when he took over the Avs and he's done well with that team. Dean Evason is another guy in his first stint as a head coach in the NHL and doing well with Minnesota. Andrew Brunette is holding his own with Florida despite very little coaching experience. Jon Cooper is one of the best coaches in the league and had no prior NHL coaching jobs before taking over in Tampa. Obviously, as you said, St. Louis has even less experience, but the point would be that new blood isn't necessarily a bad thing and experience in the NHL doesn't necessarily translate into success. It can help, but it can also hinder.

IMO, a coach needs to have a system of play that makes sense and he needs to understand the basics of player deployment (match-ups, zone starts, ice time, linemates, special teams usage, etc.). Therrien had neither. Ducharme had neither. Julien was a master strategist but didn't keep up with the times on player deployment. Carbonneau understood deployment better, but his system wasn't great. Thus far, St. Louis has shown he understands player deployment better than any coach we've had in 30 years. And thus far, the players seem to believe in his system and style of play. You're right that things could easily wane after the honeymoon period and you're right that great players don't automatically make great coaches, but I'm generally pleased with what I've seen from St. Louis so far. If he can do a better job of deployment and have any sort of rational system that builds upon speed and skill and puck support, then I think he's ahead of the game. I'd much rather have someone willing to adapt and someone who recognizes the value of skill than what we had under Bergevin. It remains to be seen how this will translate once the games mean more, but thus far I'm quite optimistic that we've made some advancement, whereas under Bergevin, I always felt like we were spinning our wheels.

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For sure experience doesn't equal being

1 hour ago, BigTed3 said:

Agreed on keeping the contract small regardless. I think the key thing to realize here is that just having experience doesn't necessarily make a coach better, especially if they're compelled to play an old-school system that actually handicaps your team. Look at some of the best coaches in the game today... Rod Brind'Amour comes to mind as a guy who has put together a strong system, is well-liked by his players, and had zero head coaching experience before taking over the reigns. Yes, he was an assistant coach, but he really changed the way that Carolina approached things when he took over. Jared Bednar had minor league experience but no NHL experience of any kind when he took over the Avs and he's done well with that team. Dean Evason is another guy in his first stint as a head coach in the NHL and doing well with Minnesota. Andrew Brunette is holding his own with Florida despite very little coaching experience. Jon Cooper is one of the best coaches in the league and had no prior NHL coaching jobs before taking over in Tampa. Obviously, as you said, St. Louis has even less experience, but the point would be that new blood isn't necessarily a bad thing and experience in the NHL doesn't necessarily translate into success. It can help, but it can also hinder.

IMO, a coach needs to have a system of play that makes sense and he needs to understand the basics of player deployment (match-ups, zone starts, ice time, linemates, special teams usage, etc.). Therrien had neither. Ducharme had neither. Julien was a master strategist but didn't keep up with the times on player deployment. Carbonneau understood deployment better, but his system wasn't great. Thus far, St. Louis has shown he understands player deployment better than any coach we've had in 30 years. And thus far, the players seem to believe in his system and style of play. You're right that things could easily wane after the honeymoon period and you're right that great players don't automatically make great coaches, but I'm generally pleased with what I've seen from St. Louis so far. If he can do a better job of deployment and have any sort of rational system that builds upon speed and skill and puck support, then I think he's ahead of the game. I'd much rather have someone willing to adapt and someone who recognizes the value of skill than what we had under Bergevin. It remains to be seen how this will translate once the games mean more, but thus far I'm quite optimistic that we've made some advancement, whereas under Bergevin, I always felt like we were spinning our wheels.

For sure experience doesn't equal being a good hire: there's plenty of experienced coaches I want nothing to do with.  And you're right there's lots  of guys who might be a little light in one area of experience or another, but St. Louis is just so laughably traditionally unqualified (closest comparison I could think of was when Garth Snow went from backup goalie to GM). Maybe it turns out that doesn't matter and coaching in the minors or major juniors and/or in assistant roles is unnecessary preparation (or that St. Louis is a unicorn who didn't need the background of other coaches) and to find a great NHL coach you just need to identify a bright guy with the right ideas and attitude who knows hockey.  It just all seems a little too convenient, like it can't possibly be that easy, can it?

Time will tell I guess. I totally agree at being pleased with what I've seen so far, I hope my worries are wrong and his style continues to lead to success. And after reading Arpon's interview with St. Louis it's clear he's not just a "rah-rah" guy: he's put a lot of thought into how a team should be coached. I just wish we had more proof of concept of those ideas than a peewee team :D

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11 minutes ago, Graeme-1 said:

For sure experience doesn't equal being

For sure experience doesn't equal being a good hire: there's plenty of experienced coaches I want nothing to do with.  And you're right there's lots  of guys who might be a little light in one area of experience or another, but St. Louis is just so laughably traditionally unqualified (closest comparison I could think of was when Garth Snow went from backup goalie to GM). Maybe it turns out that doesn't matter and coaching in the minors or major juniors and/or in assistant roles is unnecessary preparation (or that St. Louis is a unicorn who didn't need the background of other coaches) and to find a great NHL coach you just need to identify a bright guy with the right ideas and attitude who knows hockey.  It just all seems a little too convenient, like it can't possibly be that easy, can it?

Time will tell I guess. I totally agree at being pleased with what I've seen so far, I hope my worries are wrong and his style continues to lead to success. And after reading Arpon's interview with St. Louis it's clear he's not just a "rah-rah" guy: he's put a lot of thought into how a team should be coached. I just wish we had more proof of concept of those ideas than a peewee team :D

The fact MSL was an older veteran with TB for many years, he might have had some experience in a bit of a "player-coach" role. I'm sure he had some input into how to exploit match-ups and when he wanted to be on the ice and how the PP ran, for example. So in some ways, he might have as much experience being in the coach's ear and knowing how things run as an assistant coach. Again, it doesn't mean it works for everyone, but if he's smart enough to know what to do with that information, then it could help him as a coach.

It's definitely an outside-the-box hire, but I'll come back to the fact that all our in-the-box hires have flopped, so it's somewhat refreshing to me to see a different way of thinking, and it doesn't hurt that his philosophy to date has largely mirrored my own views of how to run the team that I've been clamoring for during the Bergevin era.

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2 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

The fact MSL was an older veteran with TB for many years, he might have had some experience in a bit of a "player-coach" role. I'm sure he had some input into how to exploit match-ups and when he wanted to be on the ice and how the PP ran, for example. So in some ways, he might have as much experience being in the coach's ear and knowing how things run as an assistant coach. Again, it doesn't mean it works for everyone, but if he's smart enough to know what to do with that information, then it could help him as a coach.

It's definitely an outside-the-box hire, but I'll come back to the fact that all our in-the-box hires have flopped, so it's somewhat refreshing to me to see a different way of thinking, and it doesn't hurt that his philosophy to date has largely mirrored my own views of how to run the team that I've been clamoring for during the Bergevin era.

Perhaps the way forward is not to have a traditional old school coach and have more of a leader who takes what the other coaches on the bench have to contribute and they work together as a unit, it seems to be what they are doing now?

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No idea if it's viable to keep him long-term and it's also a really small sample size but if the boys keep playing the way they are since the coaching change, do we really need a new coach next season? It's extremely unlikely that we're suddenly going to be a contender and it's MSL who's costing us points. He may be inexperienced and not as strong as other candidates as far as systems or overall strategy, but player development seems to be his strongest suit and that's probably what we need most right now – and in the immediate future.

Sure, it's definitely premature, but I don't think they'll show him the door in the offseason if we can keep this going. It's night and day compared to Ducharme and the players seem to have rallied behind MSL. Losing sucks but it's something fans can stomach for a while if there's a plan in place and progress is being made. Under Ducharme, however, the team got humiliated on the ice night after night, and that's unacceptable for everyone.

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I still can't help but have that "too good to be true" and "just seems too easy" feeling, and we're all prone to project badly based on small-sample-sizes, but it's hard to argue with both the results and how the team is playing: they actually look aggressive, fast, skilled, intelligent and a hard team to play.  They're going out and consistently keeping up with and often beating good teams and it's not just fluky wins due to a hot goaltending streak or something.

It's really hard to believe this is the same team that started the season. I don't want to dump on the guy since he seemed like a decent person, but was DD really that bad of a coach or was he just monumentally unlucky? 

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