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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Jacques Martin Canned As Coach: Is It A Smart Idea To Keep Him Around?

This still developing story out of South Florida is puzzling. If Jacques Martin's presence was so toxic as a coach, I wonder if it would be a good idea to keep him around as a GM. Ethan J. Skolnick of the Sun-Sentinel seems to concur. If he becomes GM, he may look for a coach who sees things the way he did (having similar flaws), which according to owner Alan Cohen is the reason he got fired.

As a GM, Martin has been so-so. He really put the organization's rebuilding on the fast track, while making up for one of the most lopsided deals in NHL history, by acquiring Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun did an admirable job, playing behind a porous defence, stopping the most shots in the NHL. He also wisely locked up young stud Nathan Horton to a long-term deal, and got Jason Cullimore on a one way ticket to Miami on a base salary deal. However, he also seriously overpaid Stephen Weiss and Bryan Allen, their contracts combining to form a $6 million noose on the neck of the Panthers. Also, Skrastins is an underrated defenceman, but at that salary, and with bigger priorities for the team, is also overpaid.

Based on his moves alone, it would be interesting to see how Jacques Martin would do as a GM. He seems to have some potential, however the GM's post is about more than just making trades. It's about providing leadership and a calming, stabilizing force from the hockey side of the organization. If his leadership was toxic from behind the bench, it would be stupid to give him the job. However, if they believe that his problems are strictly due to having to deal with the players on a day to day basis, and he would do well from greater distance from the players, then he might be worth hiring, so long as too many bridges haven't been burned.

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