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"Habs Nation United"
Ottawa, ON • Canada • 21 Years Old • Male
''Its a blindfold kick back type of a game
Called the Kansas City Shuffle
Whereas you look left and they fall right
Into the Kansas City Shuffle
Its a they-think you-think you don't know
Type of Kansas City hustle
Where you take your time
Wait your turn
And hang them up, and out to dry''

It was just last night that I was watching the movie Lucky Number Slevin which is based on the jazz classic by Bennie Moten. Imagine the irony when I woke up this morning only to find out that the Montreal Canadiens had a new coach in Jacques Martin. Although Eklund and Sportsnet, among others, reported late last night that Gainey and Martin were having talks about the latter taking over as head coach, how many members of the media or fans even had Jacques Martin on their list of potential candidates?

In fact who would of guessed that the two men that probably spent countless hours on the phone during the past months talking about the Panthers 6'4 workhorse, would spend a lot less time coming to an agreement seeing one of them leaving his job to get back behind a bench and working for the other one.

As unpredictable as that move was I still believe it is a good one for the Montreal legendary organization. Martin brings many things to the table that the team's been lacking since the days of Scotty Bowman and Jacques Demers. One of those things, and the most important in my opinion, is experience.

In fact he's been nominated several times for the Jack Adams trophy, even winning it once in 1999. Most of his dectractors cite his playoffs misfortunes as one of his weakest points. Even though it's true that he hasn't won the Holy Grail of hockey yet, he's gone further in the playoffs than any coach of the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge since Jacques Demers brought us our last championship, and all that with Patrick Lalime as his starting goaltender.

Another thing the fans on the boards and sports websites seem to already be knocking on him about is that he's a defense first coach and that he might bring a ''boring'' type of hockey in Montreal. I'll simply answer that with two simple questions: ''Would you rather see an exciting offensive team and be out in the first round or have a solid defense-first team that might be a little more boring, but win the cup?'' and ''Have you ever heard of the New Jersey Devils?''

Finally other really important aspects Martin brings to the table is a hard-working ethic, good communication and respect, all things that weren't necessarily present during the Tremblay, Vigneault, Therrien, Julien and Carbonneau eras (although some of them with a little time became very respectable coaches in the big leagues). Therefore I see Martin has the guy being able to surround the younger kids with the right work frame and keeping them in the right line. All of that without mentioning the impact he might have in drawing potential free agents such as Marian Hossa and Jay Bouwmeester to the world's capital of hockey.

Once again, hands down to Bob Gainey for having everyone looking to the left and making it fall to the right. That is what we call the perfect Kansas City Shuffle.

Eric Laplante
[email protected]
Filed Under:   Montreal   Canadiens   Gainey   Martin   coach  
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