I was told by a number of people including Alan Cohen that Jacques Martin was in Rochester, N.Y., scouting and talking to players as well as trying to figure out the ownership mess there (which I'm told is still in flux but the Panthers are expected to be there alone next season anyway).
Here's the deal: I don't know where Jacques is right now.
I mistakingly said he was in Rochester because he was not. According to Panthers spokesman Justin Copertino, when he talked to Jacques on Friday morning, he was still in South Florida. Martin was expected to be at Friday's Americans game in Rochester, but my people there told me he never showed. Duane Sutter was there, but there was no sign of Jacques.
What does this all mean? I don't know. I know Jacques doesn't like many of the aspects of the general manager's job and would much rather be a coach. But that's not an option right now, at least not in Florida. So, I would assume Jacques is in his beachfront condo working the phones, seeing what's open out there and weighing his options.
I think Alan Cohen is cool with that. If Jacques found something, I think he would be set free to pursue it (JM has two years left on his contract). But, JM would have to be darn sure he had a gig lined up before stepping away from the Panthers and the guaranteed money that awaits him. JM has bills just like the rest of us and money can be a very motivating factor.
Anyway, to sum things up -- and one of the reasons I brought it up -- is that the implication that Jacques Martin is out on the road, doing general manager type stuff (thereby saying all is well and he's ready to move on simply as the Florida GM) is definitely misleading.
Of course, he could have been in Estero doing, you know, general manager stuff.
-- My thought: JM comes back as general manager, keeping an eye open for any coaching job that comes around. But being the general manager of an NHL team is a pretty good gig.
-- Speaking of Rochester, just checked out the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, where Kevin Oklobzija writes that while Randy Cunneyworth is under contract to the Sabres through the end of the summer, if the Panthers want him, something can be worked out. Sabres GM Darcy Regier said Friday that he'll do anything to get Cunneyworth into the league.
Cunneyworth, it should be noted, has long ties to Martin and seems to be a good looking candidate. Cunneyworth has done a very good job working with the minor leaguers with both the Panthers and Sabres, and used to be captain of the Senators during JM's early years as coach there.
Cunneyworth has paid his dues, more than deserves a shot, and I think he would be a good fit here. That's just my take.
-- Speaking of Estero, the Everblades are in big trouble. They've lost the first two games of their opening round series against the Columbia, S.C., Inferno, and now have to go on the road. The Blades have to win the next two on the road to force a winner-take-all Game 5 to be played in Estero on Tuesday. One more loss and the Blades join the Panthers and the Americans on the golf course.
-- Going on the air with Goldie at 10:30. 790-AM kiddies...