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JM the Canadien: Jacques Martin New Coach of Montreal ... Quebec Press Conference Today @ 2 p.m. ... Hello Frozen Poll

Jacques1 BY GEORGE RICHARDS; grichards@MiamiHerald.com

A highly placed source within the Florida Panthers organization confirmed Monday
morning that general manager Jacques Martin is going to leave the team to become the new
coach of the Montreal Canadiens.

The Canadiens have scheduled a 2 p.m. press conference to introduce Martin. The press conference will be held at Bell Center, the team's arena near downtown Montreal.

Martin, 56, just completed his third season as Florida's general manager. He coached
the team for three seasons before being relieved of that duty last summer. Martin was
asked to stay on as general manager by owner Alan Cohen and Martin agreed, signing a
four-year contract.

What sort of compensation the Canadiens would give to the Panthers isn't clear, and it
is not known if Martin would personally have to buy out his own contract to leave. Cohen
and Martin -- who was scheduled to attend the team's development camp in Ontario on Monday
-- were not available for comment. According to a Panthers source, Martin is not at the development camp and is in Montreal.

Prior to coming to the Panthers, Martin spent parts of nine seasons as coach of the
Ottawa Senators, leading that team to the playoffs for eight consecutive years. He was
fired in Ottawa after the 2004 campaign after the Senators were knocked out by Toronto in
the opening round.

Martin was soon hired to coach the Panthers with Mike Keenan becoming the team's
general manager. After one season (and a Roberto Luongo trade), Keenan was fired and
Martin was elevated to the front office while also serving as the team's coach.

The Panthers did not advance to the postseason in any of Martin's four seasons with the
club, and Florida hasn't been to the playoffs since 2000 -- the longest current streak in
the league and second-longest drought in NHL history.

Martin, who was also head coach of the St. Louis Blues from 1986-88, has coached in
1,098 games with a record of 517-406-56 with 119 ties.

Randy Sexton, Florida's current assistant general manager, could be a candidate for the
main job and could at least run things on an interim basis as the draft is coming up later
this month in Montreal.

Joe Nieuwendyk, who retired as a Florida player in 2006, would have been a prime
candidate to replace Martin in the front office, but Florida's timing was not right.
Nieuwendyk is being formally introduced as the new GM in Dallas on Monday. Former Florida
assistant general manager Chuck Fletcher also recently took the GM job in Minnesota.

Florida has plenty of offseason business to take care of, with Jay Bouwmeester (whose
agent told The Miami Herald that he hasn't spoken to the Panthers in a long time) a
pending free agent on July 1. Backup goalie Craig Anderson and wingers Radek Dvorak and
Ville Peltonen are also free agents.

The Panthers also are in negotiations with restricted free agent David Booth -- a
third-year forward who led the team in goals this past season.


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While JM is not a bad guy, he was unable to turn franchise around. I will gladly help him pack his suitcase

Attn Habs, I will be happy to help with all of his moving. If you want him then just TAKE HIM

This could be our best off season move it gets done. But JM will probably mess it up.

Why in the world would they release the GM in the month leading up to the draft? There goes all the Panthers' scouting info, contract negotiation info, etc. JM may be the third-most hated person in PantherLand (I'm looking at you, Yormark and Cohen) but he's got all the marbles leading into the draft and free agency.

Montreal HAS to pay the Panthers with picks/players/prospects. If the Panthers' brass didn't negotiate some form of compensation, they should be dragged out into the parking lot and flogged for public amusement.

(now there's a season ticket drive that needs to be considered: re-up your tix and get three free swings at the executive of your choice)

I was really hoping JM would stick around for one more season and get some more of the organizational house in order (particularly an ECHL affiliation). Losing him now brings up all sorts of questions that we might not like the answer to.

Ah, well...no point crying over spilt milk, though.

Wow--I feel he was never comfortable in the GM position and wanted to be closer to the ice.

I bet we are going to see a ton of new/missing jerseys on the ice this year! I wonder what this means for J-Bo.

Potvin for GM?!?!? Better that Keenan, no?

Dont even joke about keenan coming back that would be a nightmare

Oh please not Mike Keenan.

Why am I not sad about this? Oh that's right, we still haven't made the playoffs under the Martin coaching or GM regimes. Although last year technically we tied for the last spot and showed good improvement, I think this franchise could use a shot in the arm to take it to the next level.

Like GR said, it's a shame Niewy just became the GM of Dallas b/c he brings respect to the franchise even though he doesn't have much experience.

Very interesting that the Panthers haven't spoken to Bouwmeester in a long time. I believe that's because both sides know there will be no extension signed.

The Keenan joke is absolutely NOT funny!!!

No stability in this organization. What a complete joke of a team and business they are running down in South Florida. He obviously is leaving because they are going to have a salary dump this season. Please don't expect something magical to happen. This team is a 75 and below point team.

I second Potvin!!

We all know now were J-BO is going...no doudt he will b a NAB

Well, two former candidates from “within” (Nieuwendyk and Fletcher) are both gone. Anybody but Keenan, right?? (My vote: Pierre McGuire, who came in second for the job in Minnesota.)

I personally would like to see another panther alum brought in maybe Brian Skrudland? Beezer?

Now we get to watch as Martin fails to get Canada's team over the hump! Maybe the Panthers can move on now and actually make the playoffs.

Potvin sounds crazy but it might just work. Either way I doubt he'd do it after the way he was kicked out. Talk about burning bridges....
Good job once again Cohen.

Hey, betcha Alan Cohen will bring back Mike Keenan!

All kidding aside, I don't know if JM leaving at the present time is good thing b/c there's only a few weeks between now and the entry draft and when free agency begins. Gulp!

No compensation to the Panthers. Cohen just voided the contract. Maybe Martin had something in his contract that said that he could leave if the team was sold.

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