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MONDAY LIVE!: Jacques Martin in Montreal - With Quotes! ... Bill Torrey, Randy Sexton in Charge ... Speaking with Michael Yormark, Pete DeBoer, Torrey and Sexton

Jacques Working the Jacques Martin story throughout the day and am awaiting the press conference from Montreal. Updates here all day long (no golf for this guy).

The Panthers have released a statement with owner Alan Cohen wishing JM luck in his new gig. Bill Torrey, the team's alternate governor and architect of the Islanders' dynasty, will lead the search for the new GM. Torrey Mr. Torrey -- a Hall of Famer -- will work with assistant GM Randy Sexton on free agency issues and stuff relating to the upcoming draft.

And word is there will be no compensation from the Canadiens. The Panthers waived their right to anything when they allowed the Canadiens to talk to JM in the first place.

“On behalf of the entire Florida Panthers organization, we would like to thank Jacques for five years of service to our franchise and wish him the best of luck in his new position,” Cohen said. “An extensive search for a new general manager will begin immediately, and we are fortunate to have someone like Mr. Torrey to lead us through this process. We will look to bring in the best person possible.”

-- So, what, exactly, has JM been doing lately? Well, he hasn't been involved in many negotiations as far as I can tell. Just got off the phone with David Booth. He says there has been no contact with his agent and JM of late. Craig Anderson told me the same thing last week in Indy. Jay Bouwmeester's agent told Barry Jackson of El Herald that he hadn't heard from JM either.

Booth says he wants to be here, and being at Joe Louis Arena last night inspired him. ''I want to bring that to Florida,'' he said. ''It was loud there, but I really think it would be louder in Florida. I think the Detroit fans are just so used to this they kind of take it for granted. Our fans wouldn't.''

-- Booth also had plenty of praise for JM: ''He really gave me confidence when I was a young player. He was always great to me. It's sad that a guy like this is leaving our organization.''

-- Stephen Weiss also had praise for JM as a coach, saying ''I think he's a great coach.''

-- Weiss said he had surgery on his wrist five weeks ago and is close to 100 percent. ''I'm very happy with that.''

-- JM's presser is on NHL Network right now; can also be found on French channel RDS.ca

Its a great pleasure to be part of his team. I'm really looking forward to the challenge.

Look at how team performed in five years, its 10th overall, 40 wins a season. Look at players in the organization, strong nucleaus, strong base to build a wining team. Really looking forward and am excited in leading this team next year.

When Bob approached me for the position, I think I was surprised and flattered from a standpoint that I have a lot of respect for what Bob accomplished as a player, coach and in management. Won the Stanley Cup numerous times. .-.-.

I really believe this organization is rich in people and to me, that's a very important ingredient.

We had the opportunity to discuss at length philosophy, the operation, players, the league. I was really excited by those conversations with Bob. We had good chemistry. The fact that I had the opportunity to be a GM gives me a better appreciation between the player and coach. We concluded it last evening. It didn't take me a long time to make up my mind. This opportunity to come back to my roots, a French-Canadian who knows the passion that exists in that market. Been in Ottawa, both French and English where hockey is a religion. To get back in this kind of market, where fans are so committed and passionate. Its a great opportunity to work in this.

Said BOB GAINEY:

We love Montreal as a market but it comes with demands and pressure. Jacques has shown he can handle that not only the coaching but the environment in Montreal. Experience is very important, but he's a professional. At his core, he wants to coach. He's a teacher, brings people together. Very valuable for all of us to have him be part of our group.

Speaking to Michael Yormark and Bill Torrey in the coming hour...more then...


Here's what the Florida Four had to say:

MICHAEL YORMARK

The Canadiens contacted us 10 days ago for permission. Alan spoke to Jacques about whether he wanted to talk to Montreal. As we all can imagine, for a French-Canadian kid growing up in Canada, every young kid's dream was to coach or play for the Canadiens.

Clearly Jacques was interested in talking to them about the job. Talks took place last night, got word last night that Jacques took the position. We are sorry to see him leave. He put in five great years with the Panthers. We are turning the page and moving forward.

Bill Torrey has been asked to lead the search for the new GM. Bill will report directly to Alan during this interim process. He will lead the search, identify candidates and go through the interview process.

We will make sure we are ready for the draft, free agency period and any hockey related things that come up during this process. Randy Sexton will be the point person on all hockey related matters and work closely with Pete in how we construct the team moving forward.

Bylaws indicate no compensation for a transaction. The Canadiens asked for permission, we granted that permission. That was the terms of the deal.

Is it the ideal situation, no. The window of opportunity meant the Canadians had to act. This is something we had to let Jacques pursue if he was passionate about it. Jacques is a very professional guy. We're not concerned with him being in Montreal. Our hockey guys will do the job and move forward.

PETE DeBOER

I'm not sure I saw it coming. I felt he really threw himself into the GM role. My thought in coming here was I would get a chance to work with a GM who had recently been a head coach. He knew what coaches went through. I could rely on him. That's what I got. On a day-to-day basis, he really supported me and let me make my own decisions. He also had some great advice at key times for me.

You don't just stop coaching after 25 years. It doesn't leave your blood. It's always in your blood. I didn't see it coming.

I talked to Jacques this morning, early this morning. He informed me he was taken the job. I had not spoken to him about that. I didn't know it was a possibility.

It's in real capable hands. The guys we have right now between Michael Yormark, Randy Sexton, Bill Torrey, Scott Luce. I'm real comfortable that we're not going to drop any balls. We're going to get done what needs to get done. Lot of work, but every team in the league is in the same position. Hopefully when we open camp in September, all this business will be taken care of.

BILL TORREY

I would say in order of importance here, we are going to get the search for JM successor and new GM as quickly as we possibly can. Randy has been privy to all conversations between players and agents. He'll be working on that area. At this time of year,so many things affect future of team, not one thing, have to move forward in all areas. As best we can, run our business as any team would at this time of year.

We have to assess who is available. Those who are under contract, can we talk to them. Free to come here if they are selected. Identity of all candidate is the first part, start whittling that down. Get serious candidates. It's the individual who will best fit our established jobs here. Pete did a great job guiding this young team, want to find someone compatible with him, know the team that's here and supplement what we have.

Jay is a part of this organization until July 1. We'll be moving forward as best we can to try and retain his services and the specific steps will have to be reconsidered. There are a number of free agents who have to be dealt with as soon as we can.

I want someone who will represent this organization in the best way in public as well as in the dressing room.

This is a team that has improved, is a young team but one that still has some needs. [The new GM] has to be comfortable with Pete. We have to keep this thing moving forward. We have to find out what is out there, then find out who fits. You have to feel your way around. More than one good candidate and I don't think the final decision will be an easy one.

We're going forward with clear understanding that Peter is here. We have to find someone comfortable with that, can do that. Scott Luce has done a great job. He is in place. In this particular place we have people in place who are going forward. We have to find someone who can work with that and are ready to move forward. I have served my time. I know where I am in this life. My heart is with this franchise, want to see it move along.

RANDY SEXTON

Had a conversation with [Bouwmeester agent] Byron [Baltimore] three days ago. Jacques talk with Jay at end of season and they agreed to a three or four week break to see how things went. Things continue to unfold. I don't think it's appropriate to talk about agent/player conversations. We have a plan in place, we're doing our best to make that happen.




Comments

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This is the best news for Panther fans in a very long time. The fact that Torrey is involved in the GM search and Sexton is hopefully considered interim at best is a good sign as well. Wish we could have snagged Newy before Dallas did. But man is this sweet. Thanks, George. The writer on hockeybuzz.com has a good discussion going on about this as well.

Torrey should consider himself for the job.

Ownership completely failed. The Panthers will now have a rookie or newbie or interim GM going into the busiest time of the season.

Oh, and for NOTHING. No pick, no prospects, no future considerations, not even a bag of pucks.

Is this yet another cost-cutting move?

This team is doomed to failure with Cohen/Yormark.

This might sound dumb. But maybe this brings oli back to florida?? hmmmm

Olli has no place here. His place is on a team where he can be the 3rd or 4th scorer. Even Mike Keenan couldn't coax anything out of him outside of a couple game stretch at the end of the year. Also, the murmurs of his "character questions" grew out of Calgary and may have been the reason for Keenan's firing.

great news that Torrey is conducting the search, better than Cohen/Yormark.
The fans in Montreal are already up in arms on the War Room they could not believe that Montreal would pick Martin, appears to them his best feature is that he speaks French.

As far as the new GM is concerned if the rumors are true that Sexton is only going to be GM until the team is sold which should be soon then the new regime can clean up the mess left behind by Cohen/Yormark.

two names to consider are Dave Nonis who did a great job in Vancouver and is working in Toronto now and to give the organization some credibility Steve Yzerman who is learning the ropes in Detroit.

Yormark has known for 10 days that this might happen, why weren't any feelers sent out then to Fletcher or Newy to tell them what was happening.

This organization has never been the same since Chuck Fletcher left. While Chuck Fletcher was here, we had what was considered one of the best core of youngsters, then Cohen bypast Fletcher and Fletcher went to Pittsburgh and they are loaded with young players while we continue to flounder.

Cohen has missed on every GM he has picked. Keenan appears to be available again as it looks like Calgary is set to name Daryl Sutter as their new coach. I hope Cohen doesn't pick Keenan a third time.

That last two things this team needs is Keenan or Olli. As usual Olli did nothing down the stretch.

I totally agree with JimH's comment.

If JM wanted to leave so badly, so be it. I would not want someone holding that position of authority, all the while wanting to be somewhere else.

But Mr. Cohen could have easily said thanks for your efforts, but for you to bailout 3 weeks before the draft and F/A period, Mr. Gainey will have to cough up his #1 draft pick this year."

But no, not this Ownership...I think the only thing that can be said is that recent history proves Cohen is consistent...would pathetic be too strong a word???

hire pierre mcguire!!!...panthers are going to be screwed if they dont hire someone quickly...especially with JM representing the panthers at the combine this past week and the bouwmeester situation needing to be resolved within the next month.

Nice that Jacques Martin abandoned ship without making any process toward any of our free agents. I hope he has fun with all the rats and continues to sink in Montreal.

first the league rules don't allow for compensation only that you need permission.

once it was known that JM was interested in the Montreal job the panthers should have started their search and have in place a plan for the draft and free agency.

It says a lot that JM has not spoken to any of the free agents in weeks.

Hopefully the sale will happen quickly so that we can again have an organization with a clue running hockey in South Florida.

Lack of a succession/contingency plan? It's inexcusable... almost inconceivable that Cohen etc. wouldn't have prepared a list of wish-list candidates. So either it's yet another example of management incompetence, or they're farther along that they've let on. And I don't think they're very far along, given that Bill Torrey was formally named to lead a search effort.

Where to start the GM search? Maybe Detroit!!!! There must be an Ass't GM in Detroit that is looking for a promotion

There is more here than meets the eye. This is my speculation as to what really is going on. It now seems probable that the reported sale is going to close by June 30 and that the new ownership group will take control of the hockey side of the business. When the Habs opportunity presented itself, Martin elected to go that route presumably because Cohen could not guarantee that JM would remain as GM post-sale. Besides, the new owners will now not have to buy JM out of his contract.

ooh no if they get Mike Keenan im moving out of florida

This is all great news. Cohen will soon be on his way out too with the new ownership. The new ownership is not going to want the continued horrible game play. If the Canadiens and Flames can make it into the playoffs with the team that they had, our team can too with some changes.

I'm hoping that the Bou's rights are traded by July 1st and that Vokoun is gone too (Vokoun's talent is equal to ANderson). The panthers should start by revamping their forward lines and finding another defenseman. I'm predicting one big signing this summer - for a player that is almost done (Those are the only players that like to come to Florida).After all, if the new management team wants to make money, it's got to start by bringing some brand player names to Florida somehow.Its going to be tough for how horrible the team has treated its departing players.

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