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. 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.