The axe continues to fall on NHL coaches.
Today the Montreal Canadiens let go of their 26th coach in franchise history. After slipping to 11th place in the Eastern Conference and netting a record of 3-3-4 in their last ten, the organization believed a change was needed. This can be considered Montreal’s second move in trying to shake things up. In late October, the club let go of assistant coach Perry Pearn after the team failed to produce a winning record.
The last two seasons have been fairly good for Martin and the Canadiens. After qualifying for the playoffs in April of 2010, they rolled through the first two rounds by defeating the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. The magic ran out as they fell in the conference finals to the Philadelphia Flyers. In April of 2011, the Canadiens again qualified for the playoffs but lost in a tough first round matchup with the eventual Stanley Cup winner Boston Bruins.
The man who will be replacing Jacques Martin will be Randy Cunneyworth. After playing 20 years in the NHL, Cunneyworth moved on to coaching by spending seven seasons as the head coach of the AHL Rochester Americans. He received an opportunity in the NHL as an assistant coach for the Atlanta Thrashers in 2010. Cunneyworth will take over a team that not only needs to stop the current slide, but also has some of their top players on injured reserve. Captain Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez, and Andrei Markov are all shelved due to various injuries. If Cunneyworth can turn the ship around, the club may consider removing the “interim” title at the end of the season.
Kyle Turris Traded to Ottawa
The sun has finally set for Kyle Turris in Phoenix. The Coyotes traded their disgruntled young center to the Ottawa Senators for rookie defenseman David Rundbald and a second round draft pick in the 2012 draft. Turris made headlines this season for holding out for a new contract after he wasn’t pleased with initial offers by the Coyotes. The two parties came to a mutual agreement on November 22nd for a two-year, $2.8M dollar contract. Even then, Turris never had secure footing in the organization. In return, the Coyotes look to bolster their defense with a highly touted prospect who will become a strong staple in the their defense. The 6’2″ 190 lb Swedish 1st round pick provides Phoenix with yet another player that can grow with another young first round pick in Oliver Ekman-Larsson.