2011 Montreal Canadiens: Why Jacques Martin Deserves Credit for Teams Success

November 12th, 2010 by Bradley Karp Leave a reply »
The Montreal Canadiens are off to a surprising start for most, almost as surprising as their conference final finish last season. There are many reasons as to why they are sitting atop their division and tied for fourth in the league.

It's actually the same reason why they had such a deep playoff run last spring. They've been winning close defensive hockey games, buying into Jacques Martin's system.

Sure, lots of credit goes to the players for executing, but the majority of it should be given to a coach who started off the season without his best player (Markov) and has had to deal with a slumping start to the season from his most skilled players (Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri).

Martin's system is very simple: defense first. All players are accountable for what happens in the defensive zone; no one has a free ride when it comes to defense. The defensive accountability has cut the number of shots by opposing teams in half, compared to last seasons 35+ shots per game average.

The entire system is designed to make the goaltender's job easier, which it has with the Canadiens averaging about 25 shots against per g ...

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