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The Canadiens Versus Jacques Martin's Teams - Not As Conclusive As Gainey Had Stated

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When Montreal Canadiens GM Bob Gainey announced Jacques Martin as the team's new coach on June 1, he put a great spin and sell on the signing by recalling how hard it was to play against Martin coached clubs, especially during his season's behind the Ottawa Senators bench. 

"I remember we spent a lot of time in our end, and that was good for their team, and not very good for our team", Gainey was quoted as saying.

I recall those years quite vividly. The Senators it seemed, were growing into a Cup contender, and the Canadiens never had it easy against them. Games against Ottawa seemed to be settled early in contests. Martin's biggest roadblocks tended to be the Toronto Maple Leafs, who ate up a club perceived by many to be filled with soft Europeans. Several kicks at the Leafs can proved to be his undoing.

Historically, the Florida Panthers always seemed to give the Canadiens inexplicable fits. On numerous occasions, a weaker Florida club stymied the Habs on trips down south, and were an equally prickly foe on Montreal ice. Coming into the 2008-09 season, they were the lone club the Canadiens had an all time losing record against. Adding Martin as a coach three seasons ago, only furthered the Canadiens hapless record versus their suntanned rivals.

Yesterday, upon the Canadiens' signing of defenseive forward Travis Moen, I began to see a Martin imprint on the moves Gainey has made since June 30. Seemingly rampant and random moves by Gainey began making more sense.

With center Scott Gomez coming in as the initial puzzle piece on the ice, and Martin's structured coaching methods as a systematic base going forward, I could see a plan forming, despite the fog left by dramatic changes to the team.

No matter what I, you, or the Canadiens media think of these radical changes to our beloved Habs, it seems that quality free agents - now numbering seven - are buying into the Habs potential.

Now if you have read at this site for any length of time, you surely know, understand, and are aware that I base my opinions on fact whenever possible. I prefer to back up my points with as much proof as I can pack, letting fact, truth and logic dictate the course of discussing, with as much balance as I can provide.

I began this post with coach Martin very much in mind. Remembering how hard a time Canadiens teams had against Martin coached clubs, I thought I would dig up the stats and details and put proof in the pudding.

Boy, did I ever fire wide!

What I was looking for, I not only did not find, but I discovered quite the contrary.

After a moment of disapointment, I concluded that truth is truth. Despite striking out on where I wanted to go with this, my findings still had worth, because of fact.

I dug up Martin's record against the Canadiens - from the 2001-02 season when he was in Ottawa to his most recent season coaching the Panthers in 2007-08 - and the results are hardly as conclusive as Gainey stated on June 1.

Here's a breakdown of surface numbers and stats - draw your own conclusions, and make your own theories.

Versus Florida

2007-08

Oct 16 Panthers 2 Canadiens 1 SO

Dec 18 Panthers 3 Canadiens 2

Dec 28 Canadiens 5 Panthers 1

Feb 13 Canadiens 2 Panthers 1 SO

2006-07

Nov 16 Panthers 5 Canadiens 1

Nov 28 Canadiens 1 Panthers 0

Dec 29 Panthers 3 Canadiens 1

Feb 13 Panthers 1 Canadiens 0

2005-06

Nov 1 Canadiens 5 Panthers 4 OT

Nov 15 Canadiens 4 Panther 3 OT

Dec 30 Panthers 2 Canadiens 1

Mar 2 Canadiens 1 Panthers 0

Versus Ottawa

2003-04

Oct 9 Senators 5 Canadiens 2

Oct 25 Senators 6 Canadiens 2

Nov 15 Canadiens 3 Senators 2

Feb 14 Senators 5 Canadiens 2

Feb 24 Canadiens 4 Senators 2

Mar 25 Senators 4 Canadiens 0

2002-03

Oct 26 Canadiens 5 Senators 3

Nov 21 Senators 3 Canadiens 2

Dec 16 Canadiens 3 Senators 2

Dec 27 Senators 3 Canadiens 2 OT

Mar 29 Senators 3 Canadiens 1

2001-02

Oct 4 Canadiens 6 Senators 4

Jan 26 Canadiens 1 Senators 1 OT

Feb 26 Senators 5 Canadiens 2

Apr 7 Canadiens 3 Senators 1

Apr 9 Canadiens 4 Senators 3

Versus Martin with the Florida Panthers

6-5-0-1 - Montreal's record versus Florida in the three seasons Martin coached the Panthers from 2005-06 to 2007-08

24 - goals scored by Montreal / 2.00 GPG

25 - goals scored by Florida / 2.08 GPG

9/12 - games in which Florida held Montreal to two goals or less

7/12 - games in which Montreal held Florida to two goals or less

4 - one goal wins by Montreal

3 - one goals wins by Florida

1 - wins by two goals or more by Montreal

2 - wins by two goals or more by Florida

Versus Martin with the Ottawa Senators

7-8-1-0 - Montreal's record versus Ottawa in the three seasons Martin coached the Senators from 2001-02 to 2003-04

42 - goals scored by Montreal / 2.62 GPG

52 - goals scored by Ottawa / 3.25 GPG

9/16 - games in which Ottawa held Montreal to two goals or less

5/16 - games in which Montreal held Ottawa to two goals or less

3 - one goal wins by Montreal

2 - one goals wins by Ottawa

4 - wins by two goals or more by Montreal

6 - wins by two goals or more by Ottawa

Versus Martin's teams, Florida and Ottawa combined

13-13-1-1 - Montreal's record versus Ottawa and Florida in the last six seasons Martin coached both

66 - goals scored by Montreal / 2.35 GPG

77 - goals scored by Martin's teams / 2.82 GPG

18/28 - games in which Martin's teams held Montreal to two goals or less

12/28 - games in which Montreal held Martin's teams to two goals or less

7 - one goal wins by Montreal

5 - one goals wins by Martin's teams

5 - wins by two goals or more by Montreal

8 -wins by two goals or more by Martin's teams