Montreal looking for a d-man?
LeBrun: I heard from sources on other teams Monday that Gauthier was phoning around looking for help on defense. The thing is, he’s not alone. Tampa and the New York Rangers are among the other teams also looking for blue-line help. It just so happens that Cody Franson is available in Toronto, although I’m not sure whether any of those three teams has interest in him.
It’s no surprise that Montreal is looking for help on defense given that Gauthier never expected Markov to miss the opening month of the season when he signed him this past summer. Then, Chris Campoli, whom I thought was a clever pickup, gets injured in the opening game of the season. He’s out at least a couple of months. And Jaroslav Spacek was finally back Monday night after missing most of this young season. So, the Canadiens were missing three of their top six blueliners for most of the opening month, which is why they’ve struggled so much defensively (very un-Martin-like).
Their power play, meanwhile, is 29th in the NHL. That’s a toxic combination. Now piling on to all of this is a combustible market ready to explode. It’s a lonely feeling if you’re the coach. Michel Therrien knows it all too well. (He was let go by Montreal in 2002-03.) I reached him Tuesday, and he certainly felt for Martin.
“It’s a situation that’s really hard to live,” Therrien, who guided the Penguins to the 2008 Cup finals, told ESPN.com. “When you’re coaching the Montreal Canadiens, you really have to concentrate on the job and not allow yourself to get bothered by outside factors. The media and fans there are incredibly passionate. When things are going well, that helps your team; you see that come playoff time. But when it goes bad, it can be the opposite.”