Multimedia: Martin out, Cunneyworth in as Habs fire head coach

Randy Cunneyworth

New Canadiens coach Randy Cunneyworth – interim or longer – at his Bell Centre news conference at noon-hour Saturday.
John Kenney, Gazette

“11th place is what went wrong. It’s definitely a shared responsibility.”
– Mike Cammalleri

“We didn’t play well …” – Josh Gorges

“It’s a wake-up call and an opportunity to turn things around …” – Chris Campoli

“It’s the old story: easier to change the coach than change the players …” – Lars Eller

“Too often, even when getting points, our ewvaluation of games revealed we didn’t play well ..” – Pierre Gauthier

“We have to get back to doing things the players are capable of …” – Randy Cunneyworth

• AUDIO: Pierre Gauthier/Randy Cunneyworth press conference

PLAYERS AUDIO: Brian Gionta | Hal Gill | Michael Cammalleri | Josh Gorges | P.K. Subban | Chris Campoli

ARCHIVED AUDIO: Jacques Martin, from Nov. 18, 2011 1-on-1 with HIO’s Dave Stubbs


•  •  •

As we broke the news on Twitter at 9:50 a.m., the Canadiens fired head coach Jacques Martin this morning, replacing him through the end of this season with assistant coach Randy Cunneyworth.

Players were informed by GM Pierre Gauthier upon arriving at morning skate at the Bell Centre. Gauthier and Cunneyworth will speak to the media at the Bell at noon ET.

Assistant GM Larry Carrière will become an assistant coach, also through the end of the year.

Martin notes: Became the Canadiens head coach on June 1, 2009… Was nominated for the Jack Adams Award four times, winning it in 1998-99… Ranks 7th in league history with 1,294 games as a head coach and 9th for wins (613)… Coached his 1,200th NHL game on Nov. 20 against the Toronto Maple Leafs… Recorded his 600th NHL career win on April 9 against the Maple Leafs at Toronto… Has a career winning-record of 613-481-119-81 (.551)… Displays a 22-34-6 (.403) career record as head coach against the Devils.


  1. habsfan0 says:

    The meeting this morning:
    Pierre Gauthier: Jacques, I have good news and bad news.
    Jacques Martin: Give me the good news first.
    PG: You’re $2 million dollars richer.
    JM: Great! What’s the bad news?
    PG: You’re fired.



  3. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    Martin provided stability, and for that we can thank him. He was good (I know this is controversial) with a lot of the young lions, but ultimately, his game was as boring as velveeta, and we don’t deserve that. Hockey is entertainment at the end of the day, and Jacques would pour the booze down the sink at a party if people started dancing too freely.
    Something had to give, and this is a time buying move for the GM. I hope it works because this season is tedious, but on another level, a change upstairs might not hurt.
    I hate to see anyone get fired, but this guy has a few bucks stashed away and he won’t be at the food bank with his kids anytime soon.

    • twilighthours says:

      Agreed. Martin was what we needed after the ridiculous Carbo era (almost as crazy as the tremblay era). We needed structure and discipline. But now his time has passed.


    • Old Bald Bird says:

      I had been thinking that just yesterday: that there will prove to be some benefit to have experienced his discipline. To me his main problem was his strange notions of who should play and who shouldn’t. I think the benching of LL after scoring may have been the last straw. It is also probable that PG wasn’t too pleased with the frequent benching of Emelin after he worked to bring him over after all of these years.

  4. Habfan4lfe says:

    MAN! My wish came true. Gauthier not gone too but I’m not complaining. Finally we have a chance depending on who replaces him.

  5. TomNickle says:

    Larry Carriere moving to the bench is a trademark Habs move. Big roster evaluation about to take place. Don’t be surprised if we see some MAJOR moves.

  6. habs001 says:

    The question still remains can we score more than the usual 2-3 goals each nite unless the opposition goalie gives up a bad goal or we get a lucky bounce.

  7. kempie says:

    The System™ is dead.

  8. habsfan0 says:

    Jacques Martin fired..Mike Milbury off Hockey Night in Canada..what a start to the weekend!


  9. rhino514 says:

    If they saw this possibility coming then they should have found a way for Muller to hang on for another year. He´s someone the players respect. Don´t know anything about Cunneyworth but I wish him all the best.

  10. Ian Cobb says:

    The Cup is ours!
    The Cup is ours!
    Thank Gawd Almighty!
    The Cup is ours!

  11. PureGuava says:

    This move came 24 hrs after Darren Dreger stated that The Canadiens would replace Gauthier and Martin after the season if they failed to make the playoffs, or had an early exit from them.

  12. habs001 says:

    The clock is now ticking on gauthier….will be interesting how the team reacts but they are playing a team that played last night…

    • showey47 says:

      Why would the clock be ticking on gauthier as of now? How many other g.m.’s have been fired since gauthier took over? Maybe 1 or 2. In other words he has had alot less time to prove what he can do as the g.m. then pretty much everybody else in the league.Most of the moves he has made have been good ones,the bad ones have mostly been trading away young talent like SK74 and Dag’s. But who was the guy who felt they were not good enough to make our lineup over guys like darche and pyatt? Martin’s stupidity of handling young talent forced gauthier into a position of weakness

      • habs001 says:

        The team has basically been a 500 type team for 200 the reason we have remained pretty well in the same stats range for 200 games…is that martins fault or is the talent supplied not that good..

        • showey47 says:

          This team easily has at least five potential 30 goal scorers on its roster in AK,cammy,gio,cole and maxpac. You should also be able to cound on pleky for at least 20-25. The talent is there. I’ve never seen a coach who has been in the league so long be so clueless on how to use players in a proper role. The habs firing martin today may have well saved us from having AK46 walk after the season is over.

          • habs001 says:

            i hope you are we also have a more mobile d that if allowed to participate much more in the offensee can really help the forwards..pp scoring could elevate this team to a much higher level also…

  13. Thomas Le Fan says:

    I’ve been a luke warm supporter of Martin but I’m not shocked or terribly disappointed. Welcome to your worst nightmare, coach. HIO “fans”. Good luck Randy! Go Habs!

  14. sims says:

    Birth of my first child and JM fired in the same day?!?! I’m off to buy some lotto tickets!

    Christmas came early this year!!

  15. JUST ME says:

    Not surprised, not impressed and to be honest quite fed up with the circus. Already heard on TSN radio questions about a head-coach unilingual…Half an hour after he was named head coach…

    Martin never got to play with a full deck of athletes and the results were impressive considering all the injuries and the underachievers. Not trying to defend Martin who was not the most enthousiastic coach but they knew what they were getting into when they hired him and so did we. At the time after Carbonneau we wanted an experienced coach and we got the best bilingual one on the market.

    Do not think anything will change overnight on the ice and that basically is what`s essential.

    Players have their own destiny in their hand as they do with the head shots problems so it actually is not all about the coach being replaced. A coach has at the most 3 years behind a bench and then gets fired so the timing is about right…

  16. gp52 says:

    Now all thats left is Gainey and Gauthier and the purge will be complete

  17. G BO says:

    Lets not be so quick to have little faith in Cunneyworth. Look at what some of the rookie coaches over the past few years have done.

    Tippett in Pheonix
    Dineen in Florida
    Gulutzan in Dallas
    Yeo in Minnesota
    Bylsma in Pittsburgh

    We have a young core, and maybe they require a fresh “younger” face to inspire.

  18. fun police says:

    Happy about this move, habs have been stale, way too defensive. However, have to say thanks to JM for the past couple years. he came in and took over after carbo made a complete mess and added stability. he was at the helm during a very fun to watch playoff drive a few years ago.

  19. Danno says:

    OK Habs no more excuses. Jacques is history. Now let’s go out and win that Stanley Cup!


    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  20. DorvalTony says:


    Powerplay? Make mine with Kab Kaberle.

  21. twilighthours says:

    Was cuunyworth running the PP? Anyone know?


  22. cuzzie says:

    Christmas gift to Habs Nation. All the Best to Randy, but even though it’s something I’ve wanted. I can not rejoice in someone getting fired.

    Mr. Bad Example!

  23. Clay says:

    Thank you for your years of service, JM. Sorry it didn’t work out.
    Meet the new boss…same as the old boss?
    “Talent is a gift from God, but you only succeed with hard work. Yvan was proof of that.” – Jean Beliveau.

  24. frankcasting says:

    Good move, the team is only a few points out of a playoff spot, and there’s lots of racetrack left. One thing we know: this is what Jacques Martin is capable of. Clearly, that is not good enough. It was essential that another option be tried before we write off another season.

    Loving the Habs since 1965

  25. frankcasting says:

    Good move, the team is only a few points out of a playoff spot, and there’s lots of racetrack left. One thing we know: this is what Jacques Martin is capable of. Clearly, that is not good enough. It was essential that another option be tried before we write off another season.

    Loving the Habs since 1965

  26. Curtis O Habs says:

    Seems to me PG is trying to save his job.

  27. Newf_Habster says:

    Oh right Gauthier fired Martin in order to save his butt.

  28. crazyhabsfan says:


  29. Talik Sanis says:

    I’m not sure what to make of this, in all honesty. I’m not in the least sad to see Martin go, but why not just keep him if you’re going to replace him with Randy Cunneyworth? I suppose that it’s better than knee-jerk reaction, the hiring of another long-term head coach on the spot, but, really, will their be any better prospective coaches this summer?

    • gumper says:

      Those are my sentiments too, TS. Presumably PG must think the players have stopped believing in this coach and his system. Should be interesting to see these two things tonight:
      1) Who really steps up their game because Martin is gone.
      2) Will RC continue to employ the existing system, or will be begin to use one of his own devising.

    • shiram says:

      maybe Martin was not sitting well with the players, and PG acted to keep the locker room stable.

      “The best defense is offense.” — Jacques Martin

  30. Hali_Hab says:

    Also another positive is that we now have a coach that knows how to coach and groom younger players. As indicated by his record In Hamilton. The inability to do that was one of Martins biggest problems.

    • dasbooth says:

      How did JM not know how to groom younger players? Because he didn’t have LL playing 20 minutes? Look at PK, Price, Pacioretty, Spezza – examples of players that came up under JM doing quite fine in the NHL. True he didn’t turn every youngster under his tutelage into a bonafide NHL star, but not every player drafted reaches their projected status, and that has little to do with the coach.

      “Shutouts are really more of a team stat” – Carey Price

  31. shiram says:

    That I’ll teach him to eat my poutine.
    Now I need a new avatar.
    Best of luck to the Randy’s.

    “The best defense is offense.” — Jacques Martin

  32. mrhabby says:

    Molson stock will go up on monday.

  33. nick says:

    Before you chuckle heads start throwing early Xmas parties and planning parades due to the fact JM was fired this morning… Lets all exercise a little caution and hold the celebrations off until after we see who the replacement is. Firing JM is half of the battle…

  34. forskis says:

    So let me get this straight…JM was the problem, if not, then PG, if not PG, then the players, what if it isn’t the players? Then the final solution would be the fans who want it all and then hate it when they get it or hate it when they do not get enough of it all, ie. the fans who complain about wins because the team did not win the way the fans wanted to win.

    And for those clamoring for Boucher or Muller….you conveniently forget that Muller has only 2 wins in 10 games and Boucher’s Lightning are doing even worse than the Canadiens with a better and healthier line up.

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

    • dasbooth says:

      Well said sir. I think PG is much more level headed than to listen to the fans. I think this moves stems from a practical hockey decision based on where the team is and where they should be.

      Hard to find a good replacement though, hopefully Cunneyworth can do a good job, but as you see with Boucher and Muller, not everyone is as good as they fans believe they will be.

      “Shutouts are really more of a team stat” – Carey Price

    • athanor says:

      Nice try, but Muller has been Carolina coach for only eight games.

      I don’t know how many game we could allow for a culture change, but say it’s only three (five would be more like it), that puts them with five points out of their last five games. Granted that’s now playoff numbers, but it is definitely an improvement on what went before.

      And Muller’s philosophy — you can’t bring up youngsters and throw them on the fourth line if you want them to prove themselves — is one seems refreshing to me.

      Here’s his quote: “I think you’ve got to put them into a spot where they can excel,” Muller said of young players, like Bowman. “If you keep throwing them on the fourth line when they come up, they’re just going to be a guy out of their element.”

      • forskis says:

        Fair enough..EIGHT games….TWO wins in EIGHT games…would you be pleased with TWO wins in EIGHT games? Nope. Does that still mean Muller would have been the perfect solution? Nope. All it means is that everyone on here are awful guessers and predictors and evaluators.

        “I am guilty of using elipses…”

        • athanor says:

          Do you expect a winning streak when a coach takes over mid-season? I don’t. I expect, after an initial adjustment period, to see an improvement.

          Did I say Muller would have been the perfect solution?

          I just said that crapping on his results that soon is basically unfair and unrealistic.

          I also said that I like his philosophy regarding young players. Is that so wrong?

  35. Cam_1 says:

    All the Cunnyworth has to do is let the players play…they are a fast, fairly skilled, finesse team. Not a trap team !!! Just let them break out…while still being defense responsible and they will be fine.

    Go Habs Go !!!

    • dasbooth says:

      Since when do teams that can’t play defense win anything? cough*Capitals* cough cough

      “Shutouts are really more of a team stat” – Carey Price

    • forskis says:

      Being defensively responsible WAS what JM was teaching the players, no?

      “I am guilty of using elipses…”

      • dasbooth says:

        They were in most games, more often than not they were losing in a SO. They should have more points than they do now, they win a few of those SO losses and we are in 6th. Losing in the 3rd when you’re up 3-1 or 3-1 can be blamed on coaching system, but really looked more to me like stupid clearing attempts up the centre of the ice were to blame. Rookie mistakes.

        Letting players “loose” to play the way they want to as previous poster suggested would allow this team to thrive I find really hard to believe will help.

        “Shutouts are really more of a team stat” – Carey Price

  36. dre1744 says:

    Mommy there really is a Santa Claus!!!!!!!!!

  37. otter649 says:

    Molson Sales just went up in time for Christmas…….lol

  38. kholdstare says:

    How does that saying go about the devil you know?

    This move tells me a couple things. Firstly, they have completely given up on this season, and if they make the playoffs it’s a bonus, and secondly that Pierre Gauthier would have a hard time managing a Mcdonald’s.

    No replacement? Randy Cunneyworth is now the Head Coach of the Montreal Canadiens?!?! Crazy

    • dasbooth says:

      Just for clarification, what moves by PG have been so bad? Kaberle, a point a game so far and revived the PP. NO Hamrlik resign, well how well is he doing in Washington right now? COle signing, hmmm that one looks pretty good.

      Not sure why people think PG is doing such a bad job.

      “Shutouts are really more of a team stat” – Carey Price

  39. howtathor says:

    Let’s see, it’s not April 1st so it must be an early Christmas present. Yayyyyy!!! It’s about time. I think this board would have imploded if JM went on any longer. I just wish there was a more adequate succession in place. “Here’s to you Mr. Robinson, Habs nation cry’s out to you!” or Mr. Roy…

  40. Cam_1 says:

    One down…one to go…….your next PG !!!! Listening Molson !!!

  41. Hali_Hab says:

    Yessss! I don’t even care if we have an “ahl caliber coach” it won’t be hard for any one to add structure to the line up.

  42. Mondou6 says:

    I don’t think Martin was the best coach for this team. He seemed like a decent guy though, so I feel bad for him. But such is the nature of pro sports.

    The only problem now is our roster is mediocre, and so is our GM.

    I don’t for a second believe that this is a Cup calibre hockey team, with or without Jacques Martin.

    • Brinkley says:

      Couldn’t agree more.

      Gauthier fired Perry Pearn because the pp wasn’t clicking – since that firing the pp remains ineffective.

      You had to wonder who was next.

      Although I’m not a big JM fan – the reality is…the coaches don’t have much talent to work with – which of course is the job of Gauthier.

      Too many years of poor drafting and poor and panicy trades now leave the entire Habs organization in a weak position.

      Unless and until Geoff Molson decides he wants to run a team that is a genuine contender – we can only expect more of the same (see Red Fisher’s article about Flyer’s GM Paul Holmgren).

  43. NorthernHab says:

    New coach, new system… What do we expect from Randy?

  44. mrhabby says:

    is it the players or is it martin…time will tell.

  45. malmn says:

    This is a mistake. I don’t see the Habs winning more games without him.

    GO HABS GO!!!

  46. montreal ace says:

    I am in shock, its going to be interesting to see how the players react.

  47. mrhabby says:

    patrick roy as coach

    vinny damphouse as GM

    in the summer.

  48. edgar_falcon says:

    glad to see jm canned however not looking forward to having an ahl caliber coach (only one year worth as Hamilton ahl coach) running the bench all year long guess we will see gl jm!!

    “Don’t get me wrong, I have all the respect in the world for them. They have good players and they’re good at what they do. But playing against them is so boring. They should have to pay for coffee for our fans to help them stay awake.” Higgins (I’m paraphrasing), on the NJ Devils.

  49. LA Loyalist says:

    I bought an ’02 vintage champagne yesterday, now I have a reason to drink it.

    The timing is weird, this should have been done over the summer, but better late than never before the season is a total train wrecki.

    None of this is a reflection of Martin personally, but his inability to adjust to the players he actually has, as opposed to the imaginary players he has in his head, is what hung him. He will still get paid and he will either coach at a lower level or be an assistant.

    Watch PK’s game instantly improve. I guarantee it.

    Open the Champagne!!!!!!

  50. Mavid says:

    Well Merry Christmas to all you Martin dis-likers…I see some people are not even satisfied with that..not soon enough..what about Gauthier…wow some people are just never happy..or satisfied…I am certainly not crying but we shall see if this was the real issue…I hope it is because i like winning alot more than losing…

    second place is just the first loser

  51. giants_habs says:

    wow, i cant believe it. Lets see if this team can break out now.

  52. kempie says:

    Thank you Santa. Thank you baby Jesus. Thank you Mr. Molson. Thank you PG. It truly is a Festivus miracle.

  53. Habsolutely says:

    My birthday tomorrow, and the Habs just gave me a very nice present!!

  54. kirkiswork says:

    But Cunneyworth is a unilingual bloke.

    • LizardKing1967 says:

      Well, so if we win the Stanley Cup, it will prove that we DO NOT CARE WHAT DAMN LANGUAGE THE COACH SPEAKS! GO RANDY GO!!!!

      The Cup is coming home!

      I BELIEVE!

      • LimestoneHab says:

        Well said LizardKing!
        At the end of the day, does it really matter if the coach speaks fluent French? Only to the media. After all, most of the players aren’t bilingual, and they are the only people that the coach MUST communicate with effectively.

        If you can’t play a sport, be one… Max Jackson

  55. G-Man says:

    Well, it’s time to see if the coach is the problem. For all you JM haters, you’ve got your wish. Let’s see if the team responds beyond the usual 5 game bump or they do what Carolina and Anaheim are: keep losing with regularity.

  56. 44har48 says:

    This is why it is right to give him thanks and praise…thank you!

  57. badbalance says:

    Not sure if it’s a good move. We still close to a playoff spot. I don’t know if we tanking it or if Randy will be able to turn this team around.

  58. rdiddy says:

    amazing! too bad they already let Boucher and Muller go – their two best coaching prospects. And Boudreau would have been a good hire but he is snapped up too.

    • LA Loyalist says:

      Well, yes. As I said, this should have been done over the summer.

      Boudreau might have worked with his French last name, all he would have had to do is learn to swear in Quebecois and the media would have been happy!!

    • Talik Sanis says:


      Boudreau is a terrible coach, who couldn’t win with a stacked team that included Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom, Green, and a bevy of talented rookies.

      The jury is still out on Boucher. He seemed extraordinary last year, but he’s struggling mightily now. As for Muller, well, it’s too soon to tell. I did love Captain Kirk, though.

  59. RJ says:


    “My face is my mask,” Gump Worsley

  60. mrhabby says:

    holllllly christ…merry xmas. i was sure molson would keep him until the end of his contract.


  61. pierre lapuck says:

    Not happy here. Regardless of JM’s season to date I hate seeing a guy fired this time of year. AND there is no replacement until the end of the season, a desparatin move that is really sad to see.

    • LA Loyalist says:

      I’ve been fired this time of year. Twice. Yeah, it sucks. But JM will get paid regardless, and he will work again.

      Now the focus will be where it should be: on the millionaires club of coasters that comprise our offense.

      Let the ax fall where it may.

      As for Gauthier, I think he gets it. Kaberle may work out, Cole is a stud, it’s hard to blame Gauthier for Markov’s problems, though I would have found a way to keep Wiz as insurance.

      I will be watching to see if Cammi gets his mojo back, and if PK blossoms again.


      • dasbooth says:

        Wiz as insurance? Are you effin serious? Have you not seen what he is getting paid in Columbus?

        “Shutouts are really more of a team stat” – Carey Price

  62. habsfan reduxit says:

    … I am STUNNED. But on reflection, I can understand why they did it. ABSOLUTELY BAD TIMING – before Xmas and all. If they were going to do it, they should have done it sooner. Waiting til now says quite loudly this season is over and all we can look forward to now is next year.

    … as for me, and my simplistic view, I thank Jacques for what he did for this team. But this team did nothing to help him.

    “Whenever you have the puck, and don’t know what to do with it, put it in the net.” – Toe Blake

    • athanor says:

      I don’t think it says that at all. I think it’s more along the lines of “we can’t continue to play so inconsistently if we want to have any hope of making the playoffs.”

      Let’s hope now that RC can allow the offensive talent to shine while not giving up too much on defence.

  63. awesomerino says:

    “Oh this is terrible news,” said no one.

  64. Newf_Habster says:

    But they did not fire Gauthier?! :ugh:

  65. awesomerino says:

    Remember the last 15 minutes of Return Of The Jedi? When everyone’s (presumably) drunk, happy and relieved on Endor, boogying with the Ewoks? That’s what this feels like.

  66. Habfan10912 says:

    Great Christmas Present. Chrisadiens and I are really going to really enjoy the game tonight now! So fired up.

  67. Chrisadiens says:

    What a great day to see the game! JM is gone. Im hoping to see a energetic Habs team. Now my father doesn’t have to jump over the boards and hurt JM. Whoo hoo!

    Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

  68. Castor says:

    All of my complaining about JM….what if they still suck?

  69. 24moreCups says:

    Didn’t see this coming, feel bad for the guy losing his job but sure did put a smile on my face reading the head line.

    Let’s see what happens now.

  70. LizardKing1967 says:

    Finally. Now maybe we could see the real HABS hockey team. Maybe we can see Emelin PLAY EVERY GAME. Maybe we could see Leblanc PLAY MORE AFTER SCORING A GOAL (not less). Maybe Pleks, Cammy and Gio will finally LISTEN to the coach and play LIKE THEY ACTUALLY CARE. Maybe we will see the FIREWAGON hockey that our team seems to be built to play AND NOT the damn DEFENSE FIRST philosophy. Maybe ALL the young guys will get their DUE CHANCES TO PLAY.

    Hell has finally FROZEN OVER. Now I can start living, and finally say:

    The Cup is coming home!


    • LizardKing1967 says:

      GOOD LUCK Randy!
      You deserve it. You are a true teacher, and you seem to ignite a fire under the guys butts from time to time when JM lets you speak to them.
      Good luck dude, let’s do it for the BOOMER!

      The Cup is coming home!

      I BELIEVE!

  71. The Cat says:

    I hope the new coach is Ted Nolan. Id be so on board with that, Id be a gooood cat.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  72. Danno says:


    Now let’s pick up Randy Carlyle and have the Three Randies© behind the bench!


    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  73. likehoy says:


    – If the NHL was the Wizard of Oz, Cammalleri would be the Cowardly Lion.

  74. zaq007 says:

    People will be parading in the streets today…save me a spot

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