Grading Martin St. Louis' season

Coaching through a rebuild is a tall task, but Martin St. Louis was hand picked for a reason.
Tampa Bay Lightning v Montreal Canadiens
Tampa Bay Lightning v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Putting the weight on one guys shoulders for the rebuilding Montreal Canadiens wouldn't make any sense.

But if you ask Martin St. Louis, the former player and the current coach, he knows the importance of having a good coach. Surely he isn't cocky and doesn't believe that he is the best of the best, but he knows that the team goes in the direction that he coaches. The team has to buy in and trust their coach and the Habs have done that, with results starting to show a little more as each game passes.

It's not just that he understands and relates with players on a personal level, but he challenges them and trusts them. Despite age and experience, St. Louis merits hard work and discipline with ample ice time and doesn't scold for mistakes. He truly is a teaching coach and it feels like he took a little from each coach he played under throughout his NHL career.

For as long as the league has been around, the carousel of recycled coaches has run rampant - from Jacques Martin and Claude Julien to Michel Therrien and Barry Trotz. I'm not suggesting that these coaches aren't effective, John Tortorella has had success, Paul Maurice is coaching one of the final two teams (The Florida Panthers). Just that - sometimes a new approach pays huge dividends, Bruce Cassidy is a great example and even Jim Montgomery.

St. Louis provides the Canadiens with the luxury of having an undrafted player turned Hockey Hall of Famer behind the bench. With St. Louis calling the shots, you can be assured that he will exhaust every strategy that comes to mind, precisely how he carved out a successful career. As a long shot, adversity never phased Marty, so spearheading the rebuild of the winningest franchise in the history of the National Hockey League; admittedly a huge ask, isn't about to intimidate him.

Many current fans witnessed the way that Marty played the game on the ice, with a fire burning hot and an intensity not many can replicate. He coaches the same way, and although he can't hide his emotions, the team can feel the passion coming out in each conversation. The Canadiens aren't where they want to be, it's a process and Marty has done quite well given the circumstances - which warrants a C - it wasn't perfect, but he knows the plan and will continue improving the squad.