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Martin, Keenan hired today
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Old 26 May 2004, 03:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Martin, Keenan hired today

MIAMI -- The Florida Panthers hired Jacques Martin as their new coach and their former coach Mike Keenan as their general manager Wednesday.


Martin -- fired last month by the Ottawa Senators -- replaces interim coach John Torchetti, while Keenan replaced Rick Dudley, who fired him after a turbulent two-year reign as coach 6 months ago.



Martin is the team's fourth coach in less than seven months -- a revolving door that began to spin when Keenan was fired Nov. 9. Dudley replaced Keenan, compiling a 13-15-9-3 record before turning the team over to his assistant, Torchetti. He went 10-12-4-1. It wasn't immediately clear if Torchetti will stay with the organization.


"There's lots of work to be done here," Martin said. "It's a great challenge for everybody. I'm really excited about this, to build this team to where it should be."



Dudley lobbied owner Alan Cohen to hire Torchetti on a permanent basis. Cohen, instead, fired Dudley on Monday, then hired Martin, the 1999 NHL coach of the year who guided Ottawa to three division titles in 8 seasons.


"I think I've put ourselves in a very, very stable position," Cohen said. "Jacques and Mike are going to take us to the next level."



Martin, a four-time coach of the year finalist, was 341-255-96 in the regular season as Ottawa's coach, but just 31-38 in the playoffs and lost eight out of the 12 series.



He becomes the ninth coach in Panthers history, the sixth since the 2000-01 season.


"He's the best coach in the National Hockey League," Keenan said. "For that reason, I think it's a tremendous future for all of us. It's certainly a challenge and an opportunity that I'll embrace."



Keenan and Martin were part of the hockey program at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York in the early 1970s; Keenan was a senior captain, Martin a freshman goaltender. Later, as coach of the Peterborough Petes in the Ontario Hockey League, Keenan hired Martin to be one of his scouts.



And eventually, Martin worked as an assistant for Keenan in Chicago, the second of Keenan's seven NHL coaching stops -- all of which have ended with a fair amount of acrimony.



Keenan won only 45 of the 153 games while coaching the Panthers, who have missed the playoffs four straight seasons. Florida was the sixth NHL club to fire Keenan, but is the first to give him a second chance.


"I didn't want to leave the game that way," Keenan said.



In his first nine seasons as a NHL coach, Keenan led four clubs to the Stanley Cup finals, winning the title in 1994 with the New York Rangers -- their first crown in 54 years.



But even that marriage ended badly. About a month after hoisting the Cup at Madison Square Garden, Keenan declared himself a free agent because he said the Rangers breached his contract by failing to pay him his playoff bonus on time.



The Rangers sued to have him honor the remaining four years of his contract, but NHL commissioner Gary Bettman eventually sided with Keenan and allowed him to take over as coach and general manager in St. Louis.



Yet the Blues fired him in 1997, Vancouver followed suit in 1999, Boston sent him packing in 2001 and Florida dismissed him in 2003. Since winning the Cup, Keenan has won just one playoff series as coach and hasn't even taken a team to the postseason since 1996.



Martin's departure from Ottawa, where he had been the coach with the longest current NHL tenure when he was fired, was also brought on by playoff failures. Ottawa lost in the first round this year to Toronto, the fourth time in the last five seasons the Senators' season ended against the Maple Leafs.

espn.com
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I can't really see Martin doing anything with this team. He couldn't do anything with a very talented Ottawa team, so what makes you think he can work with a shit Flordia team? Unless they sign some key players this offseason, were going to see the same old Panthers.
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Old 26 May 2004, 07:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There may not be a big improvement next season, but I think Martin could at least have them in the playoffs within a couple years.

The only thing holding back Ottawa was their goaltending. Now that Martin has Luongo in the cage he may be able to do something with them.
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Old 26 May 2004, 10:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Shit? Well that may be true today, but we were saying that about Ottawa in 1996.

It may take 2/3 years for playoffs but it can be done (see Tampa Bay). BTW, Rick Dudley built both the Lightning and Panthers
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Old 26 May 2004, 10:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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jaque martin really to a shot a lalime, i was shocked at that comment. but martin can make this team into a playoff contender, just give him some time, florida will get better and better.
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