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Jacques Martin and the challenge of coaching at 71
Did you know that Jacques Martin, who has been named interim coach of the Ottawa Senators, is 71 years old?

71 is an old age for an NHL coach. In an increasingly youthful league, where new-wave coaches (like Martin St-Louis) are in vogue, the Senators’ decision is the talk of the town.

And this, even if Jacques Martin undoubtedly knows how to adapt.

Martin hasn’t been head coach since the 2011-2012 season, when the Habs sacked him. But Steve Staios has decided to put his faith in him for the future.

Is this a good decision? Under the circumstances, I think so. Martin is a structured coach who had already been working for the Sens for two weeks, and I think he’ll be able to bring back better-calibre hockey to Ontario.

That’s what the club needs… even if he preaches flat hockey. After all, have you seen anyone excited about Jacques Martin’s arrival behind the Senators’ bench? I haven’t either.

But once the year is over, what’s next? Because yes, when you hire a coach that age, you already have to think about the future.

The way I see it, Martin is here to finish the year and lay the groundwork for next season… that is, when the Ottawa Senators finally hire a GM.

After all, let’s face it: the Sens couldn’t hire a long-term pilot until president Steve Staios found his man in the GM’s chair.

That’s why getting Martin made sense in the short term. That said, it’s also why the question of what to do next is already the talk of the town… obviously bringing Patrick Roy’s name into the discussion.

Because even if we’re talking about Daniel Alfredsson, Bob Hartley, Benoît Groulx, Alain Vigneault or any other French-speaking coach, we all agree that Pat’s name circulates more than the others.

At least, more publicly.

That said, it’s still early to put a name to the Sens’ next coach once Martin’s reign is over. For that, the club will need to name its next GM.

But one thing is certain: he’ll be younger than Martin, whose NHL career began in 1986.

In bursts

– A name to watch.

– We’ll be keeping an eye on his next few weeks.

– I think it will.

– He’s back.

– MLS: draft day.

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