Tag Archives: Toe Blake

Habs Coaches: second year blues

Quick Sunday post this evening.

A few weeks ago, I detailed how the Montreal Canadiens’ stunning playoff run deodorized what was an historically lackluster first regular season for coach Jacques Martin. Well, if history is anything to go by, regular season #2 could be even tougher for Martin.

Since the beginning of Toe Blake’s tenure, there has been an uncanny tendency for Habs teams to regress during a coach’s second full regular season leading the squad. Since 1955-1956, 9 coaches have started their Habs coaching tenure with at least two full regular seasons. Looking at their teams’ year-over-year performances in terms of three distinct metrics–changes in regulation winning %, team goals versus NHL average (GVA), and team goals allowed versus NHL average (GAVA)–it becomes readily apparent that success behind the Habs bench during a coach’s second regular season has been significantly harder to come by.

Red denotes a year over year decline in the relevant metric, and there’s a lot of red on that table. Indeed, only Scotty Bowman and Guy Carbonneau posted better numbers across the board in their second regular seasons as Habs bench bosses. That’s the bad news. The good news is that two coaches (Blake and Bowman) won Stanley Cups in their second seasons, while 3 more made it as least as far as the second round.

Blake: From 1st to 2nd in 6-team league (won Cup)
Ruel: From 1st in the East to 5th in the East (no playoffs)
Bowman: From 3rd in East to 1st in East (won Cup)
Berry: From 1st in the Adams to 2nd in the Adams (swept in Round 1)
Perron: Held steady at 2nd in the Adams (lost in Conference Finals)
Burns: From 1st in the Adams to 3rd in the Adams (eliminated in Round 2)
Demers: Held steady at 3rd in division (bounced in Round 1)
Vigneault: From 4th in Northeast to 5th in Northeast (no playoffs)
Carbonneau: From 4th in Northeast to 1st in Northeast (fell in Round 2)

So where will Martin fit into all this? Hopefully more like Carbo than Vigneault or more like Bowman than Berry.