Jacques Martin is an early bird. That is the only way he knows how to look for the Stanley Cup. With 613 wins as head coach 10th most of all time on his resume Martin is without the one victory that will complete a nearly 30-year NHL journey. So has spent the past month arriving daily at Consol Energy Center around 6 a.m. — as if he believes that beating the sunrise to the rink eventually will pay off in silver. Actually fellow Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato suspects Martin 61 may believe exactly that. “I played for Roger Neilson and Jacques reminds me a lot of Roger” Granato said of Neilson his former coach with the New York Rangers. “Experience confidence knowledge energy — and the discipline that really brings everything together to help you get better.” Granato knew his Penguins boss coach Dan Bylsma had coveted a nontraditional third assistant coach for a couple of seasons. Wired similarly as Bylsma — a film freak/workaholic with a seeming bottomless reserve of energy — Granato also knew that third assistant would prove difficult to find. If not for Martin Bylsma said his staff would still consist of Granato Todd Reirden and goaltending coach Mike Bales. “Jacques Martin is everything I was looking for” Bylsma said. “I could tell he would be from our conversations and I've seen examples of that every day.” Reirden witnessed it on Day 1 of camp during a film session. Martin reputable for his defensive acumen did not hesitate to ask a specific question about changes Reirden had implemented to help the Penguins finish seventh in overall goals against last season. “We don't spend a lot of time in defensive-zone coverage and it's because we have forwards that have the puck so much” Reirden said. “Jacques wanted to know what we are asking our defensemen to think about when they were in coverage. He wanted to see if we were asking them to think about too much. He just wanted to know so he asked. That's a little thing but he has seen enough little things that you want to pay attention.” The little things Martin brings to the Penguins may come at perfect time for several core components of a Cup-contending group. Bylsma busy this season with duties as Team USA's Olympic coach hired somebody who previously built rosters as a general manager coached clubs with championship expectations and worked on the same bench with an established superior (Team Canada's Pat Quinn in 2006).
Veteran coach Martin perfect fit for Penguins
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Sep 22