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Canadiens fire coach Jacques Martin

NHL.com @NHL

MONTREAL (AP) - Jacques Martin was fired as coach of the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, with the storied team in last place in its division.

Assistant Randy Cunneyworth will be the interim head coach for the rest of the season. The team said he and general manager Pierre Gauthier were to hold a news conference later in day at Bell Centre.

Larry Carriere, the assistant general manager, will become an assistant coach.

The Canadiens (13-12-7) are at the bottom of the Northeast Division. However, they are just two points out of second place in a division led by Boston.

Martin was in his third season with Montreal and 17th in the NHL. He reached his 600th NHL career victory last April making him the ninth winningest coach in league history.

He joined the Canadiens in 2009-10 and took them on an improbable run to the Eastern Conference finals where they lost to Philadelphia. Montreal made the playoffs the following year but was eliminated in the first round.

Before joining the Canadiens, the 59-year-old Martin spent five seasons coaching the Florida Panthers and before that nine seasons coaching Ottawa, where he left as the career leader in regular-season wins, playoff wins and games.

Known for his defense-first philosophy, Martin led the Senators to its first President's Trophy in the 2002-03 season.

He also won the NHL coach of the year in 1998-99 and was part of Canada's gold-medal triumph at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

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