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Montreal Canadiens name Jacques Martin as new head coach @NHLdotcom

MONTREAL - The Montreal Canadiens appointed Jacques Martin as their new head coach Monday.

Martin has been the general manager of the Florida Panthers for the past three seasons. He was the coach of the club from 2004 to '08.

Martin, also a former head coach with the St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators, has a career record of 517 wins, 406 losses and 119 ties for a .551 winning percentage.

Martin, 56, won the Jack Adams Trophy, awarded to the coach of the year, in 1999.

It isn't known if the Canadiens will have to compensate the Panthers as Martin is in a multi-year deal with Florida through 2011-12.

Martin will take over behind the bench from GM Bob Gainey, who had been coaching the team since he fired Guy Carbonneau on March 9.

Carbonneau's dismissal was part of a roller-coaster season that began with Stanley Cup hopes but ended with a disappointing first-round playoff exit.

The Habs had a strong first half, but it all unravelled with injuries, controversy and the coaching change after the all-star game Jan. 25.

During the team's season wrap-up media conference, Gainey said injuries were a factor, but he also pointed a finger at Tampa Bay Lightning GM Brian Lawton, whom he said disrupted the Canadiens by letting the names of players involved in failed trade talks for star centre Vincent Lecavalier become public.

Tomas Plekanec and Chris Higgins, both restricted free agents this summer, were among several Canadiens to struggle this season, along with brothers Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn, second-year defenceman Ryan O'Byrne and goaltender Carey Price.

Finding a new coach was one of Gainey's off-season tasks. The other will be to make decisions on 10 unrestricted and four restricted free agents.

Those free to go on the open market are Alex Kovalev, captain Saku Koivu, winger Alex Tanguay, centre Robert Lang, checking forward Tom Kostopoulos and defencemen Mike Komisarek, Francis Bouillon, Mathieu Dandenault, Patrice Brisebois and Mathieu Schneider.

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