Three-year contract for Martin St-Louis | “We want to further expand our culture”




Martin St-Louis voulait poursuivre son travail à la barre du Canadien, et sans surprise, c’est ce qu’il pourra faire.

Publié à 8h03
Mis à jour à 11h32

Richard Labbé

Richard Labbé
La Presse

Le Canadien a confirmé mercredi matin que celui qui était entraîneur-chef par intérim ne sera plus un entraîneur-chef par intérim, mais bien un entraîneur-chef à temps plein. C’est avec un nouveau contrat de trois ans en poche que St-Louis pourra se présenter au camp d’entraînement du Canadien, en septembre.

Le montant de la transaction n’a pas été dévoilé, mais le salaire des entraîneurs dans la position de St-Louis, ou dans une position similaire, oscille généralement aux alentours de 3 millions de dollars par saison, le chiffre qui circule dans les coulisses dans ce cas-ci.

Mais peu importe, c’est un entraîneur-chef très souriant qui a commenté la nouvelle mercredi matin. Les négociations n’ont pas été difficiles selon lui, parce que de toute évidence, ce retour était le souhait de tous au Centre Bell.

« Ce n’est pas que les négociations ont pris du temps, c’était plus une question de logistique, a expliqué l’ancien joueur vedette. J’ai passé du temps en famille, je suis allé au Michigan et à Nashville, Kent [Hughes] and Jeff [Gorton] were busy at the World Cup… I didn’t want to stress them out. »

St-Louis, who was hired to replace Dominique Ducharme on February 9, is already looking forward to what happens next, but if you have to read between the lines, that next step could take some time.

A three-year deal like this gives time to build something… and that doesn’t happen overnight. I think we have some wind in our sails, we’re not starting from scratch. The idea is to keep moving forward.

Martin Saint Louis

“We’ll see in September what kind of team we have. I’ll let the ladders do their job and prepare the camp. We want to further develop our culture and give young players the chance to develop further. If we continue like this, success will come. We want to be able to achieve success every season and sometimes it takes a bit. »

In that regard, can we believe it would be realistic for fans to hope for a playoff spot next season? “As a player, I’ve always had that goal… It’s a realistic goal, but the expectations also have to be realistic. »

“I’m getting ready for camp”

The 46-year-old St-Louis therefore embarks on an adventure whose course he does not know. The Canadians will have important decisions to make over the summer, there will be an equally important draft and no one knows for sure how this team will look in September.

Nobody knows who will be the number one goalkeeper.

“I’m getting ready for camp,” he repeated. Whether or not Carey Price can play doesn’t change my preparation. »

What seems more certain is that the Canadian won’t skip the stages to embark on a playoff race that could hurt him in the long run. “I don’t know what the expectations are yet… but do I really want to win at the expense of promoting young talent? No I do not want to. I can’t take that risk. »

Regarding the current series, but also the Canadian’s position against, for example, the Edmonton Oilers or the Colorado Avalanche, St-Louis admitted the obvious: the Canadian really does not belong to this select group. “But we can say that 28 teams are behind [sur les 4 qui jouent encore]…so we’re one of 28. Will it take a year, two years? I do not know. »

Finally, and by his own account, St-Louis always returned to the helm of the Canadians and was not courted by others. “But I think the Bantam team for my husband, they were very interested in my services! »


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