Canadiens interim head coach Martin St. Louis has a conversation with Jake Evans, left, and Paul Byron against the Washington Capitals in Montreal on Feb. 10, 2022. We are seeing a transformational coach in action here, Jack Todd writes. A guy whose approach to the game and to the people around him is so fundamentally different that his impact goes far beyond mere wins and losses.

Your Montreal Canadiens, winners of 24 Stanley Cups, a Cup finalist as recently as last summer, are in last place as we hit the trade deadline with 20 games to go.

They’ve scored fewer goals than any team except the Flyers and given up more goals than anyone. They’ve all but locked up the green jacket at 77 under.

And everyone is smiling. Players, coaches, trainers, PR people, fans — even Montreal’s famously vicious journalists are making nice.

It’s disorienting. This is Montreal, right? Where it used to be: “Yeah, you won another Cup. But you lost two games in the final and Robinson is a pylon and Bowman can’t coach and …”

So what gives?

Marty St. Louis, that’s what. Plenty of credit goes to the people upstairs who were smart enough to swim against the stream and hire him, and plenty more to the players who quickly bought in and regained their skating legs.

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