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Breaking: Montreal fires head coach Jacques Martin’s assistant, Perry Pearn

Montreal Canadiens GM, and head coach Martin attend the funeral of former NHL hockey coach Pat Burns in Montreal

Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier (R), assistant coach Perry Pearn (C) and Jacques Martin (L) head coach attend the funeral of former NHL hockey coach Pat Burns in Montreal, November 29, 2010. Burns died earlier this month after a battle with cancer. He was 58. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi (CANADA - Tags: OBITUARY SPORT)


With the Montreal Canadiens off to their worst start in 70 years, many figured it was only a matter of time before someone’s head rolled.

Not many figured it’d be the assistant coach’s head, though.

According to the Canadian Press, Montreal has relieved assistant coach Perry Pearn of his duties. The Habs announced the move just prior to tonight’s home date with the Philadelphia Flyers.

The first question many asked upon hearing the news is: Why Pearn? Why not Jacques Martin? The most likely answer is that Pearn was in charge of Montreal’s power play, the same lethargic unit that’s scored three times in 32 opportunities -- 9.4 percent, second-worst in the NHL.

But to blame Pearn for the anemic man advantage is a joke. He’s been without his best offensive defenseman (Andrei Markov) and his top net-front option was Mathieu Darche. There was also something strange going on with Erik Cole, who was signed this summer to provide offense but averaged just 1:48 of ice time with the man advantage. (Of note, Martin got testy with a reporter the other day for asking about Cole’s lack of involvement on the PP.)

As for the timing of the move? Some real amateur hour stuff. The announcement came just 90 minutes before game time and to make matters worse, Pearn had been on the ice at the Canadiens’ skate in the morning. Fairly bizarre move by a traditionally classy organization.

Looking ahead, it’ll be really interesting to see how the Canadiens respond tonight. The Habs were already getting ripped for being winless at the Bell Center and didn’t seem to need any additional distractions.