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Always keep an eye on the horizon Add to ...

It's an unofficial corporate policy here at French Immersion to focus relentlessly on the short term, living hand-to-mouth as we do, dodging collection agency phone calls on an all-too-frequent basis (we only really start to worry when they show up at the door).

Which is why we can't help but be envious of Jacques Martin, who in addition to possessing a collection of spiffy coaching tracksuits, is revealing himself to be a long-term thinker.

And we're not the only ones saying it; hey look, it's Paul Mara: "he's a very patient coach . . . he knows the system we've been implementing works, it's a long-term thing to get it right."

Testify, big boy.

After all, Martin is the man who has turned Kyle Chipchura into a serviceable NHL player over the past six weeks (we take back all the snide things we've said about the Chipper).

One of the surest things to set eyeballs rolling in the press room is when Martin utters his famous trope that "it's a process" - but what if it actually is?

Martin has been diligent in taking long looks at young minor-league defencemen like Yannick Weber (not ready for prime time), Shawn Belle (overmatched) and Mathieu Carle (slightly less overmatched so far).

It also helps explain his handling of Andrei Kostitsyn, who started Tuesday's loss to Atlanta on the fourth line, and bashed and ground his way back onto the power play.

And the way he's handled Guillaume Latendresse.

Ditto for our man Carey Price.

The goalie may not have won in a month, but a stretch on the sidelines has resulted in some sharper performances, Martin said, and the work will pay off as the season wears on.

"We just need to be better in front of him, I think his psyche's all right," he said.

Price said today that it felt good to get back on the ice for practice - by our generally reliable informant's count, he stopped 16 breakaways in a row at one point - that way he's had no time to stew over the blueline floater he gave up on Tuesday, really the only goal he could have done anything about.

"The worst is when you have a day off after a game like that," Price said.

The one thing Martin can't abide is slackers - he wouldn't last a week at FI's sumptuous office complex in Pointe St. Charles - which is why he benched the heretofore reliable Travis Moen and Glen Metropolit for long stretches of the third in the debacle against the Thrash.

Seems to us that sitting veterans of Moen and Metropolit's ilk suggests there are no free passes in Martinworld - a message the other kids in the class may take on board as the season progresses.

"It was one of those nights, but I expect them to be at the top of their game in Boston (Thursday)," he said.

And if they're not? Well he doesn't really need to say, does he?

It all sounds like a creed to live by, if we ever get our affairs in order.

 

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