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Sens appoint former head coach as advisor to coaching staff

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The Ottawa Senators have appointed Jacques Martin as a senior advisor to the coaching staff as the team struggles to come back from a disappointing season.

Ottawa Senators interim general manager Steve Staios announced Wednesday that Martin, the longest tenured head coach in the team's history, will serve as a 'day-to-day resource' to Senators' head coach D.J. Smith and his staff.

"We’re very pleased to welcome Jacques back to the Senators," said Staios in a press release.

"Not only will his extensive expertise provide invaluable guidance, but his strategic vision and leadership are qualities that are certain to amplify our group. Jacques’ proven track record, the foundation of which was built here in Ottawa, will be of significant benefit to D.J. and our entire coaching staff."

71-year-old Martin, originally from Saint-Pascal, Ont., was hired as the team's head coach in 1996 and spent nine seasons behind Ottawa's bench.

Martin led the Senators to eight playoff appearances and three division titles during his time in the nation's capital.

He remains the team's all-time leader in games coached, regular-season wins, playoff wins and playoff games coached.

"It's a great pleasure and honour to come back to this organization," said Martin on Wednesday. "I believe there is a strong nucleus to do things to become a top team in the league and with my involvement, it just brings them another resource, just using my experience, and from what I’ve seen in the last three games it's been really encouraging."

The Senators made the decision amid a difficult period for the team, who are struggling to find any sense of consistency.

Smith's team has played well below expectations, evident in an ugly 5-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Nov. 27.

The team won their last two games, including a 6-2 win against the New York Rangers last night.

"You’re continuously trying to get better and I think one thing Jacques is known for is detail and, for me and my staff, we're going to try and get every piece of knowledge he has and try and introduce it to our game and to our team," Smith said. "He'll be the eye in the sky. He'll be around, he'll be watching videos, bouncing ideas off us, we'll bounce ideas off him … when you’re in tough times, that's when you rely on people with experience to help you get out of certain situations."

The Senators currently have a 10-10 record and sit last in the Atlantic Division.

"All you want is bring the best out of each player and if you've got your players playing at their best, the results is usually very good," Martin said. "You know, being from Ottawa, I think it's a great opportunity for me to come back and join a great organization and some great people. I've always had great passion for the game; I don't think I’ve lost that."

--With files from CTV News Ottawa's Tyler Fleming.

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