Martin is a career coach who never played a game in the NHL. He served first as a coach of the Peterborough Petes in the Ontario Hockey League before being breifly promoted head coach of the St. Louis Blues of the NHL. Martin only lasted a short time in that position and became an assistant coach of the Quebec Nordiques. When the franchise moved to Denver and became the Colorado Avalanche Martin remained and won a Stanley Cup with the team as assistant coach in 1995.
When the Ottawa Senators, a struggling expansion team with a very poor overall record, needed a new head coach in 1996 they hired Martin. Martin has lead the team to great regular season success, winning the Northeast Division three times and the President's Trophy once. Martin was thrice nominated for the Jack Adams Award for top NHL coach and won it in 1999. The only mar on Martin's record was a long period of performing below expectations in the playoffs, but after victories in 2002, and 2003 this no longer seems to be the case.
Martin is a defense first coach who relies on playing tight defensive game. He makes good use of the speedy young talent on Ottawa, and also instills defensive discipline.
Martin is not a very extroverted coach and is usually soft spoken and lacking much of the fire and charisma of other noted NHL coaches. He is still well respected, however.
Martin is currently the second longest serving coach in the NHL after Paul Maurice of the Carolina Hurricanes.