A fan weighs in

AndrewCohen
Andrew Cohen grew up in the Town of Mount Royal and has been a Canadiens fan since his childhood, a loyalty that has lasted through his residency in the U.S.
Cohen, 45, is a contributing editor  at  The Atlantic and chief legal analyst for CBS News.
These are his thoughts on the season to date.

The End of the Affair

Now that Brian Gionta is likely out for the season, now that the Habs best playoff scorer has been dispatched to Calgary, it is time to throw in the cards on this miserable edition of the team. It’s time to sell, not buy, and it’s time for the most important Canadian sports organization ever to be honest and forthright to its tens of millions of fans around the world. Trust me, we can take it. The Canadiens need to start, today, on making sure its 2012-2013 squad is much more worthy than is the current one of wearing La Sainte-Flannelle. And if that means continuing to break up the core of this group then so be it.

Please let’s be honest with one another. If this edition of Les Glorieux were a horse, it would be declared lame and then mercifully put down. The team is far less than the sum of its parts, the failed creation of an inept and inapt general manager, and, perhaps worst of all, largely unwatchable on the ice.  Everyone seems to be waiting for Andrei Markov to return, as if he were Larry Robinson or Chris Chelios, but that is like waiting for the Messiah, and, anyway, how much difference could a player like Markov make after having been out for nearly two seasons? I try to watch every game that is broadcast here in the United States. They are painful, boring affairs. I remember Canadiens’ teams which would come out on home ice and put the game away in the first period. Now we are thankful if we have a scoreless tie after one. Let me put it another way. The forgettable Habs team of 11 years ago, from the 2000-2001 season, with players like Craig Darby, Juha Lind and Patrick Traverse, were more fun to watch than the current team. And that team got 70 points.

It’s okay to be boring when you are winning. That was Jacques Martin’s professed thing, right? And, Good Lord, the New Jersey Devils won that way for years. But it’s another thing to be boring when you are losing. The Habs play like automatons. Their forwards are too small—Thursday’s trade was an acknowledgement– and they are not nearly gritty enough. The defense is too soft. They are too devoid of passionate players. And club management is only now coming to the realization that the National Hockey League is never going to favor a style that is more European than Canadian. For decades, the Canadiens have valued speed over size. This sorry team is further proof that the balance must be struck differently—look at the Bruins, heck, look at most consistently successful teams these days. Small teams don’t win the Stanley Cup anymore—if they ever did. The so-called “Flying Frenchmen” were protected by men like John Ferguson and Pierre Bouchard. This team has protection, too, but just too many little guys to protect.

Hey, Geoff Molson, I don’t yet follow you on Twitter but I still appreciate your passion. You aren’t that far from offering to your dogged fans a solid team, a team worthy of both wins and respect. But you need to move and move now if you want to expedite the return to glory we’ve been waiting for now for nearly two decades. Let’s not start with the head coach, poor Randy Cunneyworth, whom your general manager Pierre Gauthier threw into the lion’s den last month. Let’s start with the players. Let’s start with Scott Gomez. And let’s be blunt. The Canadiens will never compete for a Stanley Cup so long as they are paying an extraordinary amount of money (what is it, $7 million, which is more than ten times the amount an average Quebecois earns?) to Scott Gomez. He may be the nicest guy in the world. He may be “great in the room,” as the hockey saying goes. But the French journalists are right when they say he adds nothing to the team. Nothing worth that salary, anyway. No organization can succeed when its highest-salaried employee is one of its least efficient. It has nothing to do with Gomez’s personality. It’s just a fact of human nature. His presence on that team is corrosive. So was Cammalleri– and if the Habs had received only a second-round pick and that prospect the trade would have been a step in the right direction.

Continue to cut your losses, Mr. Molson. Get rid of Gomez—no one will care how you do it or what the team gets in return. And while you are at it make plans to move forward without Gauthier. He is not responsible for the horrible Gomez trade, the worst Canadiens’ trade since the Patrick Roy trade of 1995. That brick belongs to Bob Gainey. But Gauther is responsible for signing Andre Markov to a long-term deal without knowing more about how well (or how poorly) the player had recovered from his knee surgery. And Gauthier is responsible for dozens of smaller decisions (Chris Campoli, really?) that have shaped a team that proves weekly that it is going in the wrong direction.  That is not good enough in any town which loves its team. It is certainly not good enough for Montreal and its Canadiens. Gauthier needs to go and the sooner the better. He made Jacques Martin pay for mistakes the coach didn’t make. Now it’s time for the Habs to make Gauthier pay for his own mistakes.

So Gomez needs to go. And so does Gauthier. And nice Hal Gill– to a playoff team. And maybe Tomas Kaberle, too, if he continues to play well enough to earn some interest at the deadline. And if the team ends up with one extra decent draft pick from the sale of these assets, or one tough young forward, it will still be better off than it was this year. I will welcome Brian Gionta back next October. I think he’s an important player. But I will look forward to him being supported by a team that can more meaningfully compete. And that brings me to the scouting department. When does Trevor Timmons get evaluated, I mean really challenged, for his work over the past decade? When he was hired, he was supposed to be the drafting “genius” who created the Senators. But he hasn’t been so great with the Canadiens, has he? Along the same lines, Mr. Molson, I would like to know who the person was, in the Canadiens organization, who said: “Oh, Ryan McDonagh, we can afford to include him in the Gomez trade because he’ll never amount to anything.” That person should be fired.

Which brings me, at last, to the coach.  Poor Cunneyworth. A nice guy, by all accounts, but he never had a chance. In a perfect world, the Canadiens would be able to select a coach without regard to the language the coach spoke. In the real world, however, as even my 78-year-old former Montrealer mother said the other day, “the Canadiens ought to have a coach who can at least speak a little French.” Word. Let’s be honest with one another yet again. By embracing the notion that the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens ought to be able to speak French, the team embraces the notion of affirmative action and at the same time dramatically limits the pool of qualified candidates for the job. I am a big fan of affirmative action (really, you can look it up). But I want the coach of the team to be the best candidate regardless of the language of his birth. It’s sad that cannot happen. But there is a lot about the language debate in Quebec, and its history, that is sad. I hope Cunneyworth stays with the organization— that would send the right message, would it not?

The Canadiens need new management. They need to reshape the size and swagger of the team. Opponents ought to fear playing the Habs, or at least consider it an annoyance, which is another concept that seems to be lacking each time this team takes the ice. If the idiots who run the Boston Bruins could have achieved all this, and I say that with all due respect, there is no excuse for the Canadiens not to have done it now for nearly 20 years. That’s what Geoff Molson must contend with. That’s why it’s so apparent that this current team stinks. And it’s why big changes are going to have to take place, now, before long-time fans of the team can have their confidence restored. This team is unworthy of the playoffs and desperately in need of a top draft pick. We all know that. Now Molson and Company simply have to muster up the courage, creativity and vision to make it happen.

432 Comments

  1. Polar Bear says:

    Like others I wonder why anyone thought Andrew Cohen had anything enlightening to say? I think the pertinent comment is that attributed to Sam Pollack where he acknowledges fans are idiots as many of the post here indicate. Yet occasionally there are beams of lucidity as shown by the likes of Canuckbot and shilo. Look everyone can make themselves seems brilliant in hindsight. Let me put the record straight on a few things while many of you are leaping off ” Costa Canadiens” here everyday.

    First, some years a team stinks it up for various reasons. This team is competitive in most every game it plays. Look up the scores. With a little luck five or six fewer screw ups at the right time and or a few extra goals and this team has ten more points. With the competitive level in the NHL these days the margin of victory every night is slight. That being said results are what matter and if you are a coach who emphasizes defense first and your team keeps blowing leads then eventually you have to be accountable for that. Only time (i.e. hindsight) will tell if firing Martin was a good idea). So while Cohen and many others seem determined to tell us how much this team sucks it really is just as good as a good majority of the teams in the eastern conference.

    More importantly we need to look at the big picture. While Cohen and others are trying to paint the organizations leaders as “idiots” or worst sinister (a common tactic by those who don’t and never will hold management positions) the reality is they have made many good decisions but again in hindsight some that have turned out poorly. To understand this we need to look back a few years to the lock out. Bob Gainey made the prediction that the “new rules” would open up the game for smaller more skilled players (I.e. the signing of giants, gomezmand carmalerri) . He was wrong but it was probably a good assumption at the time. Unfortunately the new rules did not hold up and the game remains a bigger mans game and one where force and intimidation still rule. In hindsight the idea looks bad but at the time it looked like good risk to take. As a manager I know we make decisions based upon what we think the trends are and what likely outcomes and shifts will be. Although he was wrong Gainey should not be hung for this it was a reasonable risk to take. Gues what managers make mistakes all the time. If we are going to Run them out of town for every mistake now one will take risk and that is what breeds organization failure and unsuccessful organizations – the reluctance to take risks. Secondly as many of you have no doubt forgotten when Gainey took over players did not want to come here for a variety if reasons. To overcome that Gainely again had to take some risks. Although he was admittedly known to be overapaid at the time Gomez was also known to be a “good” player on ice and in the dressing room. Gainey had just cleared out a lot of bad eggs from the dressing room and wanted to get some character players which Gomez was known to be. Also Gomez was the key to getting Gionta ( also another known character player) and Gionta was the key to getting Cammy ( not unfortunately a charater player but one that seemed to bring an offensive upside which the team needed). That folks is the history that many of you seemed to have forgotten. Now in hindsight the price for Gomez was too high given his lack of production, the cost in cap space and the development of Ryan Mcdonaugh. Again what some of you have forgotten or don’t know is that while Mcdonaugh was a top pick, at the time the scouting report was that his stock had fallen and he did not look so good anymore. So again seems like a reasonable risk on Gaineys part to add him to the mix. Again that did not turn out in the Habs favor.

    Now, we turn to Guathier. I’m not going to debate his every move here since he took over from Gainey. Again as a managersome have workd some have not. Thenmore imprtant thing in evaluating the abilities of a manger is why decisins are made not always how they turn out. I will say one thing about him and that is based upon one decision he made which tells me what kind of manager he is. Despite the ” voice” of fans he traded Halak and not Priace and as a manger I admirenthatbgreatly. At the time the popular thing would be to trade Price and he did not which told me he had guts and he uses th bst information he has to make decisions. That folks is a good manager. As for Trevor Timmins I think he’s done a good job. When her had thhighndraftvchoice in 2005 he made the bst selection – Price. H got thfranchisemplayertou need to get that that spot. Again the consensus at the time would have had him draft someone like Gilbert Brule who supposedly had the offensive upside that thenhabs needed and why draft Price if you have Theodore? Enough said about that I think. Finally, the is one area where Gauthier and Gainey do deserve some harsh criticism based upon the data they should have had – it took them “too long” to see that the game was not going to transform to be about speed and skill. Size still matters and they are not a big enough team. That was obvious at least a year ago if not sooner. Only now with the trade of Cammy for Bourque do them seem to havebadapted to this reality. Unfortunately with the contracts they have tooling may be difficult in the short term althought the Cammy deal is a step in the right direction. As for Markov, again given his upside you had to make that deal. And again it has not so far been a good outcome. So it’s been a perfect storm for the habs this year. If they don’ make the playoffs that’s ok becuase a higher draft everynnow and then is not such a bad thing. But their needs to be enough of the sky is falling mentality with Habs fans. Try your best to enjoy the games as I will. I have just explained to you why we are where we are. There has been no plot or conspiracy of stupidity at work against them. Luckily,management seems finally to have recognized the philosophical change required and is moving in the right direction. We have lots of great young players in place and some new pieces need to be found. A complete overhaul is not required. Moving forward the team faces these challenges to get back into contention:

    - freeing up cap space to get the new pieces
    - keeping the young talent we have in place wanting to stay in Mtl. given the media and fan over reaction and expectations ( lets not return to the Pre- Gainey days when no one wanted to play there)
    - finding the right coach!!!!!

    The last one is the one I am most concerned about because we don’t have a good record of identifying that person. And given how politicized it is I fear we will get a “fans” / media choice and not the “best” choice

    Finally, results are ultimately what matters and if management cannot get the team back into contention (or in business speak make the profit and return in investment the shareholders – us fans – deserve) then yes it must change. But don’t try and paint the doom and gloom scenario I hear from Cohen and others. This team has been well served by the management team in place . The team has lots of cause for optimism, but yes management will have to produce results to remain in place. The weeks and months ahead will certainly be their judge.

  2. Lizardking89 says:

    Why all the hate towards this guy? It was well written and pretty much right on the money.

  3. canuckbot says:

    What a waste of time article. Why is Andrew Cohen’s opinion so important? And how much does it differ from all the other fans posting here. I feel like I’ve been reading this article ever day of the season so far!

  4. francbiss says:

    nothing keeps you here btw

  5. Habsrule1 says:

    That’s it. Keep it classy.

    Go Habs Go!!

    “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

  6. Habsrule1 says:

    Just what we needed…another whiner on the site. Good riiddance.

    It’s during the difficult times that we weed about the bandwagoners.

    Go Habs Go!!

    “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

    • lol, I was thinking the same thing.

      Thanks for pointing out the obvious Andrew, I’m pretty sure management knows about the problems and I’m sure they will fix it.

      I am sure it will happen, and I am sure it won’t happen over night.

      Yes Gomez deal NOW was a mistake (we lost a good defenseman, that’s it, nothing more, there are others in the organization). It was a quick fix that worked, and brought in a ton of cash in 2010 and entertained us that year to no end.

      Andrew, you’re blaming moves that every single team in the NHL makes every year. Campoli? Really?

      Markov? What did you want them to do? Not resign him? Just let him go like he’s trash? Yeah that would bring in players. Lets give my entire career to to a team that treats me like **** when I get hurt.

      What ever you do, don’t point out the good things the organization has done. Price, Gorges, Subban, Kostitsyn, Plecs, Emelin, Gill, Kaberle, Yes, he’s been good Leblanc…..you get the point yet?

      Hockey management is not easy. You depend on a whole bunch of people to give their best assessment and then you act on that advice, and try and build a winner.

      You and a few others want the team to lose five or six years straight and build on those picks?

      Well guess what,it has worked for two teams. Pittsburgh, and Chicago. And during those losing seasons, the fans were gone, or crying like little babies.

      No thanks, I enjoy watching hockey in April. Even if it’s only one series or three rounds. It’s part of the excitement.

      The Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win, and not just on the ice.

      Some people just don’t get it.

      Shane Oliver
      http://www.Sholi2000.com Inc.
      Custom Sports Figures
      Brandon, MB,Canada
      R7B 2R7
      hockey@sholi2000.com
      Ph- 204 724 8418

    • HardHabits says:

      @HR1: You say whiner. I say venting realist.

      You probably call yourself a Real Fan™ too however you are just another dreamer, another supporter of perpetual mediocrity that tries to call it excellence.

      @Sholi: You’re still trying to defend that brutal Kaberle deal. You give management too much credit. If you look at what Gauthier is trying to do now, in a sense back-pedalling from his and Gainey’s disastrous foray into smurf agency, is exactly what I have been clamouring for; more size and grit.

      I have called this team peripheral for the past 2 1/2 seasons. Gauthier ssaid the exact same thing after the Cammy trade. You also said the most they’d get is a 2nd. Wrong again on that one.

      Andrew Cohen gets it. Vinnie Damphousse gets it.

      There is no dishonour in missing the play-offs for a few seasons if need be. If a proper rebuild is explained to the fans they will get it too.

      Saying that the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win is correct. The Habs do not have the team to go all the way so 1 or 2 rounds of play-off hockey might satisfy you but that isn’t the objective.

      Look at the Sabres. They are exactly the type of team you don’t want to build. High priced and free agent heavy. They suck too. A carbon copy of the Gainey’s Habs.

      Look at the Senators. They are top 10 now. They chose the correct route. Sell. They also have Zibanejad and Mark Stone in the pipes.

      My argument, my Tanking™ doctrine, is not about throwing games. It is about accepting a lost season like this one and rather than make all the dismal little moves that give the illusion of play-off viability make the ones that allow the team to fight another day, as in next season.

  7. savethepuck says:

    This is an actual serious article on here? This guy is not a journalist, he’s a typical frustrated Habs fan. The crap he’s spewing is a joke. Why even put it on this site?

    “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
    Carey Price

  8. zaq007 says:

    http://buzztap.com/link.jsp?id=7208297&cid=516&source=twitter

    Video of boston talking about the PK hit, I’d poke fun at Jack Edwards but that vein on his neck is scary o.o

    • showey47 says:

      LMAO,what a bunch of douches. No mention of what should have been a 5 minute instigator on ference either.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      PK puts his elbow to Krejci’s face — it’s a dirty hit. I hate Ference, but he did what we’d all want our team-mates to do. I HATE Jack Edwards, but that vein is popping for a reason: we scored on the ensuing powerplay and so profited from a dirty hit.

      What kills is that Jack Edwards and NESN are cheerleaders for not only the league’s dirtiest team but also one that profited all the way to the Cup from avuncular help upstairs.

      The hypocrisy of anyone connected to the Bruins lamenting how “the rats are winning” makes me retch.

      • Habsrule1 says:

        Sorry but he did not “put his elbow to Krejci’s face”. Watch it again. His gorearms came up flailing, but they barely grazed the guy. That was a clean hip check. His arms were barely part of the hit.

        We cannot take a great hit like that out of the game.

        Go Habs Go!!

        “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

      • j0nHABS says:

        No Chance that it was an elbow, if you pause the video at the point of impact PK’s arm was at chest level and then he pushes off with the same arm and maybe grazed his chin. There is nothing wrong with this hit.
        This NESN show is the worst sports show I have ever seen. Who’s the meat head that is quoting Burke, if the league started listening to Burke I would start watching the KHL instead.
        “The Rats end up winning” What a joke!

        • slychard says:

          The turtleing (however that’s spelled) has got to go, someone teach PK to man up and fight.

          +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
          Kiss my hAbSS!!!

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Fair enough, if you and Habsrule are correct, I’d be relieved. Like Habsrule, I’d have no wish to take big (but clean) hits out of the game. I want opposing forwards to be aware of this when they approach our blue-line.

          But I’m still not convinced about this one.

          Cheers

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Come on guys! Even if you look at the photo on Boone’s Sens preview above, there’s more than chin-grazing in it!

          Then ask yourselves, if it were Lucic chin-grazing Cole, what would you be saying?!

          Happily, we at least agree that Jack Edwards’ parents misspelled his name on his baptismal certificate (ie ‘ac’ was meant to be ‘er’).

          Cheers

    • Dad_Max says:

      Rats? Look at your entire Boston line-up Jack. Marchand? Horton? Luchicken? Ferrence? Cambell? Mcquaid? They’ll only fight the guys they know they can beat. Real tough guys. Keep up the pure bias Jack! What was your thoughts on the cheap bridge that Marchand aka “The true rat” threw on Salo the other night?

  9. McKanadiens says:

    Bravo. Excellent letter. Thanks for sharing!

  10. showey47 says:

    Don’t know if this has been posted already but the first paragragh tells how some of the players felt about cammy.

    http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Eklund/Did-Montreal-Panic-On-Myers-for-Getzlaf-Schenn-for-JvR-Kane-for-Doan/1/41310

    • Stev.R says:

      Eklund is the best hockey fiction journalist out there

      • showey47 says:

        Making up trade rumours is one thing,but making up quotes from former team mates would be quite another. I don’t put much stock in hockeybuzz trade rumours,i only go there to read the articles by eric engles. But i do have a hard time believing these quotes are fabricated.

  11. G-Man says:

    Guess this Cohen guy read HH too many times and had his mind warped. ;)

    _______________________________________________

    Tanking- The Losers way of winning.

  12. Jdub1985 says:

    The only language the Montreal Canadiens coach should speak is HOCKEY!

  13. gmd says:

    Darren Dreger explains the “technicalities” of the trade:
    http://watch.tsn.ca/featured/clip600685#clip600685

  14. myron.selby says:

    Well lets get past the (supposedly) impressive fact that this guy is an editor for The Atlantic and legal analyst for CBS news, and deal with the substance of what he says. And just by way of credentials, I’m 58 and have been watching the Habs a hell of a lot longer than he has.

    The first thing I’d take exception to his statement that we’re waiting for Markov as if he were Robinson or Chelios. Having watched all 3, I can say without reservation that Markov is 10 times the player that Chelios ever was. Chelios was without question the most over-rated D-man ever to wear the colors. Markov if he ever returns is one of the top 5 or 6 defenceman in the league.

    I’m not a huge Gauthier fan at this time, but to suggest that he screwed up by signing Markov just goes to show how little Andrew Cohen knows about what’s going on. There was no way Gauthier could have signed Markov for less money or years than he did. Any team in the league would have given Markov more money and a longer contract if Gauthier had let him go.

    He asks how much difference could Markov have made – he was the key to one of the best power plays in the league for a number of years. He cleared the zone every time. Think of him as Lidstrom-lite.

    There was no way for the Habs to know that Markov would not return for the start of the season. And if he had, this would be a very different team.

    He talks about boring hockey and then whines because the Habs favor speed over size. Detroit won with speed, finesse and “European” hockey and so did Montreal.

    Then he dumps on Timmons for his picks. As far as I can see the Habs have done as well as anyone in the draft given the place they picked. Did they miss better players at times? Of course. So did every team in the league. But if you look at some of the players they did pick you’ll see that they’ve done very well with the picks they had.

    Cohen would have the Habs emulate the Bruins. For starters, that isn’t possible for any other team. The way Boston wins is that they are allowed to play outside the rules because Jacobs is the chairman of the board of governors who just gave Bettman a huge new contract. Any other team pulling the crap that Boston does would get penalized into oblivion.

    On top of that, what true Habs fan would want a team like the Bruins? Nasty, dirty, vicious thugs – Marchand, Lucic, Thornton, Campbell, Chara – I wouldn’t want any of them in a Habs jersey.

    Do the Habs need to get bigger? Maybe. I’m still pretty happy with (arguably) their best forward prospect – Brendan Gallagher – even though he’s a midget. What can you say about a guy who scores 7 points in his first game back from the world junior? “Sorry you’re too small” seems kind of stupid.

    I agree that Gauthier has to go. I’d say that firing Pearn was the beginning of the end for him. If coaching was the problem (and it was a huge part of it) you don’t solve it by firing the assistant coach. Then when he got around to firing Martin (which was way overdue) he has only 1 assistant coach and has to put his assistant general manager (who apparently has never coached) in as the new assistant coach – dumb.

    For me, the nail in Gauthier’s coffin was trading Spacek for Kaberle. Last year I would have given Spacek away for a bag of pucks. This year he was playing very steady D. But more than that, he was at the end of his contract. Kaberle – aside from being soft, defensively useless and completely disinterested – has a long expensive contract. The reason Boston didn’t try to sign him is that he doesn’t bring anything to the game.

    I was very surprised that Gauthier was allowed to make the last trade. I would have thought that Molson would have insisted that all trades be OK’ed by him. I don’t question that Cammallleri needed to be traded (selfish, unmotivated and divisive) but I can’t understand why he wasn’t shopped around. Why pick up Calgary’s 30 year old problem child, when what we really need is prospects or draft picks?

    • HabsTrueBlue says:

      We all have our opinions but your credibility is shot when you state “Markov is 10 times the player that Chelios ever was”.

      Sorry not even close.

      In his prime Chelios was a goal-scoring, hard-hitting, team leader, tough, do what needs to be done, stud defender. He led his team in scoring once, was second in scoring once and third in scoring another time. Chelios has three Norris trophies for being the best defender in the league and you are blabbing about Markov being top 5 or 6?

      • English is not a Crime says:

        ~We all have our opinions but your credibility is shot when you state “Markov is 10 times the player that Chelios ever was”.

        I have to admit, it was immediately after reading that line that I stopped reading the post and scrolled down to the next post (your’s) as well.

    • habstrinifan says:

      “Well lets get past the (supposedly) impressive fact that this guy is an editor for The Atlantic and legal analyst for CBS news, and deal with the substance of what he says. And just by way of credentials, I’m 58 and have been watching the Habs a hell of a lot longer than he has.”

      64 yrs old here and got real interested in your ideas from above paragraph.

      “The first thing I’d take exception to his statement that we’re waiting for Markov as if he were Robinson or Chelios. Having watched all 3, I can say without reservation that Markov is 10 times the player that Chelios ever was. Chelios was without question the most over-rated D-man ever to wear the colors. Markov if he ever returns is one of the top 5 or 6 defenceman in the league.”

      Sorry after this paragraph I just moved on to the next post. Geez!!!!!

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Andrei Markov is not ten times as good as Chris Chelios was. He’s not even as good as Chris was. No offence to Andrei, but Chris was so highly regarded by his peers and hockey experts that he won the Norris Trophy three times and is headed for the Hall of Fame. Mr. Markov’s career may have been marred by injury, but even when healthy his play does not reach the level of Mr. Chelios.

      That’s the problem with hyperbole, you wrote this to add emphasis to your words without being really serious, but it robbed you of your credibility.

      Unless you were serious, in which case we have an even bigger problem.

      ———————————
      How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Errant!
        Been looking for you (but I think there’s at least 8 hours between us).
        I replied (next day) to your post after the Boston game. If you want to have a look, it’s on ALN and you’d have to scroll to the bottom and click older posts!

        And btw, completely agree with you and others about Chelios.

        Cheers

  15. HabsTrueBlue says:

    So the Habs need to get bigger (up front) and yet they trade or don’t re-sign Max Lapierre and Benoit Pouliot. On the back end they trade or don’t sign Ryan O’Byrne and James Wisniewski (not big but gritty). Will Bourque bring more grit than those four players?

    • Rad says:

      You’re right TrueBlue. Where has Gauthier been the past 2 years? The Habs have been too small from the first day he was appointed GM. It’s absolutely ridiculous for him to finally “see” that the team lacks size after all this time. How often has he answered size and grit questions posed to him by reporters by saying things like “we may be small, but we don’t play small” or “we have adequate size to be successful if we play as a team”…. and so on, ad nauseum. All you have to do is go back to archived interviews to read statements that he has made on this subject in the past.

      Where was Gauthier when we got physically beaten up by the Bruins in that game last year that Mike Boone termed the “Beantown Beatdown”, or what about when Max Pacioretty had his neck broken and career almost ended by Chara on that fateful night in Montreal? Gauthier didn’t have a damm thing to say then about “needing to get bigger up front”.

      No wonder Cammalleri wanted out. In his next to last game as a Canadien, there was a 1st Period incident where Cammy and David Perron of the Blues were jostling and crosschecking back and forth with each other, until the 6’2″, 235 lb. Chris Stewart stepped in and cross-checked Cammalleri and knocked him off balance. Now Perron himself is bigger than Cammalleri, he certainly didn’t need Stewart to enter the fray. Did anybody on the Habs step in to defend Cammalleri? Who do the Habs have that could take on a guy like Stewart? This was a routine play, not unlike a thousand other such acts of intimidation against the smaller Habs for the entire time that Gauthier has been GM of the Montreal Canadiens.

      So now Gauthier sees the light after 2 years, after his players have had to endure physical beatings in just about every game they play. Players like Cammalleri and Desharnais and Pleks and Gionta, even Subban and Gorjes, regularly targeted every game. These players have had to sacrifice their bodies because of the GM’s ignorance. Gauthier should truly be ashamed of himself.

    • Jim Edson says:

      Yappierre asked to get out and was obliged!

      He wore out his welcome with the diving, turtle antics and Cheshire cat grinning. (sound vaguely familiar?)

      Same as Lemieux same as Ribero. Who also were sent packing!

      Strange how he only lasted a month in Aneheim too and it took his former Junior coach to convince him he needed to change his act or end up playing senior hockey in St. Louis de Ha Ha.

      ———————————————————————-
      What does the Commissioner of the NHL do?

      In short, a league commissioner is the action man for the Board of Governors.

      They tell him what they want done and he works to make it happen through his subordinates while making sure that individual franchises play by the rules.

      ******** Translated if you haven’t won the Stanley Cup in 40 years your NHL team is becoming irrelevant in a sports mad city long behind MLB, NFL and NBA teams, you just tell the commissioner(who you gave a new contract at 7 plus million per) to make it happen and the rules are bent sufficiently to action the command.

  16. sheds88 says:

    going into this season…the only thing i really put blame on management is not knowing Markov’s status to return. Originally he was only supposed to miss the first month or so. Campoli was a band-aid and so was kaberle. if markov had started this season, neither of those guys would have been aquired and we would still have spacek.
    Gill, Subban,Spacek,Markov,Gorges, Diaz, and Emelin and cap space. Not too shabby IMO. we also wouldn’t have had to deal with as many Weber/Campoli/ Kaberle f**k ups often costing goals. Sure, PK may still have had a bad season ( so far ), but we would have a more stable defence with veterans to manage him better.

    The way the habs finished last season i honestly thought we were going to be able to make some noise come playoffs. Maybe Markov would have been rusty, but he would still provide some valuable guidance to our younger D-men. I too have, scrath that HAD, a soft spot for Cammy myself living in Calgary. Flames fans here couldn’t stop bragging while he put up 39, and then we got him. But it had to be done. I also have soft spot for Bourque, getting a chance to watch him play often.

    Alot of high hopes before this season, but politics and drama and losing has made it almost unbearable to watch now days. The worst part is they’re close in every game which keeps me hooked. Stop watching the habs ????? NEVER

    GO HABS GO !!!!

    _______________________________________________________________________
    i don’t know why they keep comparing Carey Price to God………i mean he’s good, but he’s no Carey Price.

    • sheds88 says:

      And yes Mr. Cohen, the person who included McDonaugh in the Gomez trade should be fired !

      _______________________________________________________________________
      i don’t know why they keep comparing Carey Price to God………i mean he’s good, but he’s no Carey Price.

  17. Habfan4lfe says:

    Exaggerated long read of what I’ve said here umpteen times. Regardless it’s nice to see others are on the same page with the state of the canadiens. Team needs major changes.

  18. mike3131 says:

    double post

  19. mike3131 says:

    Why couldn’t he have put this much effort on the ice?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7zWE7T7KFI

  20. ManApart says:

    Nice article by Cohen. Couldn’t have said it better myself. I have been saying it for about 3 years. I saw Gainey and Gauthier were making one bonehead move after another. It was only a matter of time before the house of cards collapsed. It’s really a shame we had Gilette beforehand who was totally ignorant to hockey (as were most of the people on this board). Now Molson took over and has given the two most incompetent GMs in this club’s history (minus Houle of course) more than enough rope.

    The team is in shambles and the the prospect cupboard is a joke. It’s a shame that we have wasted so many years with those bozos. The game has long passed them by. They completely failed with this team, who will miss the playoffs and be more or less in the same position they were in when Gainey first took over. A shame indeed.

  21. mike3131 says:

    I rarely comment (as evidenced by the fact that Cammy is still listed as one of my fav current players on my profile) but I’ve been feeling like a troll lately, commenting after our worst loses and the Kaberle trade. However, (this is coming a little late) I think the team held its own pretty well against a powerhouse (hate to admit it) like Boston. Apart from the bad bounce in the first period, it would’ve been a tie game by the time the horn sounded at the end of regulation. We competed, battled, and almost potted a couple, but not against Floppy.
    Re. the Cammy trade, although he has been unproductive and a liability in our zone, I’ve always had a soft spot for him. He kills himself in the offseason, he’s (seems like) a good character, he’s half-Jewish, and he turns his game up come playoff time. It was saddening to see his picture with a Flames logo in the bottom right corner when SportsCentre did the story on him. I believe he could’ve scored at least 30 goals per season (maybe hit 40) with us. Unfortunately, he just hit rock bottom and his calling the team out to the media punched his ticket out of MTL.
    In the end, the trade needed to be done. It was a step in the right direction and I hope Bourque plays with a LITTLE more effort than the previous Hab to wear #27. We also get significant cap relief, a 2nd round pick, and a potential sleeper prospect. I disagree with the manner in which the trade was done, but that’s another story.
    Thank you for your time here Cammy!

    Edit: Profile updated.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Mike – I had conflicting points of view on last night’s game. Part of me saw it exactly like you did. The other half thought that we could never win the game even though it was so close (and the two Bruins’ goals were semi flukes).

      I had the gut feeling the Bruins could have revved up into the next gear if need be and still win the game.

      BTW, I thought Subban’s hit was a semi head shot. A dumb play only compounded all the more by his assine smile that has totally worn thin not only with me, but also with the two teams on the ice. I’ve love to have ten minutes to chat with this guy to explain that’s there’s no place for a 2nd year player to act like a big fish in a small pond. Drop the Lapierre like smirk and start acting like a pro hockey player.

      • RiverviewCanadien says:

        I have felt the same way about him as you do.

        I like confidence, but I hate arrogance, and sometimes I feel PK’s head may cause him to float away on some nights.

        ‘Lapierre like smirk’ – exactly.

      • mike3131 says:

        Yeah it was pretty dirty, and it was cowardly to cover up and just let Ference drag him down. I think PK is becoming less and less untradeable at this point. Perhaps he needs Gill to straighten him out again?

      • Kooch7800 says:

        people won’t agree with me but the ducks need defense. I would be talking to them about PK subban for Getzlav or Ryan. Both would make our club better. PK is a good player and I don’t dispute that but I also think he is a bit of a head case type player

        • ManApart says:

          No way they part with those guys straight up. Geztlaf forget it, and Ryan is a proven 35 goal scorer. What has PK done? Nice offensive year last season, but a minus player. This year he’s not even close to an all star player. You would have to give up more than PK.

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Good posts, especially because all the encouraging aspects of that close game against a contender were swamped by the trade story.

        24, I’d reluctantly agree — retrospectively — that the Bruins could possibly have taken it up a gear. But during the game, which I was obliged to watch on NESN, I had the insufferable Jack Edwards waxing lyrical about what a bad game Boston was playing and yet still leading despite Montreal’s best efforts. (I am a peaceful fellow but by God, give me an AK47 and a clean shot at the broadcast booth and I take that smug, patronising jackass out!). So until the game ended, I was very much crediting the Habs with PREVENTING Boston from bringing their best game. But now, in the quiet, I’m thinking that perhaps your analysis is closer to the truth!

        I also cringed at PK. Unfortunately, I reckon the problem starts with the fact that the hit was very nearly 100% clean and just a really good check. We want our D-men to do that, we want all opposing forwards to be wary of that when crossing our blue-line, and only PK and Emelin ever do it. But I don’t, and you don’t, want them to be Pronger out here, trying to hospitalise people.

        But the hit was probably less than 100% clean, and Ference did what any of us would want a team-mate to do (Still don’t get why he wasn’t pinged for instigating).

        And then the smirk. Is it usually as broad as that? And with the ref? I’m holding out that something else funny happened during the scrum (although no one else was laughing). There are way worse things you can do to irritate opponents (think Avery), but PK’s smirk made me cringe. Tell you what though, if he exits his sophomore slump, stops the cheap giveaways, and starts scoring on the PP and on some of his rushes, I’ll let him smirk all he wants. Talk of trading that much talent might be fair but I find scary. Why not try to fix him first? Captain, Gill, RC, or next coach?

    • ManApart says:

      I just found it funny that one of the good points you mentioned about Cammy is he’s half Jewish lol. Pretty irrelevant

  22. Chuck says:

    In hindsight, trading Cammalleri, even before his comments, shouldn’t have been a surprise.

    While guys with his skill set will always be coveted, the current makeup of the Habs didn’t lend to him being successful.

    Players continue to get bigger and faster, giving less room for players like Cammy to do what they do best. A player of his size needs players on his line that play big, tough hockey to open up ice. Who do the Habs have that fit that description? Cole, Pacioretty, Kostitsyn and Moen have settled into fairly stable lines. So who’s left? Darche? Blunden? Were either of those guys going to be the key to Cammy’s success?

    The days of Lafleur and Gretzky regularly blasting 50-footers off the far post are long gone. Goalies are bigger, with better equipment, and better technique. Shots from the outside are better suited for screening, or to generate rebounds and secondary scoring chances, as most goals are now scored from close in. The one thing that hasn’t evolved at the same rate as the rest of a goalie’s arsenal is his reaction time. And to cut into his reaction time means shots from withing 15 feet.

    For that to work, you need players who are both willing and able to set up shop withing 5 feet of the net. You also need guys who will fight for shooting position instead of shying away from contact. Cammy is not that type of player, and there’s no one on the roster to be a consistent linemate who could create the conditions that Cammy needs to succeed.

    Iginla will be a nice compliment to him, being able to create open ice and feed him the puck, especially on the powerplay. I expect that Cammy will have at the very least a decent 2nd-half of the season. But considering how the game must be played on most nights, along with the guys on the current roster, the team couldn’t afford to carry an extra Cammalleri.

    • RiverviewCanadien says:

      I think the writing was on the wall with Mike. I was not surprised in the least bit.

      For Cammi to be successful he does need that player that generates the open ice for him, because he can’t do that on his own.

      And from what you are saying, is it fair to say you would agree with Gauthier who is trying to solve that issue?

      Not to ruin a night of good posting with some wacky idea, but since Habs need that type of player as part of the top 6 (physical, speedy, grinder, tough forward). Anyone ever think that Subban could make the jump to playing as a forward?

      • Chuck says:

        I think that Gauthier (and the rest of his advisers) took a long, hard look at the types of players on the team, along with the roles that needed to be filled.

        Like any well-running engine, you need to have the right balance of parts; too many spark-plugs and not enough pistons, and your car won’t make it out of the garage, no matter how much you’ve spent on the hardware.

        I think that Subban would have the talent to pull it off, but he also has the assets that will make him a very good offensive defenseman, something that isn’t easy to come by… so I wouldn’t foresee him moving up front.

    • mike3131 says:

      Maybe trading Plekanec would’ve been an alternative? THEN we could’ve MAYBE been talking about getting a Getzlaf or another big C in return. But Cammy officially became the odd man out after his little chat with Francois Gagnon.

      • RiverviewCanadien says:

        Maybe.

        Pleks is my favorite player, but getting Getzlaf would be wicked. I could live with that.

        In the end Mike, no player is bigger than the crest on the CHest. Sorry Cammi never worked out and was traded (for your sake that is).

      • NCRhabsfan says:

        Why on earth would anyone trade Getzlaf for Pleks? I like Pleks, but for Getzlaf? No one makes that deal and keeps their job.

    • habsolutely416 says:

      well said chuck. i have those exact same views. cammy can be effective if insulated by the right players. wasnt going to happen here and the habs got a bit more of what they need when they dealt him.

      ill be in the slot ;)

  23. 24 Cups says:

    There has been lots of talk about the Habs getting ready for a rebuild, even if that means throwing in the towel on the season. So far there has been no evidence of that happening.

    Mr. Gauthier has made four significant moves this season. He signed Campoli, fired Martin, traded for Kaberle and swapped Cammalleri for Bourque, a move that was all about the here and now.

    I guess the next few weeks will finally tell the tale.

    Who knows if the worst is yet to come.

    • Chuck says:

      I think what we’ll see is not so much a wholesale rebuild as it will be a targeted surgery.

      Looking over the roster, it’s obvious where turnover will need to be made. All you have to do is ask yourself: will this player have a role to fill on this team two seasons from now?

      I can see Gomez, Gill, Campoli, Darche and Nokelainen being moved in one form or another.

      • 24 Cups says:

        Chuck – I’m a broken record on this point (no pun intended), but if AK46 and Moen also leave it may be more than just partial surgery.

        Campoli and Nokelainen are band-aids brought in due to roster misreads from the summer. Same goes for Blunden. Darche, who’s play has slipped this year, is a fringe player who busts his ass. None of these guys should shoulder any guilt and are far from being the core problems with this team. Replacing them is easy, but not part of any major solution.

  24. Yeats says:

    As bad as things are, the question remains whether the guys wearing that jersey can look beyond the paycheck, find themselves and actually be Montreal Canadiens?

  25. price365 says:

    Give the C to Cole- He’s a good player a workhorse and would make a good leader and he has more experience than Gorges.

    • 24 Cups says:

      This Hab season has been defined by so many knee jerk reactions and classless moves. Do we now what to compound that by throwing our injured captain under the bus?

      Gionta is the least of our problems. Erik Cole has been great for the first half of the season. That doesn’t mean we should make him captain. Once he falters in a few years due to age, should we then take away his “C” and give it to MaxPac? Should we bitch about his salary, knowing full well it would eventually be a liability when we signed him last July?

      Maybe we should have thrown Gionta in as part of the Cammalleri deal just like we did with Mike Keane.

  26. 24 Cups says:

    Shoutout to Andrew Cohen. Thanks for writing what needed to be said. You just saved me two hours from sending the same kind of letter to Mike Boone.

  27. Al aboo says:

    what’s this cohen guys sporting credentials anyways?, he even said he only watches the games shown in the states(so maybe a handful). some things I agree with, but honestly a lawyer ranting about the obvious and unexplained……why?

    • Clay says:

      “Andrew Cohen grew up in the Town of Mount Royal and has been a Canadiens fan since his childhood, a loyalty that has lasted through his residency in the U.S”

      That’s “why”… If you’re entitled to spew out a point of view, why isn’t he?

      __________________________
      ☞ “Talent is a gift from God, but you only succeed with hard work. Yvan was proof of that.” – Jean Beliveau. ☜

  28. Mr_MacDougall says:

    The Crosby situation reminds me of Eric Lindros. Worlds best hockey player has his career stopped by concussions.. hopefully Crosby can have a better ending.. or we will all forget how amazing he was at his prime, much like Big E.

  29. aj says:

    I can’t wait to see the new #27 do his thing here at the Bell Centre. I hope he doesn’t disappoint people here since Bourque is considered an Inconsistent guy by many Hockey Analysts. With a new atmosphere, maybe he will dust of his old safe as a REAL top-sixer and show here what he’s traded for.

    Aside from that, I know this is a stupid question, Does everybody here want our Montreal Canadiens to win tommorrow and possibly go on to the playoffs (if by any chance they will)?

    With all this stuff that has happened since Last Summer till now, I know fans are disappointed, disgusted, disapproved from what Gauthier did. But regardless of that, Does everybody still share that same Optimism like a few others here have?

    Win or Lose, I’m still a Habs fan. But out of all our anger that we put on so many issues these past 6-7 months, It seems that our passion is waring out to the point that the fan support is ‘somewhat’ dying.

  30. Yeats says:

    Pathetic as it might seem, we might by God be one the verge of finally righting this ship because we seem to be coming to grips with the reality that is the Montreal Canadiens.

    • HabFab says:

      Jesuit school, right?

    • habsfan1001 says:

      i agree getting rid of cammy was a srart. Gainey thought aftervthe the lockout smaerll and faster was better .but it didn’t work out that
      way. bigger is betterI agree

      • Yeats says:

        Gainey was wrong. Given the skills of today’s players, they can all skate, size matters a lot!

        • HardHabits says:

          Small players can succeed in the NHL, Mats Naslund, Theoren Fleury, Marty St. Louis, Brian Gionta for example, some can even be tough like Stan Jonathan or Brad Marchant. But it isn’t wise to build a team of small players. What matters is a fine balance between speed and skill, size and grit.

          I think that Gainey was also wrong in assuming a 1st line of Cammy-Gomez-Gionta could be successful. It hasn’t been much better with Cammy-Plex-Gionta, which has been possibly the worst Habs line this season.

          • Kooch7800 says:

            key word in your response is balance. This team didn’t have it in the size department and even with the upcoming prospects. It needed to be changed in the east. Boston will be good for a long time and they are in the same division. Habs had to change

          • matt jordan says:

            I don’t know, the Darche, nokelainen, and whoever line has been pretty useless.

  31. The Torch says:

    Ambrose O’Brien must be rolling in his grave. His beloved Canadiens the joke of the Eastern conference. I like this trade, however PG needs to pack his bags and hit the road.

  32. the gonk says:

    Good post by Mr. Cohen. I really think the assessment by management in the spring was that if we had a healthy Pacioretty (let alone Markov and adding someone like Cole) in the line-up, we would’ve beat Boston. And if Boston won, we must be close too. This clearly was wrong. Go forward to October with Markov’s absence and the lack of depth on defence and at a center, Gauthier was scrambling to patch holes as if the structure of the team was nevertheless sound. Now also take into account the bizarre timing and circumstances of the coach firings and hiring and the Cammy trade, we have a GM who deserves to be fired.

  33. badbalance says:

    Cammy will end up with 30+ goals this season watch, while Bourque will not hit 20 goals until the end of the season, anyone want to bet?

    • Chuck says:

      The way Cammy was playing, if he was to stay here he might not have scored another 9. Considering the makeup of the team is was the right move to make.

    • Kooch7800 says:

      who gives a crap what he scores cause he wasn’t doing it here.

      Lets be honest, Calgary is not a cup contender by any stretch and they just took on 3 extra mill a season for the next couple years for Cammy with an aging rosters. Not a smart move on their part

  34. Yeats says:

    My God! That was the most refreshing piece I have read on HIO in such a long time! Thanks for letting many of us know we have not in fact lost our minds!

  35. twocents says:

    Chris, re: Kostitsyn, I bet this deal signals he will be retained and that’s part of the value of this deal is having the option to do so comfortably. I also bet AK gets at least some of Cammy’s PP time and that’s fine by me.

    • RiverviewCanadien says:

      +1

      I have always felt that Andrei has one of the best wristers in the East. I think he will get better and better. He can also play a physical game, dangle the puck and skate.

      • twocents says:

        I think losing him would be a big mistake. He’s seems happy this year and his set of skills is just about impossible to get in a trade without losing something really significant. I also agree that he still has upside to his game. Increase his role.

        • Mad Habber says:

          He really seems to click when he is put on with Eller. But he gets moved around on the lines so much he rarely plays with him.

          • Kooch7800 says:

            I like AK too but he is a 3rd liner. He is on pace for a whopping 40 points this year. He doesn’t produce enough for top 6 minutes. If he asks for 4 mill a season I would not resign him.

            We are in the bottom of the league in scoring and it needs to improve

            4 mill for a 40 something player is a little high.

        • HabFab says:

          Agreed but we rarely don’t!
          Missing a brother? ;)

          • twocents says:

            I’ll say this about siblings. I bet Cunneyworth could have sorted Sergei out far better than Martin had the capacity to.

          • HabFab says:

            Tru dat!
            Still ranks as one of the most stupid moves from his time and rankles me no end!

      • Stooof says:

        Agreed losing this guy would be terrible. If you take into account his age, his last few seasons, and the flair for amazing plays he has shown, and then line him up against a guy like hartnell who started out with some similar but not so hot seasons and is now tearing it up…. you just have to hold onto him! And how many other greats didn’t start to really shine until their late twenties. This guy will be a super star I am sure.

    • Chris says:

      That is my sincere hope…so long as the contract isn’t too obscene. :)

      • twocents says:

        I could live with 4m for 4 years. I would even go 4.2.

        Hopefully, Cole’s contracts as a comparable would cap AK’s salary out at that rate.

        • Chris says:

          Those would be fair, but this could be a weird market this summer with so few strong players. Whenever that happens, contracts for second- and third-tier offensive players can get REALLY loopy.

          • twocents says:

            Maybe we’ll see a deal before the season is up.

            I don’t see AK as an adventurous guy with regards to wanting to move cities.

    • JF says:

      I certainly hope you’re right. Letting him go would be a huge mistake.

  36. RiverviewCanadien says:

    SmartDogJANUARY 13, 2012 AT 9:31 PM
    5 QUESTIONS:

    1. THE TRADE. Is this a good trade for us (not how it was done but the result)?
    2. THE ROOM. Is there someone else may not be a good part of ‘the room’?
    3. WHO’s NEXT? Who’s next to be traded?
    4. WHY DO WE LOSE? The odd thing about this team is it rarely gets blown out. We lost a lot of points this year in 1-goal games and ties. If a handful of those went our way, it might be a different season. What in a few words is the reason we didn’t win those games?
    5. MOLSON (LITE)? So far my biggest problem with Mr. Molson is that Gauthier is still here doing what he has done to a sucky result. Does Molson have the will to replace the goat, and bring someone in with a fresh perspective and REALLY rebuild?

    1. Great trade, on paper. Game day Sunday will tell us more.
    2. Subban. When the whole Richards thing came to life, it was known that PK likes to “talk”. I don’t mind the fighting in practice, that builds character. But he strikes me as being all about ‘me’ sometimes.
    3. Gill, his services were good, but they can’t resign him next year. Why not trade him to a contender at the deadline.
    4. PP sucks.
    5. I like PG (throw your stones everyone). I have no idea how GM stuff works. He does, and I have liked his moves. Cole, Kaberle, Bourque, Pleks’ contract, Gorges signing. But if Molson can find someone better, by all means, I am about improving the team.

    BONUS QUESTION: (I asked this the other day, got a couple bites).
    With Gionta likely gone for the season, should they put the C on another player for the rest of the year, and who?

    I think they should, this team needs a clear #1 leader, even if it’s just for the sake of having that figurehead for the kids. Me, I see two players worthy. My 1st choice is Plekanec, but I also like Gorges.

    • Stev.R says:

      I don’t think they need to put a C on anyone. It doesn’t mean much to players anyways. Most of the time the other players don’t even know who gets the letters when a guy gets injured.

      But if there is one guy I want the young guys to look up to, it’s Cole.

      • RiverviewCanadien says:

        I don’t entirely agree. I think guys might appreciate and respect that patch on the jersey. The kids can and should feel they can approach the Captain with any issue. And I really think you gain more respect from your team mates wearing that IMO.

        I do however like what you mentioned about Cole. I think I may get his jersey next. Strong work ethic, class act (Louis Leblanc’s parents for crying out loud). What a great signing he was…tks PG for that one :D

    • twocents says:

      I know you’ve liked Pleks in the leadership role for some time, and I’ve come to see it more, but I still can’t see him pulling off a C convincingly.

      To me it would have to be Gorges at this point. I’d love to see Cole in that position, but I think given the length of his tenure relative to Gorges you have to go with Josh.

      • HabFab says:

        Agree on Gorges, Pleks seems too quiet! Seems strange the other day, they asked the Habs what PK represented and Pleks (only one) didn’t have a clue…guess this clash goes back to day one.

      • RiverviewCanadien says:

        You could be right that too much responsibility off the ice could be an issue with Pleks, but I feel what he does on the ice (so much ice time in all the areas), he could deal with the pressure. Homegrown, been through the best and the worst (wow, you think you have witnessed it all with this team then….BAM!) with his tenure thus far.

        He has called himself out and then came back stronger. He is the real deal. I also like how he always skates to Price (little pad slap and pep talk) before the puck is dropped on game night when he is on the starting line (anyone else notice this?). I think he has a good relationship with his team mates. Hey, I am not there in the room, so I could be way off, but I doubt it.

        I do however like Gorges and his commitment to this team, still can’t believe he took a Mike Green slapshot to the helmet (which imprinted the puck), I don’t think he even missed the next practice did he? Cole would definitely be getting an A if the C were given out to someone else.

        Is it that obvious Tomas is my favorite player?

  37. Chris says:

    I posted it below, but here are some of my thoughts HardHabits on Coach/GM possibilities.

    GMs:

    Given the requirement of French, I think the favourites might be Claude Loiselle (Assistant GM with the Leafs, formerly with the Lightning) or Julien BriseBois (Assistant GM of the Lightning, formerly with the Habs).

    If you go with BriseBois, you probably need to give him a “hockey man” to work with, a la Chiarelli/Neely in Boston. Possibilities there might include Lorne Henning (Vancouver, although it is a sideways move for him and therefore unlikely) or, the obvious candidate, a heightened role for Trevor Timmins.

    Coaches:

    As for coaches, the usual suspects will get bandied about. Crawford, Hartley, etc. Vyacheslav Bykov might get consideration again, although the shine on his star is a little less magnificent today than it was when he was interviewed a few years ago.

    Again, we have to work within the reality of coaches who can speak French. As with Loiselle above, one guy I’ve always expected to end up in management or coaching was Claude Lapointe. He’s doing some lower level coaching in Quebec but has drawn attention for developing players. Due to his struggles with drug addiction, he has become a strong communicator and motivator, and you have to imagine he might be the kind of guy who could keep his players on the straight and narrow.

    It would be nice if Clément Jodoin got some attention. He’s earned his dues, coaching in the QMJHL, the AHL and serving as an assistant coach in the NHL. Unfortunately he hasn’t won much in his career.

    On the other hand, Benoit Groulx has won plenty: three QMJHL championships in 6 full seasons as head coach. He also coached for two years with the Rochester Americans, but he didn’t have much to work with there as the Panthers haven’t got the strongest farm system.

    And of course, there is Patrick Roy for either role. I personally don’t feel Montreal is a good fit for Roy’s first foray into NHL management…the pressure might be too much for his volatile temperament. But that being said, I DO think he will make a very good manager or coach at some point.

    • HabFab says:

      Can only assume Loiselle does speak French?, has apparently got his law degree after hockey and accepted to the New York Bar. I think Timmons has done a good job as Scout guru but he still gets stuck on “profiling”. BriseBois has been doing the business for awhile now and is a lawyer too. Both would still be learning as they go and would need a Gainey or Savard mentor. My opinion for what it is worth.

      • Chris says:

        Loiselle does speak French. While his name has entered the ring somewhat late, I think he might be the favourite if the Goat is let go.

        Timmins does get stuck on profiling, but he also drafts a stink load of NHL players. The only big knock I can put on him is that he hasn’t really hit a bona fide homerun yet.

        I’m not sure that Loiselle would need a mentor…he’s been an assistant GM for a while now and has worked as a numbers guy, a scout and pretty much every other role in management. He’s pretty well groomed. And having worked with Burke, you have to think he might have gotten some “ins” with the league’s power brokers.

        BriseBois knows the business side, while Timmins knows the players. So I’m not sure they need a Gainey or Savard mentor either, necessarily. Savard has perhaps been out of the game too long, whereas Gainey was their boss not so long ago and it might be too easy for them to fall back into a deferential position if he’s involved. No shot intended at Gainey, but it is time to move on.

        • HabFab says:

          “He’s pretty well groomed. And having worked with Burke, you have to think he might have gotten some “ins” with the league’s power brokers.”

          Not a fan so not sure how positive this is.

          • Chris says:

            I’m not a fan of Burke’s persona, but he is well connected. He worked closely with Bettman when he was a VP for the NHL back in the day, and still seems to get away with more than he probably should.

            I don’t know why, but I always had a thing for the two Claudes. I was always arguing for the Habs to trade for Claude Lapointe back in the 1990′s.

            Loiselle is the kind of guy who just might have a great understanding of the game from enough angles to be a great GM. The question with any GM is whether they surround themselves with good people, especially in the critical portfolios of professional and amateur scouting.

          • HabFab says:

            Okay, I’m convinced. Will speak to Geoff in the AM.

          • Mad Habber says:

            I’ll repeat this:

            If he is gonna replace Gauthier it has to be with someone that can stand against public opinion and do what they think is best with the team, and the need to have the full confidence that they can do their job without outside interference. Similar to what Burke demanded when he took over the Leafs.

    • JF says:

      What about Guy Carbonneau? A while ago, you said some positive things about him. I had initially ruled him out, but your piece made me revise my opinion.

      • Chris says:

        He’s still there in my mind, but I’m not sure many others would go for him. I debated including him.

        I think Carbo might have to go somewhere else due to “baggage” in Montreal, and I suspect he could very easily become our next Vigneault/Julien story.

        • Mad Habber says:

          he never should have been let go with all those free agents were on the roster. He should have been around when the team was blown up and rebuilt. I think he would still be coaching this team, and we would be in better shape right now.

  38. HabFab says:

    http://t.co/w1kZ2qnS

    This is for those planning on attending the Bulldog outside game.

  39. H.Upmann says:

    Hey all, been enjoying your thoughts and posts.

    Gotta share my two cents (not that it’ll stop this club from sucking). Having been in an interim position before, I have to say I’m glad they got rid of Cammy after his comments. Maybe he saw a sign of weakness in the tag ‘interim’ that PG and GM have so nicely ascribed to Cunneyworth and decided to complain about his ice time…. About PG, boy this guy has to go. Throws the coaches under the bus. Throws his own players under the bus after trading Cammy by saying the players he picked up and signed are too small. He’s showing a habit of dropping bombs right before or during games, which doesn’t really provide inspiration for the team.

    As for ownership & management, I have a theory (most likely wrong)…. Going back to 09. Carbo loses the room, Habs chances of making the dance are threatened. Gillett needs the extra money for his other ventures and interests, tells Bob to fire Carbo to make sure they get to the dance. We lose to Boston. Team gets sold to Molson. Time to blow up the team, but before we remove BG from GM position, let’s keep in him in place while Gauthier and him come up with the new Smurf plan. Bob “resigns” a few months later but still sticks around…. and fast fwd, here we are. Molson has to find his balls and pull the trigger a few times on a few things as the article suggests (Gomez, PG, Timmins etc.).. Maybe my interpretation is a bit simplistic and naive, but hey doesn’t matter right now. There’s no leadership on this team right now.

    Anyways, have a great weekend yall! and thx to Boone and co. for the continued entertainment.

  40. Curtis O Habs says:

    Entertaining essay. Have to disagree on the Trevor Timmons point. His draft choices are good. It is the player development that is bad. I do not know what the stats are but Trevor Timmons could have the most draft choices currently playing in the NHL. I`m sure one of you will look it up for me. Thanks.

  41. manu07 says:

    Wait a second. He’s not quite 6 feet tall. NEVERMIND

  42. Bun E. Laroque says:

    Its about time this team had a terrible year. They’ve been mediocre for way too long, camouflaged by some stellar goaltending and the odd hot hand. I recall when the Habs were a dominant team and they played exciting hockey, prior to becoming so focussed on a “defensive” style of play. Boring. If a team is going to rebuild, really sucking is a good place to start. I’m glad Martin is gone. His team was boring to watch. Cunneyworth has done all right with what little he has to work with. Gauthier is a public relations disaster and he has definitely been scrambling, but not all his moves have been bad. A lot of them seem to have been made with the future in mind. Everyone seems to want to blame Gomez for where the Habs are at but he is just one player. Leave Subban alone. He is irritating but that is his style. He is a good hockey player and its hard to carry the hopes and dreams of every Montreal Canadiens fan on your back when you’re a twenty two year old kid. Good riddance Cammelleri, one dimensional player, smooth talking bull$#!t artist press whore.

  43. manu07 says:

    Watching leafs(puke) vs sabers. Roy is all over the ice. Heard he may be on the chopping block in BUF. Maybe we can try to make a run for him….

  44. otter649 says:

    Watched Sportsnet tonight with Sportsnet Montreal reporter Louis Jean hosting & has Damien Cox and Scott Morrison on to analyze or comment on The Montreal/Calagary trade and other stuff going on in Montreal what joke since Jean knows first hand the situation while the other two Toronto centric clowns especialy Cox get their info off twitter & message boards etc rather amuzing…

  45. RetroMikey says:

    Like I have always said, this team has dark and misery years ahead if we don’t do something quickly by tanking and rebuilding.
    Even if we were to make the playoffs, this team needs new blood and bigger grittier players in today’s ugly NHL.
    Can everyone now see the day of light and notice we are going nowhere with this club of ours?
    Even with MArkov or Gionta back, the team is still very weak and fragile.

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

    • matt jordan says:

      Unfortunately no.
      Some people still think Gomez is a positive influence on this franchise, and Markov’s “imminent” return will turn the season around.

    • powdered toastmann says:

      Can’t believe I’m saying this (especially given that we just got a new big screen TV) but I think the Habs are pretty safely entrenched in a non-playoff position (probably for the good considering the mess this team is in) and we won’t be watching them after April fools day. (thanks Goat)

      It seems that we’re being delusional debbies if we think that the return of a fragile, skilled but kinda soft, over 30 yr. old defence man that hasn’t played in a game situation literally in years will magically catapult us into the play-offs and dreamer’s contention.


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