Back to work

Cunneyworth
Your Montreal Canadiens practice Monday in Brossard as they prepare to resume a difficult season.
Tuesday night, the team rides a five-game losing streak into Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, where they will face the surprising Senators.

Red Fisher on the challenges ahead

Pat Hickey on the Florida road trip

Jack Todd’s open letter to Geoff Molson

Dave Stubbs on Christmases past

Q&A with Serge Savard

152 Comments

  1. Canayens says:

    I can’t really hear what Jeremy says, because I’ve got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears.

  2. Canayens says:

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    I can’t really hear what Jeremy says, because I’ve got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears.

  3. Canayens says:


    I can’t really hear what Jeremy says, because I’ve got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears.

  4. Canayens says:


    I can’t really hear what Jeremy says, because I’ve got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears.

  5. Canayens says:

    I can’t really hear what Jeremy says, because I’ve got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears.

  6. Canayens says:

    I can’t really hear what Jeremy says, because I’ve got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears.

  7. Canayens says:

    Test text.

    I can’t really hear what Jeremy says, because I’ve got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears.

  8. Canayens says:


    I can’t really hear what Jeremy says, because I’ve got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears.

  9. Canayens says:

    testing 123

    I can’t really hear what Jeremy says, because I’ve got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears.

  10. Rickly33 says:

    If this was Kirk muller I don’t think anyone would be having this conversation,

  11. Natty-Dread says:

    I don’t post often, but I’d really like to find out what people think here on two quick points:

    Everyone talks about the ‘cultural’ significance of the Montreal Canadiens. What does that mean anymore?
    IMHO the power hockey and the Canadiens held in Quebec was that the rink was the great equalizer. Quebec’s position as a minority province was made more tenable by the fact that the province produced phenomenal athletes, and constantly won championships. They also had bold and ruthless management. Therefore, the Canadiens were only really ‘culturally significant’ because they represented a culture of winning in Quebec. If the team had constantly stunk, they would have faded into obscurity.
    Despite the priority selection the Habs had in drafting french Canadians, the teams management were unafraid of going out to get anglophone stars – because they knew that winning was more important than anything else.
    I am really interested to hear what you guys think.

    AND: Detroit is one of the worst places in America to live, and yet they have had very few problems drafting, developing, attracting, and retaining top level talent (in all positions in the organization). The city has been devastated by urban decay, pervasive crime and violence, staggering unemployment, capital flight, etc. – none of these things have deterred them from icing a consistently competitive team for 20+ years. How is it, then, that the scary francophone media, and high taxes, are enough to deter great players from wanting to live here, and force us to drastically overpay and coddle those that do?

    If the logic that this team can be mediocre without fear of a meaningful loss in revenue actually holds true, than they should also be able to completely ignore the language debate to build a winner – without fear of a meaningful loss in revenue. A winning Habs team will always pay homage to its francophone roots and surroundings, regardless of the teams main language.
    Again, IMHO…

  12. Boomer says:

    “This is important, because no part of this is Cunneyworth’s fault. He’s an honourable man who is very well prepared to be a coach anywhere in the NHL – except Montreal”
    quote from the letter to geoff molson…
    This my friends is why mtl will NEVER attract top notch talent, and we will settle for mediocrity for a long time, until this mentality changes. Politics and language are gonna be the end of this franchise.

    Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/Memo+Montreal+Canadiens+owner+Geoff+Molson+fire+Gauthier/5909649/story.html#ixzz1hfuG1kxt

    Boom baby!

  13. Strummer says:

    Pierre McGuire as a GM is not all that outrageous.

    He could’t be any worse than Houle or Grundman.

    McGuire was an assistant coach under Bowman- not a bad start in a player development learning capacity.
    Additionally his broadcasting career has kept him well connected to players, scouts, coaches and GM’s and he has probably watched more hockey than almost anyone.

    He probably makes as much money as a GM but has job security and little scrutiny and that’s why it would never happen.

    ______________________________________________________

  14. gloveside says:

    I am so sick of this crap about the Habs needing a french coach. How many french coaches did the Expos have? The Als? The Impact? Why no whining about that? This team is no longer “The Flying Frenchmen”. Can the present coach communicate effectively with them? That is all that should matter. If the entire team was made up of only uni-lingual Swedes, I could care less, as long as they were a successful, hard-working team.

    • HardHabits says:

      Nobody in Quebec cares less what you think either. However, what people in Quebec think is more important than what you think with regards to the Montreal Canadiens, as they are the paying customer.

      Racist would be wanting a coach that was born in Quebec of French stock.

      Nobody is saying that.

      • First of all, the people who disagree with you are not racists. secondly, Quebec is not a “race”. Thirdly, being a proud Quebecker who happens to speak English makes me no less of a Quebecois than you, my friend. And lastly, where would we find a french speaking coach unless he was from Quebec (or an Ontario border city). You’d be OK with a Parisian coach? The people where are frustrated because the only thing that is important is winning. Adding language to it just cuts the list of possible candidates by 90%.

        • HardHabits says:

          Bob Gainey, born in Peterborough, Ontario. Did anybody say anything when Gainey was coach?

          All Quebeckers want is for people to make the effort speaking French.

          As for the race card. Look below for those who are calling Quebeckers racists. It isn’t I who brought that up.

  15. RetroMikey says:

    I still believe that Ken Dryden will be coming back to Montreal in a management position to clean up the mess by PG and Bobby and what the heck is Boivin Jr. director of hockey operations? He needs to go as well.

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

  16. HardHabits says:

    People in Quebec want a bilingual coach.

    For this they are branded as racists.

    Pot meet kettle.

    • showey47 says:

      Personally all i want to see is RC get a fair shot to see if he can coach this team and if successful get a chance to learn the language in the off season. Is that not fair?

      • HardHabits says:

        That is very reasonable. It shows empathy. I also see your point as a Habs fan wanting the best coach available regardless of language. That is legitimate. What isn’t, and I am not suggesting you are part of this, is to suggest that the call for the coach to be able to speak French as being racist.

      • Can’t believe I’m saying this but I agree with Chris Nilan’s assessment. Cunneyworth, and the Habs PR department could not have messed this up more. Remember the cheers Gionta got for speaking some of the abysmal frenc I’ve ever heard? Why? Because he tried. And I truly believe most Montrealers only want someone who will accord them respect and make an effort. WOuld it have been so hard for Cunneyworth to read a prepared statement in French? Habs are missing Lalonde big time and they have nobody to blame for this nonsense but themselves.

        • habsfan0 says:

          I agree. All Cunneyworth had to do at press conference was to read from a prepared statement. “Bonjour. Je m’appelle Randy Cunneyworth et je suis le nouveau instructeur du Canadien de Montreal.” That would have appeased a lot of people. Very bad PR from Habs management not to have done this.

    • People in Quebec will “accept” a bilingual coach. They “want” a french speaking one. And they’d run him out of town in a week if the team lost 3 straight games. Politics and sports don’t mix. Want to change it? You should have bought the team.

  17. LA Loyalist says:

    Just read Jack Todd’s article (whom many of you hate but I tend to agree with him).

    That said, I reject his a priori, that we have to have a Bi-lingual coach.

    The Year of the Tank ™ is a good chance to tell the hard-core Quebec media that:

    1. They don’t own or run the team. They get to express opinion. Period. We actually have more right than they, similar to shareholders, in that we buy the beer and the merch and the tickets.

    2. The world has changed. Ferrari has had German/Austrian drivers, what other example do you want? Enough already. Go eat some Poutine and calm down.

    3. We have how many French-Canadian players? 3? The Ducks have 3 Finns, should they get a Finn Coach? I don’t think Boudreau speaks Finnish. Neither did he speak Russian.

    It’s ridiculous. The language of hockey is hockey.

    I am sickness unto death of being blackmailed by the hard-core left separatists in Quebec. They are why I don’t live there anymore – and THOUSANDS – like me – think of all the brains that Quebec has lost due to those clowns – I run into Montrealers constantly in LA.

    As to the specific solution, this is Geoff Molson’s chance to get it right. I can live with waiting to the summer to get it right, especially if we get a good draft pick out of it.

    I’m not close enough to it to be able to pick the right GM, I think Gauthier has made some decent moves – and some bad ones. But the architect of our demise, unintended, is Bob Gainey. Again, he had some back luck, who knew that Laraque would turn into a lettuce eater?

    Clear the decks. We have few tradeable players, but let’s trade Cammi, Gionta and whatever Vets we can for picks at the deadline. Bring in the new GM over the summer and then at least we’re giving him a war chest to work with. As for coach’s, that’s the GM’s job, too. But me personally, I would take Carbo back in a heart beat.

    The Year of the Tank ™

    • Ian Cobb says:

      The separatist media continue to think they can intimidate, and they do somewhat. Especially some of the English media, the ones who do not have the balls to stand up to them. That is what enables bullies to be bullies.

      • HardHabits says:

        The separatist media??? It used to be the French media. Ian. Take a friggin’ downer.

        What would Quebec be like if all the cowards had stayed rather than high tailed it out of town.

        Most of the acrimony is on the English side. Pot calling the kettle black for the most part.

        • SPATS says:

          So for having the smarts to realize a no win scenario and looking for (and finding) a much better life for my family, I’m a coward?

          If you can get out, get out. If you can’t, lob silly opinions like yours…

          How about this? You can’t win if you don’t conquer. That would have insured the french/english thing would have been settled back in the day. England didn’t conquer when they could have. The struggle continues to this day. Life is too short.

          OOH AAH – HABS ON THE WARPATH!

          • HardHabits says:

            Anybody can run. You can thank those of us who stayed as we were the ones who tipped the balance last Referendum and saved this country.

            If you want to rant about politics go to the Globe and Mail. You can join the rest of the Quebec bashers there.

      • SPATS says:

        Ian, we’ve tried living there and found greener patures. Let them have their sandbox. It’s full of cat turds anyways.

        OOH AAH – HABS ON THE WARPATH!

  18. HardHabits says:

    Are the WJC’s being streamed and if so can anyone provide the links?

    EDIT: I found the answer here.

    I signed up for an account at http://hockeycanada.fasthockey.com/

    TSN will stream all the Canada games for residents of Canada and it appears that FastHockey will stream the other games for free.

    Woohoo!!!!

  19. VancouverHab says:

    The suggestion that we bring back (a.) Serge Savard (b.) Andre Savard and (c.) Carbo is excellent … except for the facts.

    Andre Savard’s managership was a disaster for the Habs. Carbo’s coaching time was a disaster for the Habs, and Serge Savard…well, that’s retread-ing.

    To bring those dead issues up as solutions (!) take some weird agenda and total lack of foresight and hindsight both.

  20. Ian Cobb says:

    Don Hay and George Burnett are coaching our world juniors. If they bring home gold, they should both be brought home to Montreal. Both men are General managers as well as coaches. I know that George was brought up by his die hard Hab fan father as well.

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      It would be nice to see Gorge Burnett get another NHL coaching job. I saw him coach for many years in Oshawa and if the rumors are true, the reason he was fired from Oilers in the early 90s was because he and Shayne Corson had it out pretty good a few times and the club took the side of their captain.

  21. Ian Cobb says:

    Over 4000 votes, do not care what language the coach speaks, just so long as he wins hockey games.

    Anyone that puts language, religion or color before ability in any business anywhere in our great country, is not only a fool, but should be squashed like a bug that they are!

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      I would love more than anything for the team to catch fire and for Cunneyworth to excel! It is disgusting that the Journal De Montreal and the French media are hoping that the team fails at this point. It’s a joke!!!

    • habsnyc says:

      Read Serge Savard’s rebuttal. If you still feel the same way, go squash him.

      The coach’s job is not just coaching the players. His job includes a leading a manditory press conference after each game. Out of respect to the Franchophone majority and given the cultural significance of hockey in this province, it is entirely reasonable that the coach communicate in French. He does not have to be Francophone, Quebecois or Canadian. It is different than coaching the Expos where there were no qualified Francophone candidates and where the team had no Franchophone heritage or cultural significance.

      Why is it intelligent to piss off the majority of the fan customer base, risking the long term value of the franchise over something so petty? There are plenty of coaches who speak French. Plenty of French speaking coaches win Cups with teams outisde of Quebec. RC is not that good a coach that there are not 10 French speaking coaches with the same qualifications.

      Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

      • ZepFan2 says:

        “It is different than coaching the Expos where there were no qualified Francophone candidates”

        Ahem…Claude Raymond ring a bell?

        ———————————————————————-
        Welcome to the newer NHL: The National Headshot League.

  22. SPATS says:

    Happy Boxing Day fellow HI/O no lifers…

    Watch for a big announcement before we head to Florida. Far too many pure laines down there itching to tell their story and further boil the tempest in the teapot. The situation is untenable. Too much is at stake. We’ve plumbed new depths and the only head that can realistically roll now is Gauthiers. No surprise there.

    Have to agree with Jack Todd on this one but would also insist that Gainey be given a nudge quietly and gracefully out the door as well. Thank him privately for his service and tell him Carbo’s comeback explains it all. Savard (or the recently unemployed MP Dryden?) will step up. Molson may want to step down himself and get out the blow torch to cauterize his self inflicted wounds. He needs to suffer for his immaturity, has he suffered enought yet? Welcome to Canadiens / Quebecois 101 Geoff, do the right thing first. Find a soft landing for the very brave and equally ignorant Cunneyworth. Poor fool had no idea he was going to be instrumental in breaking the thin surface of ice barely containing the raging hot springs boiling beneath. 101 insecure maniacal opportunists with “national” identity are more than happy to drill into the ice for further exploitation, thus, securing a nasty ending we the majority would prefer to see frozen over forever.

    Do it before Harper (who really believes he speaks for the majority of us) steps into the fray unleashing the likes of Baird, Kent and Kenney to fix things… You think the story can’t get worse? Imagine the young unemployed in Quebec having a cause to launch their own “spring” Imagine all the minorities in this melting pot getting in on the action. Social networking has the potential to create a variety of unpleasant outcomes that will quickly spiral who knows where?

    The players are watching. They’re seeing the ugly side of this bi polar community. Better mature quickly Geoff, you may have more cash to lose, but we as a community (currently preaching fiscal responsibility and civility to the rest of the world) have the most to lose sir!

    Do it quickly Geoff, while we’re distracted by shopping and football. Grab the reigns and put your ego back to bed. Too many fools in important positions for this to end well.

    OOH AAH – HABS ON THE WARPATH!

  23. Malreg says:

    In other news, the World Junior Championships open today.

    Canada plays Finland at 3 p.m EST today. Habs players to watch:
    #10 – Michael Bournival
    #12 – Brendan Gallagher
    #28 – Nathan Beaulieu.

    Bournival and Gallagher will be playing on a line together with returnee Quinton Howden. Not sure where that line slots on the depth chart, probably the 4th line.

    Beaulieu is playing on the 3rd pairing with Mark Pysyk, and is also expected to get some powerplay time.

    Team USA plays against Denmark at 8 p.m EST. Jarred Tinordi #24, who was named as an alternate captain for the team, is on the top pairing with Adam Clendening. Lars Eller’s little brother Mads Eller is playing for Denmark.

  24. Mavid says:

    more people on here should be smoking what he has..

    second place is just the first loser

    • Danno says:

      Boone’s mistletoe is the finest smokable.

      It instantly puts you in that plan-the-parade mood

      ________________________________________

      “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  25. Mavid says:

    “No playoffs for these guys – the teams ahead of them are better – get ready for the off season” no they are not..especially ottawa, they may be a “surprise” but they are not very good…this is a very winnable game…
    If I have said it once..i have said it a thousand times..Pierre McQuire is not a smart, or particularly nice man..in fact he is down right creepy..and wierd..he is on the team daily here in ottawa..and he is always blowing smoke up the Sen’s ass’s and bashing the Habs…rarely does he ever have anything good to say..other than his man crush on Price…and that is not to say that I don’t think our faults should be brought up..5 minutes into his interview its clear that he really knows very little and tells the homers what they want to hear…so they will have him back on I guess??..who really cares if Stall’s uncle is the trainer for some team in the middle of nowhere…o

    second place is just the first loser

    • otter649 says:

      Maguire depending which radio station he is on for the most part will complement the city he is in & take shots at other teams although with Montreal TSN990 radio the radio host(s) set up the questions so that they have no choice but to come out negative with the answer since the host(s) are not excactly fans of the past coach & current GM……..

    • habsgod says:

      well scotty bowman highly recommends him for the g.m. job in mtl and bowman knows more about hockey than you and i will ever know in our lifetime! he taught macguire alot i think pierre macguire would make a great g.m. he’d do way better than gauhtier and gainey both did

  26. habsnyc says:

    Todd states the obvious. The coach must be removed immediately to take the microspope off the team. The GM has to be fired for causing these problems.

    In replacing them, it is fire to hire Serge Savard or another interim who will tread water while the team figures out what to do. Carbo is also fine, because he too will be interim.

    That is not to say the season is lost. Butthis team fell off the map over the past 10 games. It was getting worse prior to Martin, but Cunneyworth is getting zero out of his roster and I am not sure it is his fault.

    Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

  27. The returns of Andre Markov and Scott Gomez will mark the beginning of a massive gellin’ of the Habs the likes of which has not been seen since the Spring of 1971!

  28. Bash says:

    The “Leafs with unilingual French speaking coach” analogy is silly. Communicating with players is quite obviously the main issue. The Habs would reject a Spanish only coach as well.

    But what would I know? Like most of the world I choose English as my language for business.

    “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” (anon)

    • Habfan4lfe says:

      This topic is pretty much null man. The media is going to lie left and right and fake things like their polls to show there is more interest in a French coach. Look at the poll here, it’s overwhelming to the fact people don’t believe the coach needs to speak French. Someone posted, oh that’s cuz most people here are English. Ya, well I’m bilingual. Seriously, if you want to see a winning team your best choice right now is another Canadian team.

      I’ve given up on success this year. Not gonna bother with the tanking stuff, who cares if we do tank purposely. A lot of teams like Chicago did the exact same things for years. If a superstar comes along you know that Bettman will call who gets the superstar behind closed doors.

  29. Neutral says:

    Bottom line – this team is not built to win a cup – I’m not even sure they’re built to win games any more – let’s face it they lose more than they win – have you ever seen a team win a cup built like this one – to have a chance to win a cup you have to be a 60-40 team – at best we could be a 50-50 team – so we can dream and complain all we want – this team has to be dismantled – I say keep the players that’s not injury prone who could be used on a 2nd or 3rd line and let the rest go. as far as coaching goes – cunneyworth with the right players given a chance could be the right guy – only time will tell as least give him a chance….

  30. onlychineseguy says:

    I do agree with Jack Todd that Gauthier (and Gainey) have to go ASAP, however please do not recycle old Habs managers and coaches like Savard and Carbo. It’s time to move on from the past, this organization needs new blood and new ideas.

  31. The Cat says:

    Seems to me theres overreaction, if its a crisis now, what if the habs lose the next 2-3 games?

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  32. novahab says:

    As much as I hate to admitt it I have to agree with Mr. Todd. Still here is the problem, if Molson did go that way then the Media in Montreal will be acuse of running the team from the Toronto Media. Molson has himself in a tough spot . Cunneyworth needs a win and the players don’t because with all this mess, they have stop caring. The question is when and what will he do because I don’t think there is a chance in hell of them winning any of the next three games with the status quote.

  33. HardHabits says:

    What kills me is how many people think Tanking™ is a singular event requiring nothing more. Like winning the 6/49 and being on easy street.

    I have to apologize because I am pretty sure I am the one who suggested the Habs need to Tank™ in order to secure high picks.

    I never suggested they needed to throw games or that Tanking™ alone would solve the Habs woes. Tanking™ in my discourse is the relinquishing of the notion that every season the Habs need to put all their eggs in one basket for the play-offs now. They are always scrambling and end up with egg on their faces. The coop has few chickens, the eggs in the basket are small and soft, many are old soon to be past their best before dates.

    Draft early. Draft often. Draft well. Build via the draft.

    Even if the Habs were to follow the Detroit route it would take 4-5 years of solid drafting in the late rounds minimum to build a hopeful contender. Those picks would have to be astounding and furthermore not rushed, as Detroit does.

    People like to use Detroit as an analogy but apart from the 1993 Habs I can not name one other team that has had success with that method.

    What can be determined is that not being a top 5 team in the league leaves little opportunity to go all the way. Not being top 10 leaves virtually no hope at all. The Habs have one top 10 finish since 1994. Their average since then is 16th.

    That is the pattern that has to be broken. In order to see that mountain for what it is one first has to cross the foothill called Tanking™.

    • joeybarrie says:

      our young players are not pathetic you know. They don’t all come from the draft. But we did build. We got great prospects including Eller LeBlanc, DD, PK, Price, MaxPac, and more in the pipe. We still got Pleks, markov (hopefully), AK, and Gorges (whom we didn’t draft but have been working on him for while). This is probably above average for most NHL teams. And we did it without being the worst team in the league for 5 years. For gods sake we want to fire the world for being just out of the playoffs at xmas, how are we gonna let them tank???

      There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

      • ZepFan2 says:

        As for Todd… “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.”

        Yes Jack, let’s hire the same people the so-called pundits ran out of town the first time around.

        Then again, it doesn’t really matter what I think, I’m not a real fan, I’m an Anglophone.
        ———————————————————————-
        Welcome to the newer NHL: The National Headshot League.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      You mixed a lot of metaphors there. A veritable omelet metaphor.

    • In a hard salary cap environment, you have to take a cyclical view of things. When your team is clearly not a contender, you save money and acquire as many high draft picks as you can. Front that point, you develop the youngsters while not laying out too much scratch in salary. Once you have a solid core in hand, you start using the open cap space to add veteran elements necessary for a solid run at the hardware. You employ this approach until you are once again over the hill and start sending guys elsewhere for picks to add to the ones you will get by finishing low in the regular season standings. We can go back and forth as to how long the cyclical sections should last, but there is your formula for success in the current NHL.

  34. joeybarrie says:

    So jack todd’s genius solution to a crisis is to bring in Andre Savard. The last GM to have the Habs miss 4 playoffs out of 5 seasons. What did Savard even do for this team? Savard thought having players like Perreault would make us a playoff team. Bringing in 5 foot 8 Donald audette. Then the next season bringing in czerkawski. This is jack todd’s saviour??? Oh yeah, he signed Juneau…
    Sergei support scores 26 goals for us and Andre trades him for chad kilger… No wait didn’t he bring in Andreas dackell. Brilliant move. Not bad for a trade 7th round pick. But these were his moves to make this team great. Bring back Andre savard. And this guy gets paid to write this crap.
    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

    • Mark C says:

      It’s a silly article, hey let’s fix this mess by bringing back a) past failures, and/or b) guys who have been out of hockey for decades.

      Now Todd’s advocating firing/demoting multiple coaches/management members on Boxing day, weeks after ranting about Pierre “the Grinch” firing Martin before the holidays. Is it too much to ask Todd to be consistent within his own arguments?

  35. RetroMikey says:

    Great article by Red Fisher, whether you hate him or love him, Red knows more about Habs than anyone of us and what needs to be done to save our pathetic team from misery for years to come.

    As for Jack Todd, you forgot to insert Fire Gainey, Fire Timmins as well!

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

    • Mark C says:

      Timmins has a well above average draft record, who would you offer up to replace him?

      • showey47 says:

        I think it was posted on this very site that since the timmins draft era the habs have more draft picks playing in the nhl then any team in the league. The problem has never been drafting,its been developing and maximizing its assets. But then again its hard to get return for guys like sergei kostitsyn or d’agostini when JM feels they can’t earn a regular spot in the lineup over tom pyatt or darche.

      • RetroMikey says:

        Jim Nill from Detroit, the guy has the knack to find talent and draft very smart.

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

    • dr. gesundheit says:

      Agree. Despite the criticism he receives on HIO, i.e. old/out of touch/negative etc etc, he knows what he’s talking about.

      Enough with the band-aid/recycling approaches which seem to include the hiring of former Habs players as GMs and coaches. Except this downturn re team quality as an opportunity for change. I admit that a turnaround is always possible, but considering the Hab’s position in the standings and the number of teams they would have to pass, let’s get a grasp on reality and realize that the chances are slim.

      At this moment Molson should be deferreing to a hopefully select, trusted, knowledgeable group of hockey minds within/connected to the organization which should be giving careful consideration to the options available to them re the ultimate GM, Coach, and yes, head scout for the near future.

    • habsgod says:

      RETRO YOU WANT TIMMINS FIRED1 ARE YOU CRAZY! HIS DRAFT RECORD IS BETTER THAN ANYBODY WE HAD BEFORE HIM IF YOU FIRE HIM SOME OTHER TEAM WILL BENEFIT AND WE’LL BE STUCK WITH ANOTHER MARTIN MADDEN TYPE OR SOMEBODY LIKE THAT AND WE’LL END UP WITH LINDSAY VALLISS’S AND TURNER STEVENSON’S THEIR WILL BE NO PACIORETTY’S SUBBANS PRICE’S ETC…. ALL DRAFTED UNDER TIMMINS!

  36. Hobie Hansen says:

    I think Jack Todd’s article makes some valid points but even with everything that is going on, the season isn’t lost just yet. We’re 6 points out of the playoffs with 60% of the season to go.
    We could win our next 2 games and be right there and win 7 of the next 10 and be in 6th spot.

    • habs001 says:

      Most games the last two years and even this year have looked the same..the difference has been not scoring the key goal in the third or o/t…i been saying this for the last 2 years the habs can beat any team in a series but they can be beaten by any team also..their playing style comes down to a few plays and breaks in most games..they had been getting those more the previous 2 years than this year…if the habs win 6 in a row it will not be because they are suddenly a better team but that they are getting the breaks…

  37. naweed235 says:

    I know I am probably one of the few that still believes these guys can turn it around, but you I still have faith in them. If I learned anything from this bunch in the last couple of years is that they are fighters and they will never quit. We have to realize that they are playing without their #1 Dman, Captain and as much as you probably hate to admit it one of the leaders in Gomez. The way i see it, in all the games they lost, they were never outclassed for the exception of maybe 2 or 3 games and having those guys in the line up probably would’ve made a difference. I don’t believe in this whole TANK crap unless there is a Syd the 2nd coming to be grabbed which is sadly not the case.
    Long story short, if you ask me, they’ll pull out a 7 or 8 winning streak out of their behinds pretty soon and get back in the race…
    Don’t forget we had the same amount of points 2 yrs ago at this point of the season. Plus realistically speaking, I have a hard time believing that Toronto, Ottawa, Winipeg and NJ will finish ahead of us this season…

    • joeybarrie says:

      to be honest. We can pull it out. But our strengths used to be veteran defense and a system to help Carey save our low scoring team. Our injuries to our captain, the over rated but highly skilled homer and our best player. We don’t have enough in the tank right now to go the rest of the season like this. Unless markov, gio, and Gomez hit the ice soon, our season is sunk.
      martin may not have been an exciting coach or a whatever else you want to say he did a good job with minimal players. And to change that mid season for an inexperienced assistant was the wrong move. Can’t get past the first round. Should have fired him then for Muller or wait it out.
      without a solid PP, and questionable defense we are sunk. Mistake to let Hamr go too. PK is just barely past being a rookie, and we are using him the most. Not particularly genius.

    • RetroMikey says:

      I still think we have more issues with players like Cammy, Gionta, Pleks, Gill than the young ones on this team.
      “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  38. gumper says:

    Molson has painted himself into a corner. If he makes more changes before the end of the season, he will be demonstrating that he makes his decisions based on the opinions of the media wretches in Montreal. If he stands pat, the Habs will almost certainly be on the outside looking in come playoffs. If he fires Gauthier, again, he looks like he is the puppet of the media, plus he is left scrambling, looking for a long-term G.M. on an accelerated agenda. If he hangs on to Gauthier, he goes into the trade deadline and the draft with a guy who has demonstrated his incompetence at the position. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. Shows a certain lack of foresight in a position which calls for a great deal of it. Despite all this, I have to agree with Jack Todd, that searching for a new G.M. is the starting place. However, I do not agree with the interim suggestion of Serge Savard for the position. If Gauthier is a lame duck G.M. then we already have an interim one of those. Let’s find the right guy now, and start the rebuild from the top down.

    • JF says:

      Agree, but I have no idea who the right guy would be. But you’re right that the rebuild starts from the top down. The only member of the current organization I would leave in place is Trevor Timmins.

  39. tippytoes says:

    Earlier someone mentioned Savards’s draft record…the following players weren’t mentioned:
    -Roy
    -Richer
    -C.Lemieux
    -Leclair
    -Schnieder
    -Svoboda
    To name a few

  40. rogieshan says:

    Thanks, Jack Todd. Because you asked for it, it won’t happen now.

  41. habs001 says:

    The habs survived the last two years with their lack of scoring but this year it has caught up to them…I was hoping that camm would have a big year…Who would have predicted that at Christmas kessel and lupol have more goals combined than gomez,eller,dd,camm,plecks,gion,darche and pk…

  42. Mr_MacDougall says:

    To the people that say “tank” Explain how this could be accomplished… do you wish to unload win producers such as Price?

    I remember reading a post that suggested a “slow burn” that would take approx 2-3 years, allowing the un-tradeable contracts to expire while trading our “stars” such as Gionta, Cammi, Pleks. I like this option.. only sign UFA’s that are top 10 in the NHL at their respective position.

    • rogieshan says:

      Our “stars” have no-movement clauses in their contracts which makes them virtually “un-tradeable”, unless the team is willing to take a serious loss in return.

      Slow burn or rebuilt, call it what you will, but that’s never been an option for this franchise. We’re talking about the Habs here.

      • 24 Cups says:

        “Slow burn or rebuild, call it what you will, but that’s never been an option for this franchise. We’re talking about the Habs here.”

        Ah, there’s the rub. The Hab franchise is too high and mighty to consider such options. After all, we’re the Habs.

        That’s the first hurdle this team needs to get past. We’re no longer the Habs of old, we really haven’t been for close to two decades. Our past legacy is now no longer a sense of pride, but rather an albatross that hangs over the team and keeps it from truly moving forward.

        It’s not a question of passing along the torch, but rather a question of trying to find it.

        • rogieshan says:

          But is it a collective hurdle we (the team, fans, media) all must pass? I think the onus is on more than just the current management, although I agree it has to start at the top.

        • HardHabits says:

          Cornelius agrees with Dr. Zaius.

          • ZepFan2 says:

            “Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!”

            ———————————————————————-
            Welcome to the newer NHL: The National Headshot League.

        • JF says:

          Steve – the whole philosophy of the organization needs to change. The goal every year is to make the playoffs, with the idea that once you do that, “anything can happen.” The organization should instead set the longer-term goal of building a team that can contend every year for the Cup. Looked at in the right light, the present disastrous situation offers an opportunity to do just that. But thinking needs to change before that can happen. And patience will be needed. We give up too quickly on young players and coaches.

    • boonie says:

      I think “tank” means trading our: (i) older, high priced/low production guys to teams, gunning for playoff success, where they can upgrade a lesser role than they currently fill for us; or (ii) guys entering UFA years who we are unlikely to sign (tanguay, Komi, Sakura, etc.)

      For example, trade cammi to team that needs and is willing to gamble that he can regain scoring touch on the second line second with an set-up centerman unschackled of tedious defensive responsibilities.

      Other “tank” candidates from category (i) may include: gionta, gill, Gomez (hey, the rangers could take him and will bury him in the A if he doesn’t revert to form), kabs,

      Category (ii) guys could include: gorges, ak47, moen, campolli,…

      The incoming picks and prospects are the pieces that bolster a young core of plecs, patches, prices, PK, etc.

      It hurts to live through bad seasons. It would be nice if it wasn’t for naught.

  43. Hobie Hansen says:

    As will be completely evident over the course of the WJHC, the Canadiens do have some pretty good prospects. Tinordi, Beaulieu, Gallagher and Bournival.

    You’d figure they’ll all be playing in Hamilton next season, I think, maybe with a few call ups to Montreal and most of them making the team by following season?

    Unfortunately, the Habs are stuck with some big contracts until the 2014/15. Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri and now Kaberle.

    So I think we’ll just have to sit tight and hope for the best until the 2014/15 season when those bad contracts are gone, and are replaced with a better group of UFAs and all the young players I mentioned are hitting their strides.

    • habs001 says:

      Many other teams that are better than us now have prospects that are just as good as ours if not better…it will not be easy to surround our prospects with quality nhl players…

    • Strummer says:

      I wish people would stop lumping Kaberle’s contract in with those other 3 atrocities.

      Kaberle’s easier to unlaod than the other 3 @ $4.25 miilion.

      All he cost us was Spach

      ______________________________________________________

  44. HabFanSince72 says:

    Savard mentions that the Habs have given up on Quebec (cites the example of Claude Giroux, who was top scorer in the Q the year he was drafted).

    So I looked at Savard’s draft record 1984-1995.

    1984: Svoboda, Corson.
    1985: Jose Charbonneau, Tom Chorske
    1986: Mark Pederson
    1987: Andrew Cassels
    1988: Eric Charron
    1989: Lindsay Vallis
    1990: Turner Stevenson
    1991: Brent Bilodeau
    1992: David Wilkie
    1993: Saku Koivu
    1994: Brad Brown
    1995: Terry Ryan

    Three points:

    1. The disastrous WHL fetish started on his watch.
    2. Did not obviously prefer Quebec players.
    3. Drafted poorly.

    • rogieshan says:

      I know you’re not one, but I’m tired of the critics of this team who keep using Claude Giroux as an example why we’re failing. Not only was he passed over by twenty other teams before getting selected, but he wasn’t even the first Quebec junior picked (Derrick Brassard and Jonathan Bernier were). Furthermore, most pre-draft analyses had him pecked at in the 2nd or 3rd round. And when Bobby Clarke announced the pick at the podium, he had no clue what his name was; I believe Simon Nolet, his chief scout in Quebec, was the only reason the Flyers chose Giroux.

      • boonie says:

        Here’s the thing about giroux or other qmjhl prospects… If you want them on the Habs, you have to grab them. Usually earlier than they would go. We may have grabbed the wrong one that year, but without lots of picks, we can’t swing for the francophone fences.

        The NHL understood this — giving us the two best q players each year. To make this strategy work, we need all our picks and more. Te league isn’t going to hand us picks anymore (mor should they), so our next GM will need to trade FOR picks to trade them away for Mara, sopel, upgrade to tinordi, Lang, tanguay, etc.

        Winning is great. Grafting on a french element requires a top down approach that we have not shown in a long, long time.

      • HabFanSince72 says:

        “I believe Simon Nolet, his chief scout in Quebec, was the only reason the Flyers chose Giroux.”

        Who was our chief scout in Quebec that year?

        We didn’t have one.

      • Strummer says:

        Hindsight 20/20.

        For every Giroux there’s a Latenders/Pouliot

        ______________________________________________________

    • boonie says:

      1984 – richer in round 2, Roy in round 3
      1985 – brings in Perron as HC
      1986 – lots of picks, brunet in round 2; side note, you need lots of picks to be successful with a geo-centric draft strategy. Gauthier trading picks for rentals forces the team to take the best available player (which is fine but inconsistent with a Francophone strategy)

      If we keep going, you will find he added turgeon, savard, Signed up drafted f/a Stephan lebeau, won 2 cups, …

      Success and French Canadian leadership in net, up front, at coach, in the front office. Happy times.

      Ps. I’m an Anglo-canadian who lives in the US and even I can appreciate his track record.

  45. 24 Cups says:

    A line comprised of Skinner, Nugent-Hopkins and Seguin would surely turn the Habs around. I’d even settle for Sean Couturier and Ryan Johansen.

    Why do I mention these five kids?

    Because they are all ‘age eligible’ to play for Team Canada in the WJC this week. Amazing.

  46. The Cat says:

    I dont believe teams purposelly tank, I cant imagine players lessening their stock just because they dont like the coach.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

    • Danno says:

      Some do. For example, the early Senators tanked their first seasons on purpose.

      ________________________________________

      “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  47. LL-not the hockey player says:

    24/7, what an enlightening show, and highly entertaining.

    Laviolette thinks officials in Montreal favour the Habs – yeah riiight
    His favourite guy is “Hartsy”

    Torts is a very nice man, and appreciated by his team.
    Gaborik…”He isn’t going around the bushes” lol

    Bryz is weird.
    Briere and Giroux have broken up and Briere is now dating Couturier. (JOKE)

    Anisimovs’ goal celebration and ensuing kerfuffle, hilarious.

    • Jim Edson says:

      Laviolette has obviously had little exposure to Chris Lee or Tim Peel!
      They inspire that type of reaction wherever they are!

      ———————————————————————-
      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.

  48. HabFanSince72 says:

    Problems with tanking.

    The first pick is almost always a future franchise player. However, such is not the case for picks 3 and 4 and below.

    Here are the number 3 picks for 2000-2008

    Zach Bogosian
    Kyle Turris
    Jonathan Toews
    Jack Johnson
    Cam Barker
    Nathan Horton
    Jay Bouwmeester
    Aleksandr Svitov
    Marian Gaborik

    Only one or maybe two franchise players. A few busts.

    How about #4 picks?

    Evander Kane
    Thomas Hickey
    Nick Backstrom
    Benoit Pouliot
    Andrew Ladd
    Nik Zherdev
    Joni Pitkanen
    Stephen Weiss
    Rostislav Kesla
    Pavel Brendl

    Most of these guys aren’t even playing for the team that drafted them, and none are franchise players.

    So tanking for a guaranteed first pick might make sense but otherwise it is probably not a very good strategy.

    • G-Man says:

      Losing on purpose is hogwash. Losing for 3 or 4 years in a row on purpose for picks is nuts. The whole management team in Montreal would be taken out behind the woodshed to be switched for days. If any Hab fans accept the practice, they are believing in the Pens and Hawks road to success and are discounting all the failed teams that have tanked for picks.

    • 24 Cups says:

      The only time I remember a team losing on purpose was when Pittsburgh went after Mario.

      Tanking? I think there have been teams that have decided to totally rebuild through a teardown approach. I have no problem with that. Chicago, St Louis and LA would be prime examples.

      Then there is just total ineptitude. Edmonton, Florida and Columbus come to mind. MacLean and Lowe being two of the worst GMs of the past twenty years.

      And then there’s the Islanders. A team that proves a toxic mix of a bungling general manager PLUS a foolish owner is a recipe for never ending disaster (feel free to switch the adjectives).

  49. tippytoes says:

    Would someone be able to translate Serge Savard’s comments from the French article.

    • DorvalTony says:

      Most of it is about which hair products he uses.

      ——————————–
      “Okay, everybody take a Valium.”

    • G-Man says:

      Copy and go to google. Use the “More” feature to find the translator. Not perfect, but ok.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      Savard’s main points:

      1. Habs are now a monopoly in Quebec. 10 yr waiting list for season tickets. No ‘Diques. Means they don’t have to try as hard.

      2. They should have anticipated the French language kerfuffle. He agrees that the coach should speak some French but not necessarily be a Quebecois.

      3. They’ve lost their way since he was fired. (Well, hard to argue there.)

      4. Sucks up to the Molsons, repeatedly.

      5. In reply to “would you take on the GM position in Montreal?” he says he isn’t looking for a job and he’s moved on.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Right click, click on “Translate with Live Search”. Wait a minute or two as it takes a while to load. Be patient.

      It’s not perfect but you’ll get the heart of what the writer is trying to say.

  50. Danno says:

    I’d just like to point out that we have exactly the same amount of points (33 after 36 games) as we did in the 2009-10 season where we squeaked into the playoffs and made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.

    http://canadiens.nhl.com/club/teamseasoncomparison.htm

    ________________________________________

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  51. Neutral says:

    No playoffs for these guys – the teams ahead of them are better – get ready for the off season – a lot of these players I don’t want to see in a Habs uniform again – too small, too soft, and worst of all injury prone which means they won’t play tough for fear of re-injury
    not the type of players you want on a team seeking a 25th cup – we need more players like Boston that can grind it out with any team and don’t be surprise if they repeat in 2012 they have the complete team.

  52. New says:

    I liked the Senator’s remark about Giroux. Who makes these decisions really? Is it Andre Savard, the GM, Youpii!?

    Every team has it’s ups and downs. One minute the Flyers are the next coming, the next they are also rans again. The Bruins were in a post-cup slump but are now tearing up the league. But the Canadiens, at 13 wins and 23 losses, make some strange decisions. Firing a coach on Saturday morning without a plan? Come on!

    That is panic, pure and simple panic. The players know it. The fans know it. The media would as well if they’d get off the language issue for a moment and think. Campoli, a journeyman reserve D, gets a shot at a top four why exactly? He gets talked up like he will make it all better? Why exactly? 29 other teams were wrong to pass on Campoli? Great, the team has the most astute management ever. Yeah, right.

    It will take a great coach to save the GM’s job. I hope he has one in his pocket.

    • DorvalTony says:

      Yeah it’s all Chris Campoli’s fault. What is he, the new Breezeby or MAB? Blame Gainey and Gauthier. Period.

      ——————————–
      “Okay, everybody take a Valium.”

      • jimmy shaker says:

        MAB will be back soon enough folks, then all will be well again. Campoli is a bum and a waste of skin out there, hamilton or waivers is where he belongs. All I know is he gave the puck away to burrows in game 7 to send the canucks through in last years dance!

        Shaker

  53. HankHardball says:

    The Habs’ goose is cooked. They’re the turkey of the season.

    Playoffs? What playoffs?

  54. HabinBurlington says:

    While I agree much with Mr. Todd’s letter, the fact he starts it with a completely Hypothetical comparison of the Toronto Maple Leafs hiring a unilingual French speaking coach is ridiculous. Actually Mr. Todd fails to see the comparison already in place where the Leafs have an American GM, Head Coach and Asst. Coaches. There was some furor over this, but nothing compared to the outrage in Montreal. And by the way that American Head Coach was just given an extension and they have still yet to make playoffs under his leadership.

    Also these suggestions of Pierre McGuire as a GM are beyond ridiculous. Can someone please show me what he has done to deserve such a job. And don’t throw out Asst. Coach for the Penguins, he isn’t even officially listed as an Asst. Coach on those teams, he was a scout for them at best, most likely he sprayed WD-40 on the hinges of the bench door to make sure Jagr and Lemieux could get on the ice as fast as possible.

    • Ref McGuire;

      I like the guy, but there has to be a reason he hasn’t worked in hockey for decades. I mean, not even international stage. So in my opinion McGuire is not even in the running in any management.

      Freakin 5 degrees today. My rink is being destroyed. This is Mb for God Sakes!

      Next topic;

      Canadiens are sitting at pick number 6. I’d rather them make the playoffs then a top ten pick. I’m guessing the finush the season at 8th in the conf, and knock out Boston in the first round.

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

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      Hey Burli – Merry Xmas

      One point of disagreement. The Leafs having an American isn’t the same thing. The Habs controversy is complicated by the fact that while there are some people in Quebec who want an ethnically Quebecois coach, the issue really is language and not ethnicity in my opinion. Even a separatist like Rejean Tremblay would agree. The language issue is magnified because, right or not, Quebecois feel that French in Quebec is always possibly threatened. Having a unilingual Leafs coach therefore wouldn’t even compare since no one would argue that it was another example of the English language under threat.

      The other point I think is that if one brought in some sort of genius hockey wizz who did not speak French it would be one thing. But if you’re giving the job to Randy Cunneyworth it is hard to argue he was the best possible candidate. He was just convenient.

      Personally I think way too much importance is being accorded to this. The coach is just the guy who selects the 19 out of 21 players in the starting lineup each game, keeps them somewhat focused, and gives clichés to interviewers. Not a position of such importance, unless he’s incompetent.

      • DorvalTony says:

        See, again you’re saying only French Canadians are Quebeckers which is total and utter tbullshi. English Quebeckers and Allophones are every bit as much Quebeckers as Pur Laines. Every bit.

        ——————————–
        “Okay, everybody take a Valium.”

      • Phil C says:

        If you ignore his ability to speak French, Randy Cunneyworth should be on the short list of coaching candidates, especially if you want to go with a new generation coach instead of a recycled ex-NHL coach. Show me a list of candidates that can match or exceed these credentials: – 8 years of experience coaching at the AHL level, including winning AHL Coach of the Year in 2005; brought Bulldogs to the third round last year; two years experience as
        an assistant in the NHL not including this year; a former Captain in the NHL and 35 goal scorer, known for his tenacious work ethic both as a player and a coach. To say he is just the convenient choice is not doing justice to RC’s pedigree; he deserves more respect than that. Lost in the language debate is that RC is a pretty damn-good choice.

    • G-Man says:

      I’ve wanted Carbo and Savard back since they were fired. Let McGuire rot on that vine called NBC sports. Imagine, leaving TSN for a network that no one watches hockey on except for 1 New Year’s day game per year.

    • Strummer says:

      MaGuire as a GM is not all that outrageous.

      He could’t be any worse than Houle or Grundman.

      Maguire was an assistant coach under Bowman- not a bad start in a player development learning capacity.
      Additionally his broadcasting career has kept him well connected to players, scouts, coaches and GM’s and he has probably watched more hockey than almost anyone.

      He probably makes as much money as a GM but has job security and little scrutiny and that’s why it would never happen.
      ______________________________________________________

  55. j2w4habs25 says:

    With all the bad news coming from the Habs – I am saying good bye for a week and turning to the World Juniors – atleast i know the 3 future Habs there will be winning some games! but in the mean time Lets hope for a 3-0-0 6pt report card by week end.

    AND the next coach MUST speak FRENCH!

    Carey Price #31

  56. j2w4habs25 says:

    NO HABS NO!…

    Carey Price #31

  57. Castor says:

    What’s the freaking point?


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