Canadiens ranked No. 111 by ESPN The Magazine


ESPN The Magazine has come out with its 2012 Ultimate Team Rankings in which it ranks all 122 pro franchises in the NHL, MLB, NFL and NBA based on eight categories:

1. Bang For The Buck

2. Fan Relations

3. Ownership

4. Affordability

5. Stadium Experience

6. Players

7. Coaching

8. Title Track

The Canadiens didn’t do too well, coming in at No. 111, but it was even worse for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who ranked dead-last at No. 122.

Here’s what Max Clinger of ESPN wrote about the Canadiens: “After the disastrous year the Canadiens just suffered, fans were undoubtedly upset: ‘One stupid decision after another’ ‘No vision’; ‘Physiologically unfit to have success’; and ‘Clinging to the hope that they can succeed despite their coach’ were just a few of the comments found on the Habs blog Eyes on the Prize. At the heart of this PR debacle were coach Jacques Martin (the Habs had the worst coaching score in the NHL and the second worst in all of sports) and GM Pierre Gauthier, who committed the faux pas of replacing Martin with a non-French speaking coach midseason. Gauthier was then was let go himself while the Canadiens were on their way to missing the playoffs – the first time in four seasons. Though a young core of talented players (see Max Pacioretty) offers hope, the storied fan base has a hard time seeing it after their team finished with the third-worst record in the league. They are also down on stadium experience, which dropped 52 points in a single year, something usually reserved for major structural disasters (like the one at the Nassau Coliseum). It doesn’t help that Canadiens fans still have the third-most expensive ticket prices in the NHL and the most expensive beer in all of sports. In the offseason, new management sought to make amends by bringing in new/old coach Michael Therrien. Still, in the battle for hearts and minds, the Canadiens have a long way to go.”

And here’s what Peter Keaning of ESPN wrote about the Leafs: “Is it possible to be No. 122 with a bullet? After finishing 120th or 121st in the standings every year from 2008 to 2011, Toronto hiked prices 7.2 percent, cratered to 13th place in the NHL’s Eastern Conference (GM Brian Burke said last season was ‘akin to an 18-wheeler going right off a cliff’) and finally bottomed out in our rankings. The Leafs are like the Yankees – an internationally famous franchise with a glorious history, devoted followers and staggeringly high prices – except they play like the Royals. Even worse, they regularly blow off fans: In our surveys, the Leafs finished dead last among all teams in the categories of player accessibility, staging promotions and giveaways, and engaging fans through social media – a hideous trifecta. And even though the team apologized for its performance in full-page newspaper ads in April, and Bell Canada and Rogers Communications, two of Canada’s biggest media companies, just closed a deal to buy the club, there’s little reason to expect change. The Leafs are by far the most valuable franchise in hockey and last year generated an enormous $81.8 million in profits. Now that’s Loonie.”

The NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder were ranked No. 1, followed by the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies.

The Phoenix Coyotes were the top-rated NHL team at No. 6.

You can see the complete ESPN list and read all about it by clicking here.

(Photo by John Kenney/The Gazette)


  1. nunacanadien says:

    The season last year proves that we are ranked 111. Having mighty midgets Gomez, Gionta and with half the team below 6 foot 2 and less than 210 pounds, no wonder we are where we are. The Habs draft or sign only small players. No wonder we are ranked so low. And this year there were no significant changes. You had tough guy Prust who has less PMI than Subban. How can we sign Prust but not Subban?

  2. English is not a Crime says:

    This is the kind of trash you get when you let the cross dresser from M*A*S*H write sports articles for ESPN (Max Clinger?).

    The truly amusing category is Title Track that rates teams based on the titles the franchise has won. Look up the rankings in that category given to teams such as the Yankees, the Habs and the Lakers then compare those numbers to teams like the Penguins for example and have yourself a good laugh. Don’t take much that you see on ESPN too seriously folks, they have a lot of clueless people over there.

  3. Bripro says:

    At least there was entertaining sport tonight.
    Peyton Manning put on quite a show.
    I’m sure Burly can’t be too happy.

  4. punkster says:

    For no particular reason other than it gets your foot tapping:

    ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  5. mark-ID says:

    Scott Gomez

  6. mark-ID says:

    So the Habs will be the only team not locked out then………sweet, the cup will be ours lol

  7. Dave Stubbs ‏@Dave_Stubbs
    #NHLPA says #NHL cannot legally lock out #Habs since NHLPA is not a union certified by Quebec Labour Board…

  8. Virauge says:

    To point out how accurate the ESPN list is: Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics and Boston Red Socks, all on the list for championships, have a combined total of 4 championships since 1986. Oilers have 4 and Chicago Bulls have 6 since the same year but are ranked lower. Flyers are ranked 62 in the same category and haven’t won a cup since 1975. Islanders have won 4 since then, but are ranked lower. Nobody else fins it funny Phoenix is the highest rank NHL team on the list? LOL

    • Josh says:

      It makes sense when you look at the categories. It’s not just about championships.

      • Virauge says:

        The Wild’s arena is rated as the best stadium experience in the NHL. Montreal’s is rated 16th, behind the empty Phoenix Arena. The loudest, most enjoyable building to play in from the majority of the player’s standpoints is worse than a building with 3000 fans in it a night. Toronto and Edmonton ranked in the bottom 4 of NHL arenas in the same category. You think that category is accurate as well?

      • Virauge says:

        Montreal is 84th in fan relations. You know, the team who talked to nobody about anything. Toronto ranked 119th despite Burke and the maple leafs never shutting up. This in a category for openness and consideration toward fans by players, coaches and management.

  9. HabFab says:

    CBA update;

    Dave_Stubbs #NHLPA says #NHL cannot legally lock out #Habs since NHLPA is not a union certified by Quebec Labour Board…

    On Friday, #Habs players, through a lawyer, sent “cease & desist” order to #Habs & #NHL…

    • Bripro says:

      Thanks Chris.
      Although I’ve found, up until now, that most of this is political posturing, with large corporations being the benefactors.
      Small companies like mine rarely benefit, or just don’t know how to go about it, without being taken.

  10. EasternOntarioHabsFan says:

    look on the bright side: Galchenyuk (our future/hope/#1 center of tomorrow) scored a game winner today!

    any list with the Feninex Kyotees in the top 10 means absaloutly nothing to me.

  11. New says:

    I don’t see the unfair harshness in the ESPN rankings. Mainly they rate the franchise low on the same things the HIO community does. 118 in bang for the buck, fan revenue and wins.116 in affordability, tickets, concessions, and parking. 114 and 121 in player effort and coaching abilities.

    Really. Let’s be honest. The team sucked big time in training camp and the coach was fired and replaced by his inexperienced clone. The GM was canned before the season ended without a replacement in place ( just like the coaching). The prices speak for themselves. I keep thinking of last years Gomez (I’ll be better) in camp and how Gallagher was the hardest working guy in Camp. Gallagher didn’t even score but played in most exhibition games. Gomez was worse than the year before. Cammi declared the air was bad and was traded in the middle of a game – trainers make sure he leaves the sweater?

    Everything else was middle of the pack or so. Except Secrecy (fan relations was about 94th place). How many complained about that? What is ESPN saying that this board hasn’t said? Heck they could be Timo writing under another name.

    Naw man, they just called it like it is. Fans paid too much for too little and now both the owners and players want more.

  12. habs-hampton says:

    The Boston Red Sox are ranked even lower than us! and the Coyotes are ranked 8th?

    This is the most useless poll I’ve ever seen.

  13. Galchenyuk scores goal (game winner) and assist in Sarnia Sting victory today!
    The greatest Canadiens and NHL news-site:
    Twitter: @teliopost

  14. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …I miss Boone 🙁

  15. Sean Bonjovi says:

    Here’s a topics for conversation!

    How about that Awesome CBC cooking show hosted by the pleasant woman (with crazy eyes), and that Awful, Awful CBC cooking show hosted by the french guy that comes on right afterwards?

    How could they air something that makes me so happy then immediately follow it up with something that makes me so angry. Could there possibly be even one single person in the whole country who enjoys the second show with that clown host?

    I mean REALLY????

    • commandant says:

      Its Sunday, you should watch some Football.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

      • Sean Bonjovi says:

        I was a huge Broncos fan from the time I was a little kid until we won those two Superb-owls, then I felt like I had nothing else to prove ; ), and I started losing interest, then St. Louis played the oilers, or the Titans or whatever for the the super-bowl and that cheapened the whole league for me and I lost most interest, then fantasy football became really, really popular and I checked out completely.

  16. frontenac1 says:

    Pfffff(!! Habs 111? Yankee Arseho*ls!!

  17. 1010 says:

    But our jerseys are nice.

  18. sreuel says:

    This list came out Thursday why the delay here ?. Most sports networks have put this out

  19. HardHabits says:

    I am surprised the Habs made the list at all. *ducks for cover*

  20. Great, it looks like HIO is taking my advice and posting some news that can actually be debated instead of birthday wishes to old timers!
    Of course ESPN doesn’t know much about hockey teams but nevertheless I’ll give my two cents on this report.

    The ESPN ranking is based in part on Gauthier’s handling of the team so i wouldn’t worry about it. things have changed dramatically since The Goat was put out to pasture.

    The bumper crop at the 2012 Draft as well as our other prospects put us in a much better position than this ranking gives us credit for.

    By this time next year I predict a huge jump up the ESPN rankings.
    The Leafs on the other hand have serious cause for concern…

    The greatest Canadiens and NHL news-site:
    Twitter: @teliopost

    • JayK-47 says:

      I’m sure they met long into the night to discuss your ideas.

    • Sean Bonjovi says:

      “Great, it looks like HIO is taking my advice and posting some news that can actually be debated instead of birthday wishes to old timers!”

      ‘Funny, that you’d say that because I was just thinking about how pointless this story was, and how even those birthday stories were most interesting and relevant than this garbage, and about how the Gazette needs to put an editor between Stu Cowan and the HI/O upload button.

    • chanchilla says:

      i would rather read about every single birthday from every former hab than look at your site for more than 10 seconds.

      • Chanchilla…so much negativity against my site!…you are putting a lot of effort into it (repeatedly commenting about it).

        Your interest in the site just proves how relevant it is and for that we thank you…

        If you really think retired Habs birth-dates are newsworthy, there’s another one coming up soon…Donald Audette on September 29th…
        The greatest Canadiens and NHL news-site:
        Twitter: @teliopost

    • Ron says:

      If you feel ESPN dosn’t knows much about hockey teams why did you use that piece as your lead story on that site or blog you have ? Use them there but put them down here.

  21. Un Canadien errant says:

    After years of unstable ownership and some clown GM’s in Irving Grundman and Réjean Houle, and some seemingly talented and experienced hockey men who ran aground in Bob Gainey and Pierre Gauthier, we can’t really expect our team to do well in this survey. Geoff Molson seems to have the right philosophy to both rejuvenate our team and return it to its former glory. With all the advantages conferred on the Montréal Canadiens, nothing else than excellence can be expected or tolerated.

  22. Un Canadien errant says:

    The autobiography of R.A. Dickey “Wherever I Wind Up” is not your average sports biography, but then again neither is the author your average ball player. He’s one of the few knuckleball pitchers in the Big Leagues. He’s only recently started having success after being a borderline AAA-Major Leaguer his entire career, and exploded this season with a 17-4 W-L record with a 2.63 Earned Run Average as of this writing. He majored in English Literature in college and quotes lines from his favourite books. As such, he has started receiving a lot of attention from the media, and not just the usual sports content providers.

    While R.A. Dickey uses a co-author, it’s easy to see that he has a distinctive voice which carries through the book. His account is more than the old-school biography in which a player would quote: “My second year I did such and such and went to the All-Star Game and we made the playoffs, blah blah blah..” It is well written, and revealing. It also follows a recent trend in sports biographies in that it is searingly honest about his upbringing and experiences outside the sport. Mr. Dickey overcame a difficult family situation and personal suffering and abuse, which he exposes and discusses openly.

    His interesting athletic journey takes him from a gym rat childhood to a great collegiate career and eventual membership on the Atlanta Olympics US Baseball squad. He is a first-round draft pick of the Rangers, but hits a major speed bump to his career right after being drafted. He perseveres through the ups and downs of life as a journeyman pitcher until a fateful meeting with his team’s management when they convince him to retrain as a knuckleball pitcher, which entails more time in the minors and tribulations.

    While he is a thoughtful and reasonable guy, there are some surprising moments in the book which make the reader shake his head, none more so than his decision one day to attempt swimming across the Missouri River while in Omaha. He had looked out upon the mighty river from the team’s hotel for years and thought that, as a strong swimmer, it would be a difficult but achievable challenge for him. His very cursory research should have led him to reconsider, but bizarrely, he went ahead and attempted the stunt which went very wrong. This passage was all the more shocking to this reader when the amount of pollution in the river is considered, and for the fact that he is currently reading Stephen Ambrose’s account of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Nowhere in the latter book does it occur to a reader that attempting to swim across such a broad and swiftly-flowing river is anything but a suicidal project.

    Another worthwhile aspect of this biography is how the author repairs some of his relationships that have been damaged, sometimes by his own actions. He is a man of strong faith, and often takes the high road when faced with difficult moments in his life, instead of burning bridges, which serves him well later on.

    While no longer a baseball fan, the reviewer enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in sports and stories of triumph over adversity.

  23. Nitroslices says:

    I wonder where they rank Manchester United, a team that is known around the WORLD. I doubt anyone outside North America has even heard of the Coyotes.

  24. habstrinifan says:

    I am gonna play the devil’s advocate and not rant against ESPN’s ranking. If it provides sobering reading for the habs and management, especially in the area of listless coaching tactics bringing down the enjoyment value, then I say it does the fans a favour.

    Emotionally we habs fan know that they DO NOT rank that low period but we also can sense that based on the past three years, management has done very little but lived off the team’s past glory, especially in regards to the product they put on the ice.

  25. mrhabby says:

    I can see why the coyotes are ranked high… tickets, cheap beer, cheap food and parking and when in the playoffs the rink rocks but it’s phoenix. Teams like the Habs who charge an arm and leg should be ripped.

  26. commandant says:

    The Coyotes are ranked top 10. I don’t know about this by ESPN.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  27. HabinBurlington says:

    ESPN’s coverage of Hockey these days is comparable with The Globe and Mails coverage of Nascar. Therefore, I could care less where they rank the Habs.

    • Lizardking89 says:

      ESPN has little credibility in my opinion when it comes to anything related to hockey. They used to have great coverage but now they ignore it out of spite because they don’t own the rights to NHL games.

    • Bripro says:

      If they were rating criteria #s 1, 4, 7 and 8, then I’d agree.
      Let’s face it, there was little bang for the buck, and I refuse to fork over $12 for a beer.
      We all agreed that a change it coaching philosophy, if not the coach himself was long overdue.
      But do any of these represent a team with one of the worst ratings in all of sports?
      Time to hand the rating system over to the Canadian media, which is far less bias.

    • habsfan0 says:

      But, wasn’t it ESPN that just ranked the Habs’ unis as Number 1?

  28. savethepuck says:

    I’ve been to the Bell Center for 2 games last season, so I’m thinking the big drop in stadium experience is incorrect. The atmosphere there is incredible. Another example of 1 horrible season skewing everything related in the media’s mind. I have no problem with the assessment of the Leafs, however 😉

    On another note, Craig Button tweeted this link a short while ago on TSN:

    Seems Larry Brooks is definitely not on the side of the owners.

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

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