Un Canadien errant - (Normand Harvey)

Member since June 4, 2011

Whistler, BC

Habs fan since: 1970
Favorite current player: Andrei Markov
All-time favorite player: Lafleur-Mahovlich-Shutt-Robinson-Savard-Dryden

----------------------------------------------------------------------- It's somewhere between a toothless attack and a vicious homage.--Paul Rudd http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

Recent Comments

  • Comment on Best wishes from HIO to young Habs fan battling meningitis (2014-07-29 12:47:12)
    A quick question for John Smidt or anyone else in the know: Tim Bozon contracted meningitis in Saskatoon, or at least came down with it after a game against the Blades. Now Alex from Regina. Is there an outbreak in Saskatchewan, or is this just random bad luck? EDIT: Here's what I found after a quick Google. The article dates back to March. http://metronews.ca/news/regina/963812/risk-of-contracting-menigitis-in-saskatchewan-not-on-the-rise-says-provincial-health-officials/ ----------------------------------------------------------------------- It's somewhere between a toothless attack and a vicious homage.--Paul Rudd http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/
  • Comment on Best wishes from HIO to young Habs fan battling meningitis (2014-07-29 12:43:45)
    Glad to see a picture of Alex doing well. Ian, Timo, Rob, great great stuff. Proud of you guys. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- It's somewhere between a toothless attack and a vicious homage.--Paul Rudd http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/
  • Comment on Subban mum on contract talks during appearance at Canadian Open (2014-07-29 12:27:04)
    Hey trini, thanks for the thoughts, and I never mind discussing my posts, or having objections or counterpoints raised by other posters, that's the essence of HIO, that's what makes it good. The point you raised is a valid one, and it semi-dawned on me last night when I was typing, but I dismissed it. That two of you caught on to it as well means it's not a nitpick, it's obvious to most that there appears a contradiction. I'll say generally that I'm wrestling with how to explain my dismissal of Raymond Bourque's last season and Stanley Cup as anything worthy of celebration, rather than a fabrication, a kabuki. I offered some examples but I'm not sure if there are any equivalent situations. And like I said, it's hard for me to be objective about the Bruins. In reference to my hockey team example, the background is that we joined an established league, la Ligue Inter-Hôtel, as a first-year team, and as the smallest hotel in the league, against mega-plexes like le Château Champlain. Our HR Director, sensibly, announced that anyone who wanted to play could play, since the Employee Social Fund was used to buy jerseys and league dues. The problem was, we did get guys who'd never played beyond a little ball hockey, and some shinny. One of the guys was literally skating on broken ankles, would run more than he'd skate. Meanwhile some of the guys on the other teams had played some Junior A, midget AAA, or that's what we were told. It sure seemed that way. So we'd get blown out. Those guys were playing in a competitive league, but our HR Director approached it as a social, recreational league. Our two goalies were the classic "I can't skate, so I can't play forward or defence, so I'll be the goalie." Both of them. Morale fell. Some of our better players wanted to quit. What's the point of playing on a line where you can't pass the puck, knowing they'll lose it to the other team? What's the point of backchecking? In this climate, when Mr. Roberge asked us how we were doing, and we told him we were getting blown out and laughed at, that the Lions were being called kitty-cats or worse, he decided that wouldn't do. And he told us, "Les p'tit gars, lâchez-pas, j'vas m'en occuper." So for the second season, to avoid mutiny or mass defection, we massaged our roster. Daniel was let go, but left on good terms, and we retained him. One of our players had two childhood friends he'd grown up playing hockey with, they were brought aboard as banquet waiters. Suddenly, we had another really good forward line, and they were hilarious to watch, these three clean-cut preppy Crescent Street types, they were flying all over the ice, like the Hanson brothers without the gooning. One of the stunners who worked the Front Desk had a boyfriend who'd played goalie in Junior. The previous year's goalies dropped out, one remained and acted as team coach/manager/social director. Awesome guy, great team guy. And so was the new goalie. You want to talk about confidence? It was like the first time I ever, finally, played rugby with a good fullback, who could kick, and who could run and attack. Made the game much easier. And the guys who couldn't keep up understood. From one season to another, they dropped out, we didn't have to force them out, they knew they weren't able to play at this level. They should have played novice pickup hockey, not in our league. It wasn't fun for them either. They saw the handwriting on the wall, at worst. I joined the softball team when I first started working there, and quickly realized that I couldn't help them, I was probably hurting the team if anything, and was having trouble making games and practices because rugby came first. So I'd bowed out. I imagine they did the same. With these changes, now we had a real team. We'd had an additional year of 'recruiting', where if you knew a good hockey player who needed a job, he was hired, by order of Mr. Roberge. The nucleus was still there, but now we had four defencemen who could play and on some nights three forward lines, with no real weak links. The previous year, we'd tried to spread out our talent at forward, but it was one guy against the other team, they wouldn't get anywhere, so early on we stacked one line, and the rest of the forwards were cannon fodder. We hoped that our #1 line could get us three or four goals, but the other lines would give up ten or twelve easy. Some other teams would play keepaway, pass five times before they'd shoot, or they'd not shoot, just set each other up for tap-ins. It wasn't fun for them either. And yeah, we bent the rules beyond breaking, to compensate for being a new team, and for being the hotel with the smallest number of staff, but now we belonged, and could offer a game to any other team in the league. That part falls outside of my example. My main point. Which is that you don't quit on your team and join another just to win, you stay with your guys and you persevere, and you go out for drinks afterwards. And when you're at work, it's great to be there with your teammates. And to bring my brief explanation to a close, pro hockey works much the same way. From year to year, you get some turnover, some new kids join up and some veterans are let go, but your team is your team. The Jacques Laperrières and Don Awreys must give way to the Larry Robinsons and the Bill Nyrops. But the Canadiens remain the Canadiens.
  • Comment on Subban mum on contract talks during appearance at Canadian Open (2014-07-29 09:43:54)
    Jean Ratelle is always a player that springs to mind for me, how such a gentlemanly player never won, plus had to serve on the dirty Bruins. As far as Denis Savard, I think all Montrealers kind of felt the same way, sort of happy for him, but a little embarrassed that he wasn't on the ice but behind the bench to win the Cup? I understand your take, it's fair enough. My reaction is derived from my hatred of the Bruins, and manufactured events, like players who sign a one-day contract to "retire as a Milwaukee Brewer...", or other such nonsense. Like the Derek Jeter retirement tour, coming on the heels of the Mariano Rivera retirement tour.
  • Comment on Subban mum on contract talks during appearance at Canadian Open (2014-07-29 09:38:14)
    I remember when he was a member of the Éperviers de Sorel, and the team moved to Verdun, I thought it meant that he was a "Junior Canadiens", and property of the Habs. Marc Lachapelle of CKAC would report every morning on the previous night's scores, and his name was constantly rattled off: "...et Raymond Bourque a amassé deux autres passes." When his draft was held, I hoped for a miracle, that he would fall to the Canadiens, and was crushed that the Bruins grabbed him. I think I felt almost as bad when they took Malcolm Subban. I read the next morning that we had taken a player named Gaston Gingras. In D'Arcy Jenish's book on the Canadiens, he writes how Sam Pollock tried to get the #1 overall pick off the Islanders to get Denis Potvin, and that Bill Torrey was tempted but ultimately decided to keep the pick. I always wondered how good the Canadiens might have been with him in the ranks. Same with Raymond Bourque.
  • Comment on Subban mum on contract talks during appearance at Canadian Open (2014-07-29 09:18:15)
    The year my Canadiens fandom became sentient.
  • Comment on Subban mum on contract talks during appearance at Canadian Open (2014-07-29 02:32:45)
    Louis Leblanc.
  • Comment on Subban mum on contract talks during appearance at Canadian Open (2014-07-28 23:06:57)
    Paz, thanks for the kind words. When my (ex-)girlfriend would make a big goof or say something very silly, I'd pause and say: "You're so pretty..." I think you're using the same tactic. Ambrose, if you read my posts, I don't denigrate Raymond Bourque, I hold him in very high regard, he's one of the best defencemen I've ever seen play, up there with Larry, Denis Potvin, Paul Coffey. What I object to is the way this Stanley Cup was engineered, and we're all supposed to act like it's a great thing that he "finally won, finally got his ring." The Stanley Cup is meant to be hard to get, and great players will have wonderful careers and never even come close. To think that every player should have his turn is kind of defeating the purpose in my view. When I was playing rugby in Montréal, I played for a poor club that underperformed in first and second division. I joined that club because that's where all my friends and current coaches were playing, it was a natural landing spot. Eventually, I moved from that immediate area, and it would have been very convenient to join a closer club, which happened to be a powerhouse, and I could have gotten rides from a buddy to the practices and games, instead of interminable bus and metro rides, but I stayed with my club. I wanted to keep playing with my friends, even if it meant losing more often than not. I figured I was improving, my team was also, we'd turn it around. And after a while we kind of did. I played hockey for the hotel I worked at, the team was in its first year, we had maybe half the team who'd never played organized hockey before. We were horrible, losing by double digits. Teams would skate away from our net after a goal, and we'd hear them saying: "Okay, everyone's scored except for Francesco, let's get him a goal next." Daniel, our best player, was a big rangy centre, kind of a Bobby Smith type. He got fired, but by that time control of the team had been wrested from the Director of H.R., who insisted that everyone who wanted to play should play. The President of the hotel, a Québec boy made good, who'd listened attentively when we explained that the other teams would laugh at us, at our jerseys, and our hotel, now decreed that we should be competitive. The overmatched players bowed out gracefully, we got ourselves a few ringers, and they became Banquets Waiters who never worked a shift ever. And Daniel was retained as a 'Banquet Waiter', even though by then his girlfriend had also left our hotel and gone to a promotion at another, and he could have played there, on a much better team. But he wanted to keep playing with his bros. To me, that's what team sports are about. You don't go to the biggest, baddest, strongest team, win with them, then beat your chest about it. You win with your boys. Free agency and trades and all the player movement have muddled this picture, but again, using the spectrum I described earlier, I put Raymond Bourque's championship at the 'big whoop' end of the scale. Raymond Bourque got traded to Peter Forsberg's and Joe Sakic's and Patrick Roy's team after deciding that he'd never win in Boston, and that the technical act of winning the Stanley Cup trumped all. Which it doesn't. And I'm struggling to come up with examples, but one that popped up in my mind was that horrid film "Muriel's Wedding". A terrible movie with an unlikable heroine, and I was bored out of my mind and I probably missed a lot of the plot subtleties, but basically all that mattered to her was having a wedding. Not meeting a man she loved and getting married as a result, just the actual wedding, the dress and the cake and the rest of that whole ordeal. At least, that was my take. Anyway, to explain myself more clearly, the Stanley Cup was the wedding, and Raymond Bourque was the Muriel. But I'm not denigrating Raymond here. No. I just ascribe this episode of poor judgment on having to wear that awful jersey for the vast majority of his career. It made him lose his moral compass, his capacity to reason. And Chris, like I said in my original post, I'm asking for help in finding the mot juste. My central point wasn't that teams shouldn't be stacked, but that the game shouldn't be rigged, it should be fair. I have no problems with great dynasty teams, the Canadiens, the Islanders, the Oilers. I preferred those to the 'parity' that exists today. Those teams had an identity, you could see them building to something. As much as I disliked Bryan Trottier, I bowed to him when he won, just as Guy Lafleur did when he lost the scoring championship to him on the last day of the season, and sent a congratulatory telegram. The Islanders grew up together, endured some tough lessons and losses, before winning. Same with the Oilers. And the Avalanche/Nordiques. Raymond Bourque was an accidental tourist on that team, and I don't think I'm using that term correctly. To contrast with these organic teams, I never bought in to baseball's Yankees. So George Steinbrenner went out and bought the biggest names in free agency every year, and sometimes it finally clicked. Another big whoop. If the Expos had won a World Series, the Team of the 80's, after years of disappointment, that would have been great. So yeah, I don't think Ray Bourque was a bad player, I don't think he was finished when he started playing in Colorado, but I don't celebrate it as an instance of karmic justice or of the hero finally getting his due. He took the easy way in.
  • Comment on Subban mum on contract talks during appearance at Canadian Open (2014-07-28 16:55:46)
    If we look at "his" Stanley Cup and grade it on a spectrum, with maybe LeBron James stacking himself an All-Star team in Miami, and having an unseemly launch party-boastfest that will be criticized forever more ("Not two, not three, not four, not five,...") at one end of the scale, and John Elway's two Super Bowl wins coming at the very end of his long, frustrating, fruitful career as a Bronco at the other end, I put Ray's Cup much closer to the LeBron end. If we can come up with a better verb than coattail, I'm willing to listen, but in my prejudiced view, I'm comfortable with that term. Phrases like 'stacking the deck' spring to mind, but I can't come up with le mot juste. Even as kids, we knew that sports depend on fair competition to be worth anything. I remember playing lunchtime soccer in Grade 6, we played Grade 6 against the entire rest of the school, Grades 1-5, a veritable herd of little tykes and ankle biters sweeping across the field, it was almost a fair fight. But really, the way to choose up teams is to use I go-you go. I pick first, then you, then me again, until we get to the last two, and I take my kid brother and you take the fat kid, and we put them both in nets. And that ensured that the game would be fun and somewhat fair. You never let the three or four best players play together, against a lesser team, except in rare circumstances. That's what cheapens the legacy of LeBron and Raymond Bourque.
  • Comment on Subban mum on contract talks during appearance at Canadian Open (2014-07-28 16:41:33)
    Your post made me think of the "The Years of Rice and Salt". Great read for anyone interested in alternative history, science, sociology, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Years_of_Rice_and_Salt