Thursday, March 4, 2010
Montreal Canadiens; If You Can't be Good in English, It's Ok to Be Mediocre in French
In Montreal, hockey is about winning, or at least competing on the highest level. That's not something they've done as of late and so the handwriting was on the wall.
While the English journalists were genuinely sad for Gainey, the Francophone writers could hardly suppress their glee.
For La Presse blowhard Rejean Tremblay it was a dream come true, the replacement of an Anglo with a bone fide Francophone at the helm of the team, which in his opinion, has too many Anglo players. Perhaps, for him, it portends well and will lead the Canadiens to replace their under-performing Anglophone and European players with equally dreadful Francophones.
Montreal's new GM is considered damaged goods and likely couldn't get a job as the lowliest of scouts for any other NHL team. His poor decisions and analysis concerning player personnel are at the root of the Canadiens current problems. It was his recommendation that brought Scott Gomez and his ridiculous contract to Montreal, a move that has virtually crippled the team and it's future. In truth Gainey and Gauthier's watch has been marked by nothing less than ineptitude.
In an article in Saturdays Montreal Gazette Don MacPherson warns the Canadiens that they'll have to choose between promoting French or winning.
Unfortunately, that ship has sailed. The Canadiens organization has decided that they'd rather switch than fight.
And so, the decision to hire Gauthier had more to do with the current available pool of Francophone managerial talent. Anglos were ruled out, even bilingual ones.
With last year's hiring of Jacques Martin, the Canadiens had already scraped the bottom of the barrel of francophone coaching talent. They have now done the same thing with the GM position and are now blessed with both a mediocre general manger and coach. At least the bumbling duo will be able to explain the team's ineptness in perfect French. Wait, on second thought, Martin's French is pretty crummy for someone who is a native speaker. His sentences contain more English phrases then did Gainey's.
It's lucky that the Canadiens have already tapped their next coach, Hamilton Bulldog's, Guy Boucher, otherwise they'd be forced to consider re-hiring Guy Carbonneau after Martin's inevitable firing.
Of course you wouldn't know how undeserving the Pierre Gauthier appointment was from reading the French press. Because he's French, they'll likely give him a free ride for a year or two.
Geoff Molson, after an uninspiring career in the family business, seems to be looking to make a name for himself by pandering to the outcry that the Canadiens become more French.
He is pointing the team down the same miserable path that the Toronto Maple Leafs pursued so successfully these past years, that is, pander to the media and give the fans just enough hope to keep the arena full. It might be a recipe for financial success, but guarantees mediocrity on the ice.
And so, decisions about players and management will be based on language and not talent. More French music will be played at the Bell Centre and the Canadians will have successfully transformed themselves into a laughing stock, tout en français, the Montreal Feuille d'Érables.
For Gainey, the three and a half million dollar payout he got from George Gillett when the team was sold, as thanks for services rendered, makes parting a little easier.
He is likely gone from hockey for good, his under-performance as a general manager contrasting sadly against his brilliant hockey career.
Posted by Editor on 3/04/2010 12:06:00 AM