Monday, April 16, 2012

McGuire for Habs GM, Carbonneau for Coach

As we enter in the NHL playoffs with no dog in the fight, the letdown for Canadiens fan is utterly disheartening and depressing.
If this is what life is for Leafs fans on a permanent basis, I want no part of it.

The NHL playoffs is the most exhilarating sports championship, bar none.
It combines the endurance of a marathon, the bloodlust of the Roman Coliseum, the innate finesse of a high wire artist, the passion of a religious cult, the strategy of a chess grandmaster, the mayhem of a roller derby and the team spirit of a combat unit.
What sets hockey apart from all other team sports playoffs series is the creation of villains. The relentless bashing, retaliation, dirty questionable hits and outright brawling satisfies the innate bloodlust of fans that is only equaled rivaled in MMF.

Saturday's game between Ottawa and New York best exemplifies why hockey can excite the emotions like no other sport, where rivalry tinged with genuine hate, allows fans to embark on an emotional hate-a-thon.

All professional sports leagues provide plenty of heroes, but no sport furnishes as many detestable villains and lets face it, a villain is more interesting emotionally than any hero.

Then there's the actual brawling and fighting. We love it. There's more action in a 90 second NHL slugfest than many a ten-rounder.
Now, no pooh-poohing, even baseball and basketball fans love a good bench clearing brawl, but unfortunately, they are all too rare in those sports.
And so there is truth to the old dictum - "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out!"

I defy anyone to tell me that the electricity in a hockey arena is rivaled anywhere in sports.
NHL playoffs provide an adrenaline rush, that can only be recreated by actually participating.

True fans from any NHL city, will testify that a lengthy hockey playoff run, even when it falls short, is the most satisfying fan experience in all of sports. There is simply no comparison.

A real hockey fan with a team in the playoff hunt, whether he or she be at work, at home or at play always has the team close to heart. Like a junkie, true fan needs their fix of playoff hockey delivered every second day and when for scheduling reasons, the wait between games stretches to three days, symptoms of withdrawal, including nervousness and anxiety are apt to appear.

Now I know hockey is a business like anything else in the entertainment world, but in a certain sense it is not.
Hockey is a passion that the average Joe or Jane can enjoy for free.
Being a fan doesn't cost money and that's what makes its appeal so universal. Yes in a sense we pay for by watching commercials on TV during the games, but that's putting too fine a point on it.
That's also why I'm not against government subsidizing pro sports teams to a certain degree, but that's another discussion...

First, let's bury the past.
There isn't any doubt that the once mighty and proud Habs are a shadow of what they once were. The Gainey/Gauthier era was the most destructive force ever unleashed on the team, a tandem that should have been forced to swear a Hippocratic oath (Do No Harm.)

I am not a fan who lives and breathes hockey or the Canadiens, but if you were to ask me about the Thomas Kaberle trade I'd have never have done it based not only on his outrageous salary but for the fact that he was a Toronto Maple Leaf reject.
I mean if you're going to sign players who were rejected by the Leafs, you've sunk pretty low and are not only demonstrating poor hockey judgement, but also that there isn't much pride left in the organization.

I was dumbfounded when it surfaced that Gauthier dealt away Mike Cammalleri, without contacting most NHL general managers and settled for what he could get from Calgary.
Was he too busy to call?
Even the most inept seller knows that if you want to move something for value, you've got to advertise.
And so it seems that Gauthier traded away a pain in the ass, in Cammalleri, for a cancer in the name of  Rene Bourque.
I bet all the other general managers were disappointed that they weren't contacted, after all they each had some mistake to pass off on the hapless Gauthier.

Listening to the sports talk shows on TSN radio, I'm convinced that every idiot who calls in offering advice to the Habs, actually makes more sense then Gainey and Gauthier.
It remains a sad truth that all these fans, many of them broke and many who can't even balance their chequebook, can better mange the salary cap than the Habs management!

I don't know all the candidates for coach or general manager that are being tossed around and that in and of itself is a problem. We need a coach with experience and a general manager who knows something about hockey players.

And so I nominate Carbo to come back, he wasn't half bad and was only fired as a sacrificial lamb, as were those before him including Claude Julien and Alain Vigneault. Need I say more?

Who's got more experience and can speak English and French purr-fect-ly?
And realistically there's no better candidate out there.

As for GM, my choice is Pierre McGuire, an anglo from Montreal who's got that distinctive LCC French, which should allow him to pass muster.

He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of player personnel and is guaranteed not to make idiotic deals.

I've heard him on TSN radio over the past years and he wasn't shy to tell listeners that the Gionta, Gomez and Cammalleri deals were all bad for the team, based on various reasons, either talent-wise, term or salary.
He told us all this upfront, before the players all bombed and the crap hit the fan.

He also seems strong-willed and confident, as well as comfortable with the Press, something the Habs desperately need.

Now Pierre has just taken a great job working for the new NBC Sports Network, moving his family to Hartford, so I would have assumed he'd not be interested in the job, but after checking with a family insider who I know, he'll definitely take the job, if offered!

That readers by the way is a NODOG scoop and it is entirely reliable!

The Canadiens aren't going to make a big comeback soon, they are saddled with too many bad contracts and so will have to wait them out for a couple of years.
That being said I definitely see them making the playoffs next year, if they get rid of some deadwood.

Here's a couple of suggestions:

Buy out Scott Gomez's contract.
He's only making $5.5 million this year, but the Cap hit is $7.3 million. By paying him out, the Cap hit would be reduced to $3.5 million this year and $4.5 million next year.
In 2014/15 and 2015/16, the team would still be punished to the tune of $1.5 million towards the Cap, but it'd be worth it.

Same thing for Kaberle who has only has two years left on his contract. His $4.5 million contract and Cap hit could be reduced to $1.5 million by buying him out.

Time for Molson to roll out the chequebook and pay for the idiotic mistakes of the past.

By the way, bring back a character player like Hal Gill and restore some pride in the team

What say you all?


Congratulations to Canada's National women's hockey team on winning the World Championship.

 The winning overtime goal was scored by none other than bilingual Montrealer Caroline Ouellette (pictured on the left,)

It doesn't get any sweeter than that!

Please feel free to offer the team your congratulations in the comments section....


  1. Editor,

    I like you, but apparently your love of hockey has blinded you.

    The NHL playoffs is the most exhilarating sports championship, bar none.
    It combines the endurance of a marathon, the bloodlust of the Roman Coliseum, the innate finesse of a high wire artist, the passion of a religious cult, the strategy of chess grandmaster and the team spirit of a combat unit.

    With the distinct exception of the blood lust - thing that actually turns away potential new fan - same thing can be said to the NBA playoffs, for example. In fact, in terms of endurance, professional basket ball is more demanding than hockey. Also, one can argue that the entertainment value of the NBA is higher than the NHL.

    Now I know hockey is a business like anything else in the entertainment world, but in a certain sense it is not.
    Hockey is a passion that the average Joe or Jane can enjoy for free.
    Being a fan doesn't cost money and that's what makes its appeal so universal. Yes in a sense we pay for by watching commercials on TV during the games, but that's putting too fine a point on it.
    That's also why I'm not against government subsidizing pro sports teams to a certain degree, but that's another discussion...

    Not true, particularly for francophones. CBC only carries small portion of NHL hockey games in Canada. The rest are carried by TSN and Sportsnet in English and RDS and TVA Sports in French. All are specialty cable channels which one must pay to watch.

    Also, the same thing can be said to other sports if one feels where one's passion lies. And actually your statement is more correctly applicable to the NFL since ALL NFL games are available on CTV.

    Therefore, I can not see in your argument what makes hockey and the NFL that so much better than other professional sports and their leagues, except for your personal preference.

    Buy out Scott Gomez's contract.
    He's only making $5.5 million this year, but the Cap hit is $7.3 million. By paying him out, the Cap hit would be reduced to $3.5 million this year and $4.5 million next year.
    In 2014/15 and 2015/16, the team would still be punished to the tune of $1.5 million towards the Cap, but it'd be worth it.

    I would rather that Gomez be sent to the Bulldogs. At least he can be of a little bit of help, rather than let the money burns.

  2. Hockey is boring. Give me a rugby game any day. Even a French rugby game. Especially a French rugby game.

  3. Boring indeed. A bunch of overpaid neanderthals chasing a piece of rubber on a frozen layer of water and all the while trying to beat each other the head with their sticks.

    And some people actually pay to watch this, go figure.

    1. The best ratings for sports in Quebec, in all of Canada is for hockey.

  4. Editor,

    No, no, no... As great as she is, Caroline Ouellette is never a McGill graduate. She was in University of Minnesota - Duluth and currently with Montreal Stars. Former or current Martlets in the national team are Catherine Ward and Charline Labonte. Another famous ex-Martlet is Kim St-Pierre, but she is absent from hockey because of maternity leave.

  5. Gomez a Hamilton Bulldog? He'll quit before that happens; besides, he has a one-way contract so I think he can refuse, and the Habs would probably have to pay the two years left on his contract in full, unless the new CBA being negotiated allows teams amnesty for one or two players.

    Goat-yay was about as bad as John Ferguson Jr. was to the Leafs! Too many overpriced long-term contracts that took quite a while to flush out or a lot of expense to buy them out or have to partially pay their freight on other teams--think Brian McCabe.

    As the Editor wrote, Cammallari should have been made available to all the teams and sold to the highest bidder--sort of the way they picked up NYI reject Chris Campoli. The Habs were the only team to offer Crapoli a one-way contract. The only good acquisition they made this year was Eric Cole through free agency, and I imagine that's because many other teams gave him a pass. Whatever, he worked out well and that's about all that worked out well. Josh Georges was also offered a long extension on his contract.

    I think Carey Price is still overrated, and Jaro Halak has a very good campaign this year--even coming back to Montreal to shut out his old team - so there! What the Habs got for Halak was also garbage. Lars Eller had one 4-goal game but that doth not a career make. The other prospect they got for Halak - where is he? Halak had to get used to western teams and get used to them this year he did. He had a tough adjustment period last year. Suddenly St. Louis comes out of nowhere and has a very good team.

    St. Louis a few years ago hired John Davidson as its president, and this is why I agree Pierre Maguire would be a good GM. I was under the impression Maguire is fluently bilingual. Even if he isn't, who the hell cares? He knows the human resources in the NHL and on the farm, a very astute hockey man. I didn't feel sorry for Carbo getting fired because Gainey first gave him a 3-year contract extension just months before firing him. So Carbo got to sit on his ass or be a broadcast analyst collecting two salaries for a few years. Not bad!

    Anyway, the rule of thumb of hiring a GM is he hires whoever he chooses to coach. It almost never works out when a GM comes in with a coach in place. Just ask Iron Mike Keenan when St. Louis hired him before they hired a GM. That didn't last long, but it was a sugary sweet deal for Keenan. He had almost 5 years left on his contract, and his contract stipulated the team had to pay him all out within 60 days of his termination. All that moolah and more when he became a broadcast analyst.

    Anyway, like Toronto with JFJ, it will take a few years to flush out the deadwood along whith a s--tload of money, but considering the Habs are the 3rd most valuable team in hockey behind the Leafs and Rangers, they can absorb it, or at least Molson can (another idiot).

    Finally, congrats to the ladies. Job well done!

    1. I almost forgot to mention, Editor, the Habs obtained René Bourque from Calgary. It would have been great if they had Raymond Bourque. I'll bet Raymond has more hocky skill 11 years after retiring than René will ever have!

  6. Hearing and reading Habs and Leafs fans throw barbs at each other is one of the most hilarious things out there. It's like going to an old folks home and watching two senile old men go at it. It's funny and nobody cares.

    Nixing the Kaberle trade because he's an ex-Leaf is ridiculous because, frankly, I don't see anyone kicking the door down to come play for Montreal. Cammallari, why are people still talking about this guy. Sure he was a nice guy, good smile, great for a soundbyte but, he was paid how many millions? For what? 20 goals? Gimme a break. The only other team that would be stupid enough to take his fat contract off of Montreals books had to be the Calgary Flames (who are obsessed with bringing players back) or possibly the Leafs.

    As for the new coach/GM of the Habs; it doesn't matter. The team is doomed as long as the media has as much power as they do. I'd wager the Leafs will rebound sooner than the Habs since the Leafs are more concerned with signing quality players whereas the Habs are more concerned with their potential signings linguistic talents. If I were a Habs fan, I'd quickly change teams and cheer for one of the more modern teams (Detroit, Boston, Philly, Nashville etc...), you know; teams that look to sign talent instead of passports.

    1. The two hockey teams that Canadians care about the most are the Habs and the Leafs, in that order. (There was a poll a few days ago) So, maybe you don't care, but many hockey fans are interested in those two teams.

      Probably you don't know much about hockey but just to let you know, The Leafs haven't made the playoffs for the past 7 years and when I checked Wikepedia for the Habs, it says they haven't made it in 1 of the past 5.

      As for who can rebound sooner, you can never count out the stupidity of Brian Burke, the GM of the Leafs for the past few years. There's nothing that shows that he suddenly knows what he's doing.

      The Habs have an excellent 1st line and a solid defensive core that will only get better with the solid prospects they have in the pipeline, as well as a very good goaltender.

      So, if I were a betting man, I would bet on the Habs.

    2. Roger Rabbit,

      I think Habs - Leafs rivalry is today just a remnants of the good old days. Meaning, it is not very relevant anymore. Particularly not relevant because the other half of the rivalry does not actually give much of a fighting. This year is the anomaly that the Habs are actually place lower than the Leafs.

      What about shifting toward the second rivalry? Bruins - Habs? That is the one that one needs to pay attention. After all, they managed to drink from the Cup. And with the like of Chara, Bergeron, Lucic, Thomas and Marchand, it will be long time before the Habs can claim the rivalry again.

    3. Troy,

      You're right that there really isn't any Habs-Leafs rivalry. There really hasn't been any in my lifetime. The best rivalry that I have seen was the Habs-Nordiques and then when they folded, the Habs & Bruins. The thing is that I have family in TO, so that's what makes it a rivalry to me! ;)

      It's true that it will be hard to beat the Bruins physical stature but I don't think any team in the league can look to beat the Bruins by fighting them. It's only by using speed against them as well as a good forcheck and getting them off their game to take penalities that they can be beaten, in my opinion.

      We did take them to game 7 a couple of years ago and we were LEADING game 7 before Jacques Martin got them to do the usual hold on for dear life thing so that we could lose the game.
      I do think it will be a few years before we can compete with Boston again, in a playoff series, but I like the addition of Emelin and Staubitz this year as well as the good checking that Blunden does to give us a more physical aspect. (We can't have 2 lines of munchkins like we've had in the most recent past.)

      I also have faith in the person who has been drafting the past few years, so improvement might not take as long as some people might think.

  7. Money should be spent more wisely instead of being thrown out of the window to pay a Mr. Nobody to train a group of Nobodies watched by other Nobodies.
    Money should be spent to educate people, not to make them even more stupid than they actually are.
    Boring article by the way.
    I cannot believe there are people on this blog who know everything about these Nobodies and completely ignore other things in this world...Mala tempora currunt.


    1. People can do what they want to do with their spare time. Some people watch TV, some people watch movies, go to a restaurant, jog, etc

      I didn't know that everything that we do in life has to be 100% productive. People like to relax once in a while and if it's by watching hockey, there's nothing bad about that.

      As well, I didn't know watching hockey and being informed of what's happening in the world are mutually exclusive.

      (It's good to take a break from the language situation in this blog once in a while. If you focus on that too much, you end up a mad donkey like Gilles Proulx.)

    2. The amount that we spend on entertainment vs education, science, research, etc... is staggering.

      But then, that's what our economy runs on : consummarism. If only we could consume books, knowledge, and science instead of consuming tripe.

    3. Anonymous at 18:52,

      ...books, knowledge, and science instead of consuming tripe.

      Actually, where I come from tripe is a delicacy. Even here, I like to go to Chinatown to get it and cook it stewed with curry flavor. Can not have much of it, though. Need to watch my cholesterol.

      :-D Just kidding. I know what you mean. But it is just human nature, is it not? Not kidding about beef tripe, though.

    4. @ "Anonymous"

      Well, there is not anything stopping you from consuming what you want and not portending something happening to society if we don't consume what you deem necessary.

      You sound very much like one of those separatists telling people what they should think and do.

      People will do what they want to do.

      P.S. Congratulations to the Women's Hockey Team for winning gold!

    5. I don't think he wants to ram books down your throat, or drag you away from your preferred forms of entertainment. I think he is simply lamenting the near total triumph of trite distractions and spectacle over more important issues.

      The separatists, on the other hand, want State to come down on you and mold you according to their will. They want State to micromanage you and punish you for arbitrary infractions. They're fascists in other words, and that's a different thing altogether.

  8. Even if I don't agree with your article, a BIG + for your Latin quote...


    1. Both quotes, actually. ++

    2. Homo doctus in se divitias semper habet.

  9. Editor. If you buy out Gomez or Kaberle you have to count them against the cap for a third of their salary for double the remaining contract years. Between the 2 of them that would be over 4 million for the next FOUR years. Unacceptable. What you can do is send them to the Bulldogs or even to Europe (think Huet). You still have to pay their salary but at least it doesn't count against the cap.
    We need the cap space, because we have to pay inflated salaries to get players to come to this language obsessed, dying province.

    A really good GM could maybe pawn off Kaberle on a salary floor team for a draft pick (meaning you give them a pick, not get one in return). No one is dumb enough to take Gomez at 3.75 million a goal.

    Hopefully the next CBA will have some leniency that will help us out.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. "bilingual Montrealer Caroline Ouellette"

    Sauf qu'elle n'a qu'une seule langue maternelle et ce n'est pas l'anglais. Ce n'est pas la même chose que la minorité à la Apparatchik qui a deux langues maternelles et deux identités.

    Faudrait surtout pas la décrire comme ce qu'elle est vraiment, une Québécoise francophone, hein? Vous aimez mieux les mots bilingual et Montrealer.
    Ce n'est pas parce que les anglophones et les allophones de Montréal ont souvent une mentalité de je-ne-suis-pas-Québécois-je-suis-Montréalais-ou-plutôt-Montrealer que la même mentalité est répandue chez la majorité des Montréalais francophones. Nous ne formons qu'un peuple, le peuple Québécois et vos tentatives de division ne fonctionneront pas parce que les principaux intéressés ont un attachement au Québec et au français que vous n'avez pas.

    Mais à quoi bon expliquer ça sur un site où Vincent Lecavalier fût décrit comme un anglophone par l'éditeur parce qu'il est allé à une école anglophone et parle anglais pas d'accent. Peut-être a-t-il une mère anglophone (mais c'est possible d'aller à l'école anglaise même avec deux parents francophones surtout quand au moins un y est allé avant la loi 101 et il y a d'autres façons) mais même si sa mère est anglophone (ce qui n'est pas sûr, je ne peux le confirmer) alors là c'est le temps de décrire quelqu'un comme bilingue parce qu'il est autant francophone qu'anglophone mais le décrire comme anglophone alors qu'il a le français comme langue maternelle (et peut-être comme seule langue maternelle) c'est absurde.

    Mais bon, c'est aussi le même site où Céline Dion est appropriée comme anglophone...