We Are Not In Montreal Anymore Toto …

It’s a strange feeling.


For the past ‘what seems like ever’ – the city of Montreal has not had very many grey areas when it comes to Le Club de Hockey Canadien. Or – as they have become know; the eHabs …. ( as in commerce ).

In the media, in the streets, in the pubs and in living rooms all across the world, it has either been ranting over the fact they are good or ( more times than the latter) very, very bad …

Suddenly, it is calm in Montreal. No one really knows what to do. No one really understands this club that takes to la glace these days. They (the team) are looking for an identity. The fans are looking also. What team do they cheer for? Who are these guys that take our money?

Is it the team which appeared almost too easily to beat the New Jersey Devils? A squad which is first in the Eastern Conference. Or – is it the silly bunch of skaters who appeared like deer in the headlights when those noted champions – The Toronto Maple Leafs arrived at Le Centre Bell for what turned into a game of shinny …?


Marc Bergevin don’t know. Michel Therrien don’t know. The dude who waved hello to Eddy Palchak for sixteen years every morning on his way to work don’t know. They are a team which seem sound. For now …

Something will happen.

What? A betting man who loves the underdog won’t bet on the team winning a Stanley Cup nor will the same man’s hooker girlfriend allow him to bet the other way. An implosion is due. An explosion imminent.

Will the eHabs skate out against The Mighty Bruins and spank the Bostonian’s monkeys with goals and fists? Perhaps the destruction will take place as Michel ( aka Rodney Dangerfield) Therrien loses control of his ‘I have a second chance demeanor’ and tosses P.K Subban into the penalty box with his non – ringed hands. Any hockey man knows a Therrien meltdown is coming. It’s a matter of time.


Will it be just as the eHabs discover themselves on the crease of victory or will it be just before Tomas Kaberle flings a four million dollar water bottle at Madame Therrien’s son’s French Canadian head? Pressing questions for serious Montreal hockey questions.

The eHabs will find out who they are. The fans will find out as well. Therrien?

Guy Carbonneau can let him in on things once the eHabs stop playing hockey in 2013.

With or without a Stanley Cup ring blocking  his ears …



A Puppet in Place …

“Yes sir … I will be good. Yes sir – I will do what you say …!”

If these were not the words that sealed Michel Therrien’s fate as the new / old coach of ‘Les Habitants of former greatness’, then fasten some seat belts Habs fans – it’s gonna be a heck of a four month ride from the start of training camp.

Michel Therrien is not a bad coach. He is nowhere near the calibre of Mario Tremblay in this respect. In fact, on several occasions, Therrien appeared like Scotty Bowman’s long lost French relative on episodes of L’Anti Chambre as opposed to Tremblay’s rah rah ROY rants.

This is the conundrum the Habs, the Hab faithful and all the tiny Hablettes scattered around the Hab universe find themselves with. Michel Therrien is; his own worse enemy.

Hmmm … Sounds very much the same reason some of the hockey minds were opposed to Patrick Roy? Yes but the difference between the two is larger than a young boy’s eyes upon seeing a scantily clad woman holding a Wayne Gretzky rookie card.

Patrick Roy has respect. Therrien does not.

Hockey players are fans of Joan Rivers. They heed her advice to ‘talk amongst themselves’ every chance they get. It is not the old days when a guy like Gordie Howe never spoke to a guy like Maurice Richard. Even if Twitter was available in the fifties; it’s hard to imagine two men with so much loyalty speaking or Facebooking one another on how to make great scrambled eggs.

In this, the modern apocalyptic Bettman daze – players not only speak to one another, by the very nature of the beast created by Bettman; they play on the same team every six months or so it appears.

“Hey …!” Says Carey Price to John Leclair at a Habs alumni dinner. “What’s this guy Therrien like as a coach?”

Leclair, who played for Therrien’s Pens during the 2005 – 2006 season, thinks and says …”Fundamentally he is sound. Everything is ok until the pressure mounts. Then, Therrien makes these wacko decisions which leave everyone confused.”

“I see.” Says Price with concern on his brow. ” What about Roy, would he have been a better choice?”

Leclair thinks for a moment and replies; ” Well Carey, I have no idea what type of coach Patrick is. One thing is certain, the guy hates to lose and when some guys panic – that is the time Roy channels his emotion to winning at all costs!”

The Bergevin Holding Company

Marc Bergevin never won a Stanley Cup by himself. Let alone two of them. Bergevin’s successes have been by committee. Once his playing days were through, Bergevin drank from the Stanley Cup as a cog in a wheel. This is the recipe which Bergevin knows …

This is the recipe Bergevin is attempting in Montreal with the Canadiens. The difference? Chicago had Dale Tallon, Montreal has Dale Tallon’s prodigy. The Black Hawks were obscure in the press. The Habs are the press.

Therrien as a coach has matured since the days in Montreal and Pittsburgh. As a television analyst on RDS he is very composed compared to some of his co – workers. It is relatively simple to be composed as the one guy ( aside from Michel Bergeron ) on the panel with the most experience as a coach. It’s easy to be composed in front of a camera man who smokes Gitanes.

The question remains; in front of 21,000 spectators at Le Centre Bell with a minute left and down a goal – will Therrien leave Cole on the bench and insert Ryan White on a hunch? Will Therrien’s emotions overide his brain? This is what troubles the average bear and the average fan.

Bergevin, Dudley, Mellanby, Carriere and the little Canadiens’ fan who lives down La Gauchetiere lane are the ones in charge. This committee needed a French dude to coach.

Carbonneau is too fiery for their tastes. Carbonneau would not listen to his good pal Gainey – why would he listen to guys he played and scored against?

Patrick Roy needs do his John McEnroe impersonation almost daily. Roy as a goalie and Roy – as a person, are perfectionists. If things do not go his way and the proper way; the puck hits the fan. If the puck hits Bergevin, Dudley, Mellanby and Carriere – too much effort for Roy to run around with his apologies.

Michel Therrien wants to coach in the NHL – badly. Luckily for the Montreal native, the Canadiens badly require a French speaking coach.

Is that right Michel?

“Oui Monsieur, – je veut faire comme tu veut …!”

The Montreal Canadiens’ New Coach? Relax!

Relax don’t do it
When you want to go to it
Relax don’t do it
When you want to come
Relax don’t do it
When you want to come
When you want to come

Frankie Goes to Hollywood

One can only hope this is the song encircling the Habs’ new G.M. as he gets acquainted to his new office in Le Centre Bell.

Aside from little things such as removing Pierre Gauthier’s signed print of the Marx Brothers from his wall, M. Bergevin must commence repairing the on-ice Canadiens de Montreal. Pronto …

Forget the off-ice stuff. For now.

Leave that to Mr. Molson – after all, he comes from a long line of superior marketers. Who else but the Molson family could get folks from Port Hope, Ontario to drink Molson Export by re-naming and bottling the same beer as Molson Canadian. A spade is a spade and a drunken Wendel Clarke fan is a drunken Wendel Clarke fan.

Bergevin may or may not have his priorities in the following order;

  1. Hire a coach
  2. Concentrate on the draft.

If the number one choice is his number one choice – presumably a logic is tossing about in his Chicago – raised, Montreal – born mind. It all depends which type of team he is envisioning in his  thoughts.

A successful squad in the NHL is basically built in three ways. A trio of options that usually lead to a parade somewhere.

  1. A balance of speed and tremendous talent on the top two lines, countered by toughness and a couple of talented fifteen goal scorers on the bottom two lines.
  2. Three lines of talent blanketed with a tough fourth line.
  3. Four lines of character with two superstars.

As for the defence …

  1. Two offensive – minded players with speed, three tough and defensive – minded defence men and two that possess a combination of both.

Goaltending …

The goalie must stop pucks at key moments in a game. The type of save that lifts his team to greater heights. There is nothing worse for a player sitting on the bench witnessing a soft goal when they are doing their best to win a close game.

A goalie’s feelings work in reverse. A soft goal more often the end result when he sees his mates not scoring when he keeps them in the game. This was part of the problem for the Canadiens in 2011 – 12.

Bergevin’s job is to understand in himself which type of team he feels can win. He must keep the pieces of the puzzle that are part of the solution and rid the current day Habs of the parts that are non – conducive to his dreams. The coach he hires must be on the same ice rink. The new guy cannot be skating in Quebec city while Bergevin and his team are practising in Brossard.

Bergevin’s Options ( according to everyone but him).

Names of possible coaches are being bandied about in Montreal as loosely as loose lips sink already  sinking CH ships.

Bergevin should consider the following if indeed some of the candidates are his candidates as well;

Marc Crawford

The last five years Crawford coached in the NHL, his teams missed the playoffs. Vancouver, L.A. and Dallas. Crawford holds a.536 winning percentage as an NHL coach in fifteen years. He won a Stanley Cup in Colorado in 1995 – 96. It must be noted – the Avalanche team that won was filled with talent. Foote, Deadmarsh, Forsberg, Sakic, Nolan, Lemieux and Patrick Roy to name a few. Jean Perron and Jacques Demers won a Stanley Cup because of Patrick Roy – they are not considered to be candidates for the current day Habs. Just saying …

Bob Hartley

Almost a mirror image of Crawford. Hartley won a Stanley Cup in Colorado with pretty much the same line-up as Crawford possessed. Again – a certain M. Patrick Roy was between the pipes. In the last six years as a coach in the NHL (Colorado and Atlanta ), Hartley’s team missed the playoffs five times. Career -wise, the Hawksbury born coach has a winning percentage of .579 and most recently coached the Zürcher Schlittschuh Club Lions in the Swiss league to a championship.

Alain Vigneault

Anyone who follows the Habs is aware Alain Vigneault commenced his NHL coaching career in Montreal. M. Vigneault is a good coach who possesses a good sense of humour ( he coached Maxime Lapierre ) and a career winning percentage of .581. In Montreal for three seasons and twenty games ( 1997 – 2000 ), Vigneault was learning his craft as his borderline .500 record attests. Recently, M. Vigneault was blessed with a very talented team in Vancouver. A Stanley Cup finalist last season and a somewhat surprising exit in the first round this year. Does his stint in Vancouver and his gained experience allow him a return to Montreal? There are no Sedins in Montreal. Just sayin’…

Michel Therrien

Like M. Vigneault, Therrien started his career in Montreal and parted with a .500 record. He then went to Pittsburgh where he had two winning seasons with Malkin and Crosby. The following season – again with a talented Pittsburgh team, Therrien was fired with a 27 – 25 won / lost record and Pittsburgh went on to win the Cup under Dan Byslema. Really, Therrien has no business being considered for the job … If you can’t win with Crosby and Malkin, where can you win?

Guy Carbonneau

Probably the most sane choice of the bunch. He is the only Canadiens’ coach to gain over 100 pts in the past 18 seasons in Montreal. Very popular with the fans in the city and what could be his downfall – also allegedly very popular with the clubs around Montreal as well. He is associated with Bob Gainey which is bad yet he is no longer speaking to Bob Gainey which is good if he hopes to regain the coaching job. Bergevin and Carbonneau played their youth hockey in Quebec and come from the same era. This may help Guy get the job. Sheesh – the guy won with Kovalev on the team! Credit is due …

Patrick Roy

If a vote was held tomorrow in Montreal for a new mayor – Patrick Roy would get the job and he is not even a politician …

If M. Roy did not possess a winning attitude, M. Hartley, M. Crawford and M. Perron would not be Stanley Cup winning coaches. His ego and winning attitudes are legendary and dangerous. Roy wins when he can control situations and loses when he cannot. To be named as a rookie head coach in Montreal, Bergevin must understand Roy’s intentions. Roy must commit to Montreal and not have his heart in Quebec. Roy and Bergevim must also come to a very strict understanding about who is boss and where.

As an opponent and journeyman – Bergevin is well aware of Roy’s reputation. He probably knows better than anyone in the Habs organization the real stories of Roy. The ones the Habs were not privy to. Roy’s passion is what the Habs require – Roy’s passion is what the Habs do not need right now. Good luck Marc Bergevin …

The Result?

The great thing about Bergevin being hired is the fact he has never been part of the Canadiens’ organization. He has a mind of his own that was formed outside of the madness.

M. Bergevin did not arrive in Montreal and think about taking the job without ideas in his head. These ideas were talked about in his meeting with Molson and Savard. The Habs’ brass obviously enjoyed listening to Bergevin or else the Hawks’ former assistant G.M would be walking in the Windy city right now with his wife.

He could fool everyone and bring in some guy who is not on the top of the gossip lists in Montreal.

Someone like Joel Quenneville …?

Shooting stars never stop
Even when they reach the top
Shooting stars never stop
Even when they reach the top

Frankie Goes to Hollywood

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