We Are Not In Montreal Anymore Toto …


It’s a strange feeling.

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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 …?

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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.

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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 …

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The Habs; Same Old Song and Dance …


Everyone remembers Rodney Dangerfield?

That bombastic comedian who utilized all of his off-color remarks to their utmost potential. Gaining him a spot not just in Hollywood – in the comedic recesses of the comedy fan’s mind …

Well – he’s back!ffff

After all, have you ever seen Montreal Canadien coach Michel Therrien and Mr. Dangerfield together? Of course not. They are – one in the same …

Michel Therrien is ‘ Back to School‘. A return behind the bench with hockey’s most storied franchise ( unless you live in San Jose – the stories they have …).  Therrien is back and  pretty is not the proper description …

Saturday night, the first game of a season shortened by a lock -out which presumably made the rich richer and the hot-dog stand employees search for work –  a great sign of things to come. Status quo should be the numbers on the back of the bleu,blanc et rouge. La plus ça change – la plus c’est la meme esti colis de … never mind.

If the league gave championships for championship ceremonies, the Habs would win every year as they did when the league provided a silver cup along with French Canadians to this French Canadian team. Once again, the marketing boys proved behind the bench is the place for them . If the on – ice performances and the coaching staff could offer spine – tingling moments like Jean Beliveau holding a torch at the house that Corey built, banner makers in this city would be living on the beach four months a year. Instead, the assemblers of banners past, reside in dingy apartments in Park Extension. Holding material in their hands like a bride would hold her dress following a ditching at the altar.

The home team, Les Canadiens – amid pomp (ous?) and ceremony, played the game as if it were they – the visitors. Opposing teams, in the day of the Rocket, Lafleur and even Naslund, would arrive in this city with their respective two points already deposited in the Canadiens’ bank account on Atwater. A trip to Montreal for a visiting team was not about hockey. It was about the strip joints and the bars. Opposing players took the opportunity to play off – ice since the on-ice battle –  completed (and lost) once they stepped on the plane in their home town.

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Presumably, with a new slogan for this shortened hockey season, Habs’ management are attempting to get the ghosts to move from their cozy movie seats at the Forum. Unfortunately, the ghosts enjoy Tarantino’s flick much more than Therrien / Dangerfield’s  ‘Easy Money‘. Ironic? You betcha.  Because the current players begin a season ‘haunted’  with easy money in the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Easy money because the Habs roster –  filled with guys who will collect their paychecks amid Therrien’s antics. Shenanigans which will lead to more and more bizarre decisions on the part of the new / old coach. Decisions which will enable the players to skate around in a fog like last year. A fact which is none of Therrien’s fault.  He is the French patsy. A ‘how to you say goat in french’?

He is the French coach required to place a revolt in submission. Therrien’s face upon his introduction Saturday night –  a perfect imitation of Mario Tremblay circa la beginning of the ‘run the franchise into the ground’ era. Aka – the money years. Aka – WTF? Damphousse among the legends in the ceremonial ‘wake the ghosts’ ceremony?

Whether or not newly named General Manager Bergevin will see the errors of the team’s ways and avoid the old system as best he can – remains to be seen.

If he can bring a more modern approach to a team which has believed that the defensive style of 1968 is the way to go, the Canadiens will have a chance to compete.   Yet, at the same time,  if he ‘kills all the golfers’ – there will be no one around to play hockey.

Yup – he’s back! Now we know for certain – why tigers eat their young!

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The Half Man Won


The Montreal Canadiens have hired a new coach. Kinda …

It has been reported that Marc Bergevin will announce the Habs have hired Michel Therrien as the team’s thirty – first head coach. Or is it the squad’s thirtieth? Can a coach be counted twice …

Over the weekend, it was reported the candidates were down to two in Montreal. A pair because a half does not count.

Marc Crawford, Michel Therrien and Patrick Roy / Guy Carbonneau were left. The Habs brass, in their smart ways – opted for the half guy. If Therrien were a glass, he would not be full nor empty. Enough to quench the thirst of the French and not quite for the English, the Scotch or the Irish …

Therrien won the job because the Canadiens are haunted by their past. A legacy which – one by one, eliminated all the men who should have been given the task to steer the Habs to victory.

Carbonneau was the wise choice if the choice was his to choose. ‘Guy! Guy! Guy!’ was the final man to be behind the bench of an Eastern Conference Championship team based in Montreal. Carbo was French and he was well liked except by Bob Gainey. Gainey is gone to Dallas so what’s the deal? Why is a locker not being set up to house the former coach.

Carbonneau is attached to the Gauthier era though no fault of his own. In Bergevin’s view … too close for comfort. Cross off the former Canadiens’ captain from la liste. Comme ca …

Marc Crawford does not speak French very well and is still part of a Steve Moore lawsuit. Plus, his coaching credentials – as good as it gets. Scratch Crawford from la liste. Comme ca …

That leaves the best man for the job. The man who is instilling fear into everyone for the wrong reasons. Patrick Roy …

The Montreal Canadiens changed their upstairs staff. The Montreal Canadiens have forgotten how to win. The Montreal Canadiens do not want a winner behind the bench. Scratch Roy from la liste. Comme ca …

Get out your binoculars. Grab your stepladder. Who is that standing behind the Habs’ bench! It’s Michel Therrien – the half man.

The Canadiens hired a new coach. Kinda …

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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