The struggles continued for the Habs this week,
as they picked up just 1 of a possible 6 points, falling to the 8th and final
playoff spot, holding on for dear life. The Bulldogs fared better, winning
a pair of their 4 contests as they move closer to clinching a playoff spot.
This week, a double final thought addresses Pierre Boivin’s comments as well as
looking at the language situation for the coaches, plus the grades, in the
8.00 to 10.00:
I) Stars/Superstars playing at or above performance, salary, and role expectations.
II) Above average players producing beyond performance, salary, and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering well beyond performance, salary, and role
7.00 to 7.75:
I) Stars/Superstars playing below performance, salary, and role expectations.
II) Above average players producing at performance, salary, and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering beyond performance, salary, and role expectations.
I) Stars/Superstars playing far below performance, salary, and role expectations.
II) Above average players producing below performance, salary, and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering at performance, salary, and role expectations.
I) Stars/Superstars playing outrageously below performance, salary, and role
II) Above average players producing far below performance, salary, and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering below performance, salary, and role
Kept the Habs in it vs the Sens, and although a couple of the goals vs the Leafs
were shaky, he wasn’t all that bad most of the time either. (Previous:
Arguably the only reason the Habs got a point vs the Rangers, but also the only
reason they didn’t get 2. As for the Ottawa game, I…don’t want to talk
about it. (Previous: 8.75 Average:
I was impressed with both of his outings, he played reasonably well even
defensively – or perhaps he wasn’t as glaringly bad as the others… (Previous:
You could make the case that he scored on his own net (although it still
should’ve been stopped), but I was impressed with the intensity he brought on
the back end. (Previous: 6.75 Average:
Even quieter than normal this week – that’s quite the accomplishment when you
consider the fact that rarely do you see or hear him lately. (Previous: 7.00 Average:
He was the only regular defender who brought the most upside in the offensive
game on a regular basis. (Previous:
His uni-dimensional PP abilities are becoming glaringly evident now. At
least he was better defensively than last week. (Previous:
I see signs of improvement, then he takes a stupid penalty. Baby steps are
better than anything I suppose, but at this rate he’ll be up to par with last
year’s effort sometime in the 2018-19 season. (Previous:
Well, at least he’s not one of the many free agents the team has this
summer…or is that even a good thing? Not lately. (Previous:
6.50 Average: 6.98)
9.00 Goes 7 weeks with just 1
goal, then pops 3 in as many games – it’s about time he rediscovered his
offensive touch. (Previous:
His return brought about some instant dividends, not only through his own
production, but his linemates’ as well. (Previous:
7.25 Reunited with Latendresse
and Lapierre led to the revival of his play too. Curious that his ice time
was cut at the same time. (Previous:
6.75 He’s playing a little
less, and looks a little more energized as a result, particularly with his play
along the boards. (Previous: 6.50 Average:
6.75 Invisible offensively, but he
was one of the few forwards who backchecked on a regular basis this week. (Previous:
6.75 Hardly played, hardly
accomplished anything. Given the struggles this week, this is sadly above
6.50 I’m a little surprised to
see him sat down so regularly, as his play hasn’t been all that bad lately. (Previous:
With the exception of the Toronto game, I didn’t think he was as bad as
people suggest. (Previous:
6.50 Wound up with a pair of
points, but failed to capitalize on a myriad of opportunities. He’s been
back a few weeks now, time to kick it into gear. (Previous:
6.50 Unlike the other enforcer, at
least there’s a modicum of actual hockey skills…at times. (Previous:
6.25 Came crashing back to
earth, making a giant thud along the way. Let’s hope this isn’t a
permanent return to his early season form. (Previous:
6.25 I hate to say it, but it
looks as if the passion and drive was lacking this week – fatigue I’m sure
played a part in it, but it’s still unacceptable. (Previous:
If it wasn’t for the laughable attempts to actually catch players, I
wouldn’t have even known he was playing. (Previous:
5.75 Lack of hustle, energy,
and production – to borrow the old baseball adage, 3 strikes and you’re out. (Previous:
Hamilton came back down to earth this week, but
their still depleted roster still managed to pick up a couple of wins and took
5/8 points along the way.
3 Stars: 1) Desharnais – HAM 2) Trotter – HAM 3) Painchaud
3 Stars: 1) Eriksson – QC 2) Irving – QC 3) Chucko – QC
3 Stars: 1) Skinner – CHI 2) Denis – HAM 3) Denny – CHI
3 Stars: 1) Santorelli – MIL 2) Franson – MIL 3)
Desjardins – HAM
Goaltending was key for the Dogs this week, as
both Cedrick Desjardins and Marc Denis were on top of their games. At
least someone’s goaltending was consistently good this week…
Goals: Glumac (31)
Assists: Lehoux (37)
Points: Lehoux (54)
+/-: Chipchura/Jancevski (+23)
PIMS: Stewart (170) (Active leader: Flinn – 120)
March 24: San Antonio vs Hamilton
March 27: Hamilton vs Manitoba
March 29: Hamilton vs Manitoba
Canadiens President Pierre Boivin continued his
seemingly annual tradition of putting his foot in his mouth with yet another
inopportune comment this week. As virtually everyone knows already, he has
stated that the next coach must speak French, and that the team will do
its best to acquire a local star player in the offseason. I won’t get into
the discussion about the actual comments themselves (that’s for this week’s
Final Thought), but there’s still plenty of problems here. First off, the
media was finally starting to move away from the Anglo-Franco coach debate, why
anyone with half a brain would make a comment to restart the discussion is
beyond me. Doing so while the team is in the midst of a losing streak?
Sheer idiocy at its finest.
Add to that the comment about what the team is going to try and do this
offseason makes it the good old fashioned double whammy. Last I checked,
Bob Gainey was still the GM (and coach) of this team, and that team presidents
usually didn’t venture into discussions about who to acquire (unless you’re a
fan of Tampa Bay of course). By claiming what he did, he ostensibly
undermined the authority of Gainey, who as I just mentioned, is the coach!
Don’t think that this doesn’t affect the players any – as they now question just
how much power their supposed leader actually has. Is Gainey now just a
puppet? The thought crossed my mind and from reading the message boards,
I’m not the only one. It’s not unrealistic to assume the same thought
crossed a few players minds as well.
Don’t get me wrong, Boivin has done a tremendous job in terms of marketing the
team and its centennial. But once again, his venturing into discussing
on-ice matters has me banging my head in frustration (and I’m sure I’m not the
only one). Success in any organization comes from people sticking to their
strengths. Time and time again, we’ve seen him comment on matters that are
either untimely, unnecessary, or both. Success starts from the top, and
after this week’s comments, I feel a little less confident. Stick to your
strengths Pierre, and let the hockey department make the decisions about who to
hire and who to acquire.
Now, onto the nature of hiring a
French-speaking coach at all costs. (I’ll stay away from the discussion of
acquiring a star local, with the exception of stating that saying your
intentions this early has teams with players of that ilk salivating to try and
force overpayment on Montreal’s end – another smooth move there, Pierre).
I can understand the desire of the fans (and media) for wanting a coach who can
converse in their local language, but to make it a job requirement seems
unnecessary and outlandish to me.
To me, a true fan wants his team to succeed with the best people in the
organization possible. I’d rather have a team that can win the Cup, rather
than have a bunch of people and players that speak French, aren’t as talented,
and can’t make it past the 2nd round. The organization has an obligation
to the fans to put their best foot forward with their on-ice product and it
should stop there.
It bothers me greatly as a fan that I know that there are many people out there
who would disagree with this assessment. Don’t get me wrong, I have no
problems with a sense of civic pride and what have you, but last I checked,
hockey is a sport and not a political issue. In Montreal, it’s a
combination of both, and that’s not a good thing.
As a fan, I want the best coach for my team, regardless of how well he can say
the phrase, "Price sera devant le filet demain soir." I certainly do want
him to be able to communicate, but to me the priority is doing so with the
players, not the media or the fans. The latter pair should be secondary,
no matter what.
Granted, many Quebecers don’t speak English, but the fact is, many other
Canadiens fans don’t speak French either. The reality is though, there’s
ways to deal with the language issues, that’s what translators are for.
Rather than having a head coach that can speak French, what’s wrong with an
assistant? Heck, you can make the case that having one of the assistants
handle one of the daily pressers is a good thing as it would be less of a strain
on the head coach.
I don’t want anyone to take this as a shot at francophone fans, and if anyone
feels slighted by this I do apologize, I mean no ill intentions. But I
couldn’t care less about how having a unilingual coach who only speaks English
makes life harder, particularly for the media – you folks choose to cover the
team, if you don’t like it, go cover something else. As for the fans, too
bad, you can’t please everyone. For years now, the team has overlooked
many other English-only speaking coaches to bring in unqualified francophone
candidates instead. (I won’t even get into the debate about whether the
bilingual coach should be from Quebec or not). Tremblay, Vigneault,
Therrien, Julien, and now Carbonneau – it didn’t work, why beat a dead horse?
Try going the other way, and if the only inconvenience you have is having to
read a translation at the bottom of the screen, it is not the end of the world
as you know it. Just think, many fans of the team have gone through this
on a regular basis for years now.
Of course, I’d love for a fully bilingual qualified candidate to be available
(you can debate amongst yourselves if Bob Hartley is qualified or not).
That way, everyone’s happy and there shouldn’t be too many issues. But
life isn’t perfect. In my opinion, a true Montreal Canadiens fan will want
the best coach available in terms of his hockey skills and not his language
skills. To those who feel otherwise, it might not hurt to think about why
you’re cheering for this team in the first place because it doesn’t sound like
it’s solely for the on-ice product. (And for the record, I have no
problems with the team hiring an anglophone coach and then working with them to
try and learn the language – I think it’s a great idea myself).
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