Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Habs’

Bob Gainey, now a former Montreal GM.

The stepping down, or aside, whichever way you look at it, of Bob Gainey from the Habs GM post sure did come as a surprise.

He looked tired and relieved all at the same time. He is one of Montreal’s all time great players and his resumé as GM is not all that bad. The team has been a winner under him but in a city where it is the Stanley Cup or bust, he could not meet lofty expectations. Let’s remember that he has not decimated this team like other former Habs have when in power, such as Rejean Houle and Mario Tremblay.

He did make some confounding and frustrating decisions. Bringing back Brisebois, losing Mark Streit and Mark Komisarek were among them. However, what I think ultimately undid his tenure was not his faith in Carey Price, his draft pick who is slowly developing and adjusting to NHL life but his faith in Alex Kovalev.

His long walk and talk with Kovalev a few summers back to entice Kovalev to stay and be the key cog in the Hab engine really did screw him in the end. As per his resumé, Kovalev proceeded to have a great season followed by a crap one. The same mantra always applies to Alex, one of the most talented players in the game but an enigma to coach. Kovalev and the example he set and the reported strife he caused in the lockerroom vis-à-vis leadership and Saku Koivu could not be ignored. The Habs hitched their wagon to “The Enigma” and it frustratingly stuttered and stalled along the way.

Bob Gainey, at left, Larry Robinson and Mats Naslund, my 1986 Cup memories include Gainey's key leadership.

Something was amiss last year when Gainey axed Carbo as coach. The move just did not make sense. Two former close teammates with a shared history beyond their playing days, once mentor and student as well, it seemed like a bond which could not be broken by a team not producing but it apparently did. Today, on a Toronto sport radio show, Carbo said that his firing was an “un-Bob” like move and now that we see Pierre Gauthier taking the mantle and Jacques Martin as coach, the dominoes become clearer to see.

We now have a former Senators GM at the helm with the coach he brought in, when they were in Ottawa, to help right the Ottawa ship. How long has all this been brewing behind the scenes?

I like Gainey’s gutting of the squad this past off-season, it is was bold and needed. If not for some injuries, all the free agents would have been able to give even more positively to the team’s fortunes. Camalleri has worked out as has Gionta, Gill and Spacek. Gomez, if not for his price tag, would be an ok pick up as well.

Gainey has given his life to the Habs and the man himself must be remembered for all he has endured recently. He lost his wife to cancer in 2005 and the his daughter at sea in an accident in 2006.

He now can live his life, we can hope and live it with the spotlight he wishes to shine on the things nearest and dearest to him-which is all we can wish for one of the greatest Habs of all time.

Take care Bob.

Au revoir et bonne chance Bob.

Read Full Post »

Lordy, lord, it has been a long time since I last stepped in this place.

What can I say, the horror and disappointment of last year’s Habs season left me never wanting to return….until the Free Agent Frenzy happened.

So, after the dust settled from yesterday’s mad-signing dash we do have a different looking team, is it better? Well, it is different and somewhat better but with a whole bunch of caveats.

Scott Gomez is a fine addition but is overpaid at $7 million and losing Higgins hurts, he was one of our few forwards who actually showed up in the playoffs and played with some sandpaper in his game. Shame to lose him but Gomez helps us down the middle- though we are still missing a big centreman and this will kill us, once again. Watch Higgins haunt us like Ryder did with Boston, LeClair did with the Flyers…etc. etc.

Free agent signings of Brian Gionta and Mike Camilleri are good signings but once again, a caveat or two. I’ve been a fan of Camilleri’s since his days with the Kings and he did have a breakout year last with the Flames…if he snipes anywhere near 35 goals again is the only way to measure him as a success this year.

Gionta… he is small…tiny by NHL standards, but he once sniped 40 with Gomez in New Jersey but the past two seasons…he has not been great (same with Gomez) – may be reuniting them will spark their games to where they were two years ago when the last played together. Considering the systems they played under in New Jersey, playing for Jacques Martin should not be problem. Also, though Martin likes defence, his skilled forwards always put up solid numbers, which bodes well for Gomez, Gionta and Camillieri, let alone “The Enigma” known as Alex Kovalev.

These three players are an improvement over what we have up front. I am thoroughly convinced that neither of the Kostitsyns and Plekanec are top line material, not even close and “The Enigma” is too much to bear as the lone genuine sniper- now he will have some kind of support.

To round out the forwards, I am sad to see Saku Koivu and Tanguay go. Saku gave a lot to the community and the team but his performances were looking tired as was his output. Tanguay was a one year project spoiled by an injury, we will miss his speed and skill. I am still uncertain on the future of Robert Lang – anyone hear anything?

I am still too ticked off about losing Komisarek to the Leafs to write about the moves on defence right now but I will say this, I have no issues with Spacek or Gill and I think they are an improvement over Brisebois and O’Byrne.

 

Read Full Post »

So the Maple Leafs managed to not embarrass themselves and defeated the defending Stanley Cup champions Detroit Red Wings to open the season. Oh boy! Oh boy! I can hear the car’s honking their horns right now.

The Red Wings looked sluggish, Toskala made some big saves and the Laughs actually executed defensive coverage- Wilson should be happy, now let’s see how the rest of the season goes. However, Don Cherry needs his head checked the way he raved about the Leafs after the game. I still get a good kick out of Don, but less as I grow older and sometimes his hockey-know-how is impressive but last night, his gushing over one win was embarrassing to watch.

Let the Habs begin their roll- their Drive for 25 in 200 – with a strong win in Buffalo!

Read Full Post »

If I get a full house Mats, you are Hab, enough said.

If I get a full house Mats, you are Hab, enough said.

Mats Sundin has not made up his mind. Does anyone really care anymore? The return of Mats has plagued Leaf Nation all summer and it sounds like it will go on for a few months still.

On the Fan 590 this morning, Mats ended up on the phone thanks to Nick Kypreos who was at the Big Swede’s cottage in Sweden. Kipper was there to film an interview with Mats which will run this Sunday on Sportsnet’s hockey preview show.

What did Mats say on the radio? That at some point he will return to Toronto because he has a home here. Come on Mats, just sell the damn house and join the Habs…please…pretty please?

If you need to know how you would look in our beloved Blue, Blanc and Rouge, look below:

The red brings out your eyes Mats, the ladies say so...i swear...sooooo...you joining us now?

The red brings out your eyes Mats, the ladies say so...i swear...sooooo...you joining us now?

Read Full Post »

After 34 years of living among Leaf Nation as a Habs Fan, some things just need to be made clear. The delusion of the Maple Laugh followers, who think each year could be “THE YEAR” the Stanley Cup is coming back to the Big Smoke, has gone from comical to just plain sad over the years.

1967 was a long time ago folks and the Habs, let alone many other expansion teams, have managed to capture the Holy Grail of hockey at least once. Blame Ballard. Blame Stavro. Blame Peddie and MLSE. Anyway you spin it, the Leafs have been laughable for a long time.

Now that the niceties are out of the way, here are some things which are facts that the Leaf Nation fail to grasp:

1. The Montreal Canadiens, Les Glorieux, are the New York Yankees of hockey, NOT the blue and white, but mostly black and blue, Maple Leafs. Obviously, most Leaf fans and spinsters failed math- the Habs have won 24 Stanley Cups, more than any other NHL team, Toronto has 11. The Yankees have 26 World Series titles, more than any other baseball team. End of argument.

Start counting them..1..2..3..4...

Start counting them..1..2..3..4...

 2. The Habs have won 10 Stanley Cups since the league expanded beyond six teams..the Leafs have won none.  This is just another stat to stop this insane talk that Toronto is the ultimate “hockeytown”, the ultimate franchise, the Yankees of hockey. Ahem…winning nothing in 41 years is nothing to be proud of.

 

A tribute? More like a memorial to something not happening again anytime soon.

A tribute? More like a memorial to something not happening again anytime soon.

3. The Habs would have defeated the Leafs in the 1992-93 playoffs if they had met in the final. Please get over the fact that poor carrot-top referee Kerry Fraser did not call a penalty on The Great One when he clipped “The Killer” – Doug Gilmour. If you were good enough to have the Kings on the ropes that year, and not able close the deal in Game 6 or 7 of the semifinal, there is no one to blame but yourselves. Even if you had made the final, no one could have stopped Patrick Roy and his incredible goaltending that playoff season. The man was on a crusade to deliver the Habs another cup and another Conn Smythe trophy for himself. Do you really think Felix Potvin could have out-duelled Patrick? Roy notched 10 straight overtime wins and…oh ya- helped lead the defeat of the same Kings the Leafs could not put away in seven games.

 

Hey mom, look what I got, says Roy.

Hey mom, look what I got, says Roy.

4. One of your recent great captains, Doug Gilmour, looked way better in a Habs uniform than he did in a Leafs one. I said “look” before some of you have a heart attack or throw something at your monitor. I do not deny he owned Toronto while here, but the Hab uniform sure looked sweet on him and he was an inspirational leader the one year with Montreal as Saku was out battling stomach cancer.

The Killer in a Habs uniform.

The Killer in a Habs uniform.

 5. Kirk Muller should be referred to as a former Hab, not a former Leaf, he helped lead the Habs to that 1992-93 cup and had some of his best years in Montreal.

 

6. The Leafs blew it as it concerns Vincent Damphousse. One of their best draft choices in the 1980s- Toronto gave up on him after one year and dealt him to Edmonton. He produced every where he went and by the time he hit Montreal, becoming captian there, yup, you guessed it, he helped the blue, blanc and rouge to the 1992-93 cup.

Thanks for the help Vinny!

Thanks for the help Vinny!

7. It is cheaper for Leaf fans to see a Habs-Leafs game in Montreal than here in Toronto, a sad state of affairs. You want to go to Montreal anyway, because the fans are passionate and involved in the game more than they ever are in Toronto. Don’t get me wrong, there are great Leafs fans, they problem is they have been priced right out of the building. Also, the night life and food in Montreal is way better anyway.

 

8. The Habs are the classiest organization in hockey. They retire the numbers of their great players and do not just “honour them”. Also, the Habs care about their relations with the past, the Leafs are slowly getting to it but look at the damage done to Dave Keon and the Darryl Sittler in the past.

Big Bird Larry Robinson gives a wave when his #19 was retired. New Jersey boss Lou Lamoriello is on the right, including him was a classy move, you cannot expect any less from the Habs.

'Big Bird" Larry Robinson gives a wave when his #19 was retired. New Jersey boss Lou Lamoriello is on the right, including him was a classy move, you cannot expect any less from the Habs.

 9. Habs fans sing “ole, ole, ole” because they are FANS and get involved in the game. Montreal cannot help their European roots and it beats sitting on your hands and being egged on by a monitor to cheer for your team. It does not matter that it used to be a soccer chant, it is a sporting chant and it beats the call of “Argooooos” at any Leaf game you go to. Also, I guess it has been so long since Leaf fans celebrated anything, that they forgot what a celebration entails.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »