Patrick Roy as Habs GM? Say It Ain’t So!

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The setting is 1985. The Montreal Canadiens have their farm team in my hometown, Sherbrooke, Quebec. They have a line-up of good young players, a blend of speed, skills and character. Coached by Pierre Creamer, the baby Canadiens sneaked into the playoffs through the back door with a 37-38-5 record… until the team called up a couple of junior aged players once their team was eliminated, to join for a Calder Cup run. In those ranks, there was a young prospect goaltender who had just finished his junior career with a 5.55 goals against average for the Granby Bisons of the QMJHL. 

That young goaltender was Patrick Roy, in case such details slipped your mind. With the help of other junior aged player Stephane Richer, Roy was instrumental in the playoffs, stealing the job from young veteran Greg Moffett (who?) in leading the team to the AHL supremacy, bringing the Calder Cup to Sherbrooke. I know, I was a young man in the stands, cheering him on.

The following season, Roy defeated all odds and made the Canadiens’ team, along with other former Sherbrooke Calder Cup winners like Brian Skrudland, Mike Lalor and yes, Richer as well. We know the rest of the fairy tale story, as the Canadiens surprised the hockey world, led by none other than a young Saint-Patrick, to win four in a row after loosing the first game of the finals, against the Calgary Flames. My admiration for Roy was only starting…

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Michel Therrien was a member of the 1985 Calder Cup champions Sherbrooke Canadiens.

Then on December 2nd, 1995, my world came to a halt after seeing my idol walk behind the Canadiens’ bench after being pulled, only to walk back and tell team President Ronald Corey that he had played his last game in my favourite team’s uniform. My heart was crushed. How can the great Roy, the face of this era’s franchise, my successor to the great Ken Dryden, let the heat of the moment take over and make him take the decision to abandon his teammates, his team, his fans and by the same token, myself… because of a rooster fight between him and his head coach? How has that become MY fault, as I ultimately was the one paying the price?

Some claim that Roy went back to talk to Corey the next day to say that he regretted having done what he did, having said what he said. But for the Canadiens’ organization, the damage was done and they couldn’t go back. Roy had his temper tantrum on national television, in front of millions of viewers, and there was no going back on that. He was the team’s best player, but he was NOT bigger than the Montreal Canadiens.

Avalanche too

Hired as the team’s head coach and consultant to GM Joe Sakic, Roy had found another career in hockey, in the NHL, with the second team he’s only known. Avalanche fans loved him as much as I did way back when he was in Montreal. Then, when he found himself in a disagreement with his former teammate and boss, he waited until August, less than a month before training camp, to inform Sakic and the Avalanche that he was quitting his job with the team.

This left Sakic and the Avalanche in a huge bind, and rest assured that Roy knew it. Yet, the disagreement occurred well before then, during that summer’s NHL Draft. So why wait so long? Because Patrick does what Patrick wants and when things don’t go his way, Patrick pouts and seeks revenge. And I’m not going to go into his well documented domestic violence issues either, or his assault on Chicoutimi Sagueneens’ owner Pierre Cardinal

Roy is a hot head. I’m done with him, and I have been for a long time. If you think for a second that he’s the man to take over from Marc Bergevin one day, you are definitely not thinking straight. The guy is a nut case and when things don’t go his way, he picks up his toys and leaves, not giving a crap about you and what you think. He has displayed over and over again that he has a “Me, Myself and I” attitude and there is a reason why he hasn’t found work in the NHL’s tight circle. To me, the guy who once was my idol is dead. He was replaced by this horrifying individual whom I wouldn’t want my kids to look up to… as he’s as far a good role model as it gets.

So long Patrick, the Saint has been removed from your name a long time ago. Go Habs Go!

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Calling a Spade a Spade: Carey On!

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Stating that the Montreal Canadiens are up to a slow start of the 2017-2018 season would be like saying that Christmas will fall on December 25th this year… with the exception that everyone expected the winter holiday to fall on that date. While most hockey fans and media members will recognize that this team is better than what it has shown so far, a record of 3-7-1 after 11 games heading into tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators places them dead last in the Eastern Conference and this isn’t helping to keep the naysayers in the Habs’ fan base quiet.

There are several issues factoring into the Canadiens’ lack-lustered start to the season, none other more blatant than the team’s inability to put the puck in the opposing net. That is something that everyone around the NHL, fans included, expected team GM Marc Bergevin to address in the off-season. He did make a big move in hope to address that issue when he traded for Jonathan Drouin, but the loss of fellow Russian countrymen Alexander Radulov and Andrei Markov and their contribution has left it’s mark on the offensive side of the ice.

What is surprising however is seeing how many goals the Canadiens are allowing every game, considering that they count, in their line-up, on the best goaltender in the World in Carey Price. The Habs have already allowed 19 more goals to the opposition than they have scored, and they can thank the Arizona Coyotes for allowing them not to be the worst in the NHL in that department. In fact, the team is third worse in the league by allowing a whooping 3.82 goals per game while sitting dead last in the NHL, scoring only two goals per game. Do the math and you have the results we’re seeing right now.

Carey On

It would be very unfair to pin point the goals against solely on goaltending, although it would also be irresponsible to ignore that it has been a contributing factor. Every single team in the NHL pays their franchise players top dollars and they should be expecting them to perform as such and in Price’s case, he’s simply not so far this season. In his first ten games, heading into tonight, Price’s goals’ against average sits at an uncharacteristic 3.64 and his saves percentage (.883) is well below what would be considered NHL respectability level.

As the team’s back bone, Price must find a way to up his game, to find his “Mojo”, to borrow a term from the infamous Austin Powers. And with the help of Stephane Waite, there should be no doubt that he will. Let’s just hope that he does before it becomes impossible for the team to climb back to playoffs’ contention.

Calling out the idiots

Canadiens’ fans and some media personalities covering the team are experts at proclaiming themselves as the most knowledgeable in the NHL yet, some of them are also experts at proving otherwise with their words and actions. We are seeing plenty of examples of that by reading The Montreal Gazette and reading comments on Twitter, which we can always avoid reading. But it’s when that behaviour is displayed for the world to see, on national TV, that it becomes shameful. Encouraged by the so-called media personalities or showbiz sports writers wannabes, those idiot fans start booing the back bone of their so-called favourite team, making the majority of this loyal fan base want to crawl into a hole in shame.

So to those who were at that game, in the stands, acting like idiots… Shame on you! Go find another team to “cheer” for! You don’t deserve to be called Habs’ fans as you are a real shame to those who know and understand the game. You put a black mark on this glorious fan base by acting like 3 year-olds having a temper tantrum in a public place for not getting their toy! This is totally unacceptable and I wish that those who heard them do that, standing or sitting beside them, would speak up and ridicule them for what they are: plain idiots! Fans can be frustrated and if they want to boo the team, fine, it’s their right. But booing an individual player, whoever he is, particularly the best player on their supposedly favourite team… it’s idiotic! Period. To borrow a very classy man’s own quote, back when similar idiots were booing Patrice Brisebois every time he touched the puck:

“We don’t need those people, we don’t want those people, they’re jealous people, yellow people. I think they’re a bunch of gutless bastards, to be honest. … Our message to them is to stay away, we don’t need you.” ~ Bob Gainey

If you know anything about Gainey the player, the man, you will realize and understand the weight and importance of those words. But something tells me that those idiots can’t recognize their face from their backends, so expecting them to respect our franchise’s legends is way too much to ask.

Worse, it’s not the first time that Price has to go through such humiliation from those who are supposedly “supporting and cheering” for this team. In a Patrick Roy moment, we clearly remember Price raising his arms in the air in yet, another shameful time.

And we know what happened to St. Patrick, who asked for a trade and ended up giving the Colorado Avalanche their two Stanley Cups. Some self-proclaimed “most knowledgeable fans” seem to be suffering from severe memory loss… or lack of grey matter.

To those who follow this blog regularly, you will know that I call a spade a spade and that I’m not writing as a popularity contest, that I will call out those who I feel are out of line. I do recognize that I am out of line by the way I am calling out the boo birds and to you, readers, I apologize for this uncharacteristic outburst. But I am not willing to remove, edit or abstain myself from putting it down for all to read, at least not this one time. As Gainey has done in the media back then, it needs to be said, it needs to be heard, and it needs to be nipped in the bud not just by me, but by every other Habs’ fan feeling ashamed by the behaviour of a few rotten apples.

With all of that being said, most Montreal Canadiens’ fans are classy, knowledgeable individuals who can criticize what they don’t like and see the positive in things just as well. They understand that while they are passionate, they don’t get personal in their attacks towards the team, the administrators or the players. For that, I am grateful to be part of this fan base and all together we can chant our “GO HABS GO!“.