Price Quote: Chill Out!

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It comes a time in everyone’s life when you look back and find defining moments where you can point to as turning points, key experiences or decisions which made you who you are, moulded you into what you have become today. Those moments will sometimes have negative effects on some people but many times, they served as major steps, compass points guiding someone to become the person that they have become. In some cases, it allows you to become the best in your profession…

If the Montreal Canadiens had listened to their fans, Carey Price would be playing elsewhere than in Montreal today. Can you imagine? Thankfully, Bob Gainey and Pierre Gauthier did what Marc Bergevin did last summer and made decisions based on what they believed was for the good of the team, and not to appease the team’s fans and media. Today, few are second-guessing what were then, very controversial decisions.

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Many had given up on Price

Carey Price was tagged by many fans as “Le Joyaux”, the one who was preferred to Cristobal Huet and later, to a hot Jaroslav Halak. Traditional media and particularly social media were looking for new ways to put him down, finding pictures and/or stories of him partying it out late at night, in a way wanting him to flop at the expenses of the above-mentioned two goaltenders battling for a spot on the team with him.

Management did everything in their power to support Price. They brought in his mother from Anaheim Lake, B.C. to help him at his apartment. They brought in his then girlfriend and now wife Angela, mother of his daughter, to help settle him down. When he took over the team, Bergevin half-jokingly said that he would do Price’s grocery shopping for him if he had to, so he could avoid Montreal’s scrutiny. And guess what? Whatever the issue was, it obviously wasn’t as permanent as fans wanted to believe. Price matured and has grown into the man, the goalkeeper that he is today. And those same fans, while they might not admit it publicly, are thankful for that.

History repeats itself

This past summer, many fans and media were up in arms about Marc Bergevin’s decision to trade P.K. Subban for what they said, was a “declining” Shea Weber, who was even described by the advanced analytics’ crowd as an “average” defenseman. As most Habs’ fans never really paid attention to him before, playing in the Western Conference for a non-relevant (to them) team in Nashville, they bought the Kool-Aid sold to them by those disgruntled people.

Yet, while admittedly Subban is younger and will (or should) have an impact for longer than Weber, no one in their right mind today would dare saying that this trade was a bad one for Montreal.

In 15 games and over 380 minutes of ice time (at the time of writing those lines), the rugged defenseman has been on the ice for only two goals against at even strength. Weber is amongst the league leaders in ice time per game (9th), in plus-minus (1st) and in powerplay goals (1st). Amongst defensemen, he ranks first in goals (6) and is second in points (12).

Enjoy the ride

The Canadiens are up to a 13-1-1 record, sitting comfortably in first place in the NHL after missing the playoffs last year. They are 10-0-0 at the Bell Centre and Price has not lost a game in over a year! Oh don’t worry, they won’t keep that pace all season long, there is no doubt about it. But fans should just enjoy the ride, cheer their team on while they are doing well.

Fans should just trust Bergevin and his management team, who are still looking at ways to improve the team in spite of their hot start. Whether they are fans of coach Michel Therrien or not, they should be able to recognise that he’s not doing as bad of a job as they claim that he is, that he acknowledged that his team isn’t perfect and his handling of the media is what’s needed in this market.

Fans and media should follow the recommendation from “Le Joyaux”and… Chill Out! Go Habs Go!

 

Geoff Molson Sends Clear Message to Media

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Last season was difficult on everyone around the Montreal Canadiens. Whether it be the fans, the media, players, coaches, managers… and even on the owner. Everyone was justified to be disappointed, even frustrated with the way things went after league MVP Carey Price succumbed to what turned out to be a season ending injury.

The disgruntled only grew when Marc Bergevin and his team decided to cut ties with crowd pleaser P.K. Subban, even if all signs pointed towards the defenseman not being unanimous amongst his peers. It was a bold move, perhaps the boldest by a Habs’ GM since Pierre Gauthier then traded fan-favourite Jaroslav Halak and kept Carey Price instead. We all know how this story panned out.

However, many of my followers on Twitter are in agreement that some media, particularly those working in English, have increasingly upped the ante in what appears to have become a vendetta against current management, from coach Michel Therrien, to Bergevin and even cracks sent at the owner Geoff Molson for supporting the other two. Oh there’s nothing wrong about being critical, but there’s a line that was respected in the past that seems to have gone missing, or ignored by some of the members of the media around Montreal and that’s a shame.

As we’ve touched in a recent article, some media members are becoming fans instead of reporters, or so it seems. Their attacks come across as more personal and fans are left wondering if they’re watching a soap opera or reading about their favourite team. Les MisérHabs, I called them, feed on the fans’ ignorance of how a NHL team is being run and the realities faced by those involved. Those members of the media ignore (purposely I’m hoping otherwise it would make them just as ignorant) this reality for one reason: gaining popularity with a large group of fans active on social media.

You see, Twitter has now become the new radio talk shows where you phoned in to say whatever you wanted. I remember listening to some of the callers on those shows wondering about the level of education and even the intellect of those offering their thoughts. Twitter is the same, times 1,000 as they don’t need to get a phone line to speak up. They say what they want, when they want, however they want. Most times though, you will see that the most aggressive only go by a username without displaying their real name, which would bring them some accountability, getting laughed at at school, at work.

But I’m veering off here. This past week, here’s what Stu Cowan, from The Gazette, published on his Twitter account during an exhibition game at the Bell Centre:

At puck drop! Yes, every NHL rink announces the attendance… in the 3rd period! Remember folks, it’s an exhibition game. So let me ask you this: why would it be important to “report” that the rink isn’t full at puck drop? Why trying to make that point if not in a (lame) attempt at taking a shot at the organisation, hoping that the fans are sending a message?

Team President and owner Geoff Molson, who doesn’t get involved in discussions on Twitter, surprised many by posting this in reply to Cowan’s tweet:

Notice that Molson says “these things”? That’s likely because Cowan has been one of the most critical (and at times personal) in his comments towards the organisation, repeatedly “reporting” the glass half-empty side of each story.

It was misleading. Had Cowan just waited in the second or third period to report on the crowd size, Molson likely wouldn’t have replied. He focused on puck drop because it suited his agenda, to try to get his point across, or at least his hope that fans would prove his point.

I like to play devils’ advocate as much if not more than anyone but there is simply no defending what some of those media members are doing. Their job is to report and let the fans decide for themselves on what they want to believe. You see, reporters are slowly becoming bloggers, but they use their media outlets to push their own personal views on the fan base. They cater to those who share their point of view, taking reassurance that they must be right if others agree.

What Geoff Molson did here is very subtle, but the message to the media is loud and clear. Something tells me that if they ignore this warning, you’ll see some drastic changes in the way the Montreal Canadiens are interacting with (some) media. And I, for one, will applaud the initiative.