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Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Irony Of Hab Fans



There is nothing in life that we Hab fans want more than to win a Stanley Cup. If we could win in the Finals by beating the Bruins or the Leafs, the victory would be even sweeter. Fans old enough to remember the Toe Blake (coached) years of 5 cups in a row will remember that 2 of them were against the Leafs and 2 were against the Bruins. During the Scotty Bowman years, the '77 and '78 Cup wins came against the Bruins. I was a child in the 50s and hate was not a sentiment I had mastered. Children are just thrilled that their team has won. They don't delve into the details of the opponents and their moral and ethical shortcomings. By the 1970s, as a young man in my 20s, I had developed strong opinions on matters from the Vietnam war to the treatment of blacks in the US. I had now mastered hate towards the perpetrators of injustice. Once you master that sentiment, it is easy to redirect it. I can't remember a sweeter feeling than what I experienced in '77 and '78 after Les Glorieux had defeated the hated Bruins.

Will the Habs 'ever' win another Cup? 'Ever' is till I die. I have no proof that the world will exist after my demise. If someone had told me there would be no Stanley Cup parade in Montreal for 21 years, I would have paid more attention to the last Cup win. I assumed that with Serge Savard at the helm, Roy in nets, a big goal-scoring power forward like Leclair in the fold and skilled centres like Damphousse, Carbonneau and Denis Savard and players like Bellows. Leeman, etc. and a solid D corps with Desjardins, Brisebois, Rob Ramage, Odelein etc. Stanley Cups would be making at least a couple more visits to Montreal. Boy was I wrong!

We Hab fans have to give up what we love and know in order to win the Cup again. Firstly, we cannot win unless we lose badly and often. The rewards are great. You get generational talents like MacKinnon, Stamkos, Toews, Kane, Hall,Seguin, etc. at entry level contract money. We must sacrifice the players we love (in trades) who bloomed too fast, in order to fill the needs of a team that is capable of winning the Cup. We need to trade away players like PK Subban and Price (both of whom are peaking when the team is ill-equipped to go all the way), Markov and Plekanec who keep us respectably in the middle of the pack  but would be too old by the time this team is a contender, We do this in order to acquire what we need...a big highly skilled centre or 2 and a couple of big high-scoring wingers. A team that is well-coached defensively needs no superstars on the blue line (especially one that has a cap hit of $9M) or in net. The Preds may have Shea Weber but they will never have a Cup. The Canes won with Ward, Tampa with Khabibulin, Chicago with Antti Niemi, Detroit with Osgood, Pittsburgh with Fleury, Boston with Thomas. We can agree that none of the aforementioned goalies will be in the HOF. Cup winners need HOF goalscorers. There is a definite dearth of them on the Habs.

The Canadiens no longer need to be the spiritual driving force for an entire province of French Canadians who felt exploited and disenfranchised by the English. That group has not existed for several decades. The Province of Quebec does not need to see French players streaking down the ice and blasting a big shot into the net in order to feel their lives and culture have relevance and value. The French speaking people of Quebec are a very powerful and affluent group in Canada. We don't need to deliver to them players like Briere, Desharnais, Parenteau, Bouillon, Bournival, Bourque (namesake only)...the Habs don't need to convince the fan base that they are always seeking ways to bring Vinnie into the fold. French players don't want to play for the Habs. They hate the thought of it; until they are worthless to every other team and the Habs are willing to pay them $4M per for 4th line minutes. Name the top 50 players in the NHL and count the number of French Canadians on that list.

In order to win the Cup, we fans need to change what we love about hockey. We need to admire bone crunchers like Lucic, Getzlaf, Pronger, etc. We need to re think how the game should be played. Small and skilled, no matter how fast, will never ever win in the NHL. Reway, Hudon, Andrighetto, Gallagher, Lehkonen, Desharnais and the like that the Habs have in their system are skilled and entertaining but are never going to win you a Stanley Cup. Herein lies the irony. We fans love the thought of watching these types of players hoisting the Cup wearing the big CH because fast, skilled hockey played by Cournoyer and Pocket Rocket and Mondou and Provost and Moore and Geoffrion, (none of whom was bigger than 5' 10") is what we grew up watching and loving. At one time it worked for the Habs and we fans got to see multiple Cup parades. Sadly, it does not work any more. The fans and management need to decide whether they want things done the 'winning way'or the 'Canadiens' way. Ironically, those two are mutually exclusive.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

While most people can't argue that a team doesn't need 9 million dollars on the blue line it doesn't mean we can't be successful with P.K.

If the kid starts putting in 30+ goals a year then whats the difference between production coming from the blue line or a winger?

And historically the Habs have always had good goalies in addition to having high scoring up front. I agree that we need to produce more and we should get rid of our small guys but that doesn't mean we should sacrifice the goaltender!

Man Of La Mancha said...

To Anonymous: I doubt that under Therrien's system PK will pot 30 goals. He and Price have blossomed too soon and they will bring serious talent back in trades as will Markov and Pleks. You need a 'good' goalie not a 'best in the world' goalie if you have an offensive team. Even the best goalie in the world can have a bad stretch and if it's at the wrong time like during the Ottawa series it's over. Goodnight Irene. 3 or 4 goal scorers can help a team make it through a bad stretch by your goalie. Check out how many goals Dryden was letting in against the Blackhawks in the 1971 Finals but the Habs still managed to outscore the Hawks. The Habs could have beat the Rangers last year if they could have scored a few goals. Tokarski was adequate after he got his feet wet. The Habs just could NOT score. The Habs are good at finding goalies. We gave away Kari Rammo to the Flames as a throw in. We have Fucale in the system. Reimer is a very good goalie who needs a decent team in front of him and could be had for cheap. Goalies perform better when the offence gives them a 1 or 2 goal cushion. I want to see the Habs win a Cup but the way they are going about it will yield no success. We're dreaming if we think PK and Price will bring a Cup to Montreal.







jamie said...

I believe with the new rules being introduced to the game favor's the smaller players. All the player that mentioned played in an obsolete NHL! Speed is now starting to dominate the day. If we can stay Trendy, which we are,we will be knocking on the door for a few years. I also believe Montreal has a number one center in Galchenyuk, we just need to be patient. Price and PK will be part of our chances to success, not trade bait!

H-Online said...

To Man Of La Mancha, thanks for the contribution to the site even though I don't necessarily agree it's cool to see someone else's opinion.

I think PK has a few years to make it or brake it for the Habs but I don't think he'll ever loose much value like you say. The kid is so young and same with Price, goalies and defensemen generally take longer to develop making them more peak at an older age. I think only time will tell, let this article go down in history!

Anonymous said...

utter nonsense.

Man Of La Mancha said...

Jamie... I hope the Habs don't believe the league and all these new rules. They should play the song 'Won't Be Fooled Again' by The Who on a constant loop at full volume in the Habs management offices. Gainey was conned by the league and stocked up on small skilled guys like Cammy and Gio and Diaz etc. There are NHL rules on the books and different rules on the ice and then another 100 pages of rules disappear during the playoffs. That's the reality you have to face and prepare for if you want a chance at winning the Cup. A multi-billion dollar pro sports league is controlled by a bunch of lunch-bucket incompetent refs and their moronic leader Campbell.

Man Of La Mancha said...

Jamie... I hope the Habs don't believe the league and all these new rules. They should play the song 'Won't Be Fooled Again' by The Who on a constant loop at full volume in the Habs management offices. Gainey was conned by the league and stocked up on small skilled guys like Cammy and Gio and Diaz etc. There are NHL rules on the books and different rules on the ice and then another 100 pages of rules disappear during the playoffs. That's the reality you have to face and prepare for if you want a chance at winning the Cup. A multi-billion dollar pro sports league is controlled by a bunch of lunch-bucket incompetent refs and their moronic leader Campbell.