Tonight’s game, as previewed in Montreal’s media :
What do you mean we’re doing too much?
Tonight’s game, as previewed in Montreal’s media :
What do you mean we’re doing too much?
I should be talking about the game, but there’s something else I want to mention first. The last few days have been a fine example of the worst tendencies of the media covering the habs. The story about Kovalev published yesterday by Marc de Foy is a perfect example of how things go wrong when journalists are too lazy to do their job properly, and too eager to get fresh news. It’s not a scoop that journalists feed each other, and that the media often looks like a snake biting its own tail (I don’t know if this means anything in English, but in French it would be “un serpent qui se mord la queue”, and it’s exactly what I want to describe). But this shows how it can go bad quickly.
Just look at how things happenend:
The story first broke out on the french speaking website ruefrontenac.com (which is the website created by the journalists of Le Journal de Montréal, currently on a lock out). There, Marc de Foy claimed to have spoken to a Russian friend of Kovy. According to this source, Kovalev blamed the young players for the problems of the team, and said he didn’t think he would play again for the Canadiens. Also, according to Marc de Foy, the same friend told that Kovy wouldn’t talk to the media until the situation is settled.
I found it a bit weird to think that Kovalev would tell this to a personal friend, and that this friend would then go to Marc de Foy immediately. But so far, the story is at least plausible.
Then the story gets picked up by RDS:
The key sentence here is “informateur russe”. The alledged Russian friend becomes an informer.
Then the story is reported by Habs Inside/Out, the habs devoted website run by the Montreal Gazette:
And suddenly, just like that, the Russian “informateur” turns into “Russian newspaper sources”.
So we have Habs Inside/Out reporting that RDS reports that Marc de Foy reports that “Russian newspapers sources” report that Kovalev blames the youngsters and won’t return to the team. Wow. This is amazing journalism.
But wait, it’s not over! The story then gets picked up by TSN. And finally, in a last (?) twist, on TSN, Darren Dreger gets his phone out of his pocket, and says he received an email directly from Kovalev, denying the entire story. Kovalev says he never spoke about his teammates and he wants to come back and play hard for Montreal. (here is the video)
Nice tie, Darren
Of course, Marc de Foy will say he still has faith in his source. I’m not saying he is wrong, I have no idea, and there’s no way to really know. It could really be a case of quick backpedaling from Kovalev. What I find really sad though, is how this little piece of info was picked up (and sometimes distorted) by the main news websites so rapidly, and without any further verification (you can’t really find bigger websites than RDS and Habs I/O when it comes to habs news).
About the game in Washington, now. I haven’t seen it, but apparently, it was good. And encouraging. That’s really what I was hoping for. Last night, the final result was almost less important than the manner. But tonight, it’s a bit different. This game in Pittsburgh will mean an awful lot. After a good team effort last night, it would be very good to see them win against a talented team clinging to its playoffs hopes.
Wow wow wow, so many things are happening, I can barely keep up with the news! Remember everybody, don’t come on this blog for earth-shattering news, here I only try to analyze things, with a delay (if posting photoshops qualifies as ‘analysis’, of course).
So, here is a summary of the drama unfolding in Montreal, in the last 36 hours…
- Schneider is traded for some picks. (It already seems it happened 3 months ago…)
- O’Byrne is sent down to Hamilton. Poor guy, I know he struggles this season, but he’s hardly the only one. In his case, he just pays for the fact he can be demoted without having to clear waivers.
- Some old pictures of the young habs partying last summer are used to illustrate the rumors that Price, Higgins and Sergei Kostitsyn are partying too much during the season. Jean Perron, a former coach, says he has good sources confirming this. Carbo rips him in his media meeting. (For the record, I think this is precisely the type of things that gives a bad reputation to Montreal and makes it harder for the habs to sign free agents. Price was understandably really upset about this ‘story’. Young players in every team go to bars sometimes. It just happens, deal with it.)
- Sergei Kostitsyn aka Little Tits also goes to Hamilton. His bad play, and his contract status (same as O’Byrne) are the reasons why he’s sent down. But it also gives a bit of momentum to the indiscipline rumors. Greg Stewart is called up.
- Gainey asks Kovalev to stay in Montreal during the upcoming two games road trip to Washington and Pittsburgh. Officially, Kovalex is supposed to “relax” and “stay away from the team” for a couple of days. Gainey says that given his current playing level, the team doesn’t need him right now. Ouch. Everyone thinks a trade is coming.
- HFboards almost explodes
- Right after his official declarations with the media, Gainey apparently goes off the record, and rips Tampa Bay about the Lecavalier trade rumors of late january. According to a radio, he said that it was Tampa that approached the Habs about a trade, and asked for the then rumored package of players. That’s the exact opposite of what the Lightning GM claimed at the time. Apparently, the trade talks eventually broke down, and Gainey is now quite unhappy with the Tampa Bay management. (my sources here? HFBoards. Yeah, that should give you a hint about the credibility of my blog!)
- And the biggest news of all: to the delight of many fans, Carey Price goes back to the white pads he was using before the slump, and gets rid of his apparently cursed new red pads.
This is way too much for my poor mind. I’m all confused.
I have no idea what to think about the Kovalev story. It really looks like he’s going to be traded now, but I’m not sure scratching him is the best way to increase his value… Also, is it a good move to get rid of your most talented player in the last part of the season (even if he’s underperforming)? I’m glad I’m not the habs GM today.
I don’t know what Carbonneau thinks of all this, but he looks frustrated as hell. At least, people don’t seem to be calling for his head anymore. But I liked his reaction in front of the media yesterday: after a series of questions about Kovalev, Kostitsyn, and the indiscipline rumours, there was a short silence. Then he smiled, and said: “Oh, by the way, we just got a new player!” I found it pretty funny. (you can watch the clip on the RDS website)
I know it probably won’t happen, but I’d like to see people in Montreal take a big breath and relax a little. Right now, I’m happy I’m not actually in Montreal, because I probably would be freaking out too. This is what I find really annoying with the habs: there are way too many journalists following the team, and way too many people ready to parade/riot/jump off buildings depending on the latest results of the habs. The dramatization of every little piece of habs related ‘news’ is really tiring.
So, I thought, let’s stop freaking out, and actually focus on, you know, the game! Because Montreal actually plays a game tonight, in Washington. And really, what better time to face the Capitals? I’m scared of this game, and I’m scared of the Capitals. And it looks like the players feel the same:
OMG! It’s a Cap! Right behind me!! I’m just gonna tiptoe away silently and hope he doesn’t see me…
AAAAAAAAHHH! He caught me! He caught me! Please don’t hurt me!!!
I feel like this bunny
What a depressing weekend… I’m not shocked by the sunday loss, and I can live with it. Even I can admit the Bruins are better than the habs right now, and Montreal is still trying to get out of its slump. So I think I could have been happy ok with an encouraging losing effort. And well, that’s pretty much what it was actually. Montreal certainly didn’t look completely dominated. The habs and the bruins played a very close game. Montreal got some scoring chances, and they never quit. Of course, the fact that Boston efficiently shut out the habs offense during most of the game was frustrating. But I really could have lived with this. Boston is the class of the East this season, and as much as it pains me, they deserve their first place.
But of course, this loss was really bad for two other reasons.
The most obvious one is the injuries suffered by Lang and Latendresse. Lats could miss a month. And Lang’s season is over. This is a huge blow. Nobody really expected this when Gainey signed him after he couldn’t land Sundin, but Lang had been one of the best habs this season, if not the best one. He was of course the scoring leader of the team, but his contribution was much more important than that. His perpetual communicative smile revealed a great enthusiasm. As a 38 years old soon to be UFA, this may very well have been his last game as a hab. And maybe even his last game in the nhl. Lang deserves a better exit. His absence leaves a big hole at center. I’m not really looking forward to see the habs going into the playoffs with only Koivu, Plekanec (who’s having a really ugly season), Lapierre and Chipchura. To make things even worse, it comes only one day after Gorges got injured after this now infamous Gauthier hit. Get well soon, Josh. The habs badly need you.
Oh nooo, Gorges is down!
The other reason why this game hurt is the Kovalev situation. Alex was benched for almost the entire third period. Today, half the journalists in Montreal (and that’s a lot…) want his head on a pike in front of the Bell Center. And worse of all, there are those persisting rumors about an unspoken rivalry between Kovy and Koivu in the dressing room. Kovy supposedly wants to be the leader of the team. Proponents of this theory point that the team is struggling again since Koivu is back from his injury. And of course, bipolar as they are, many habs fans are now proclaiming their disdain for Kovalev, and can’t wait to see him leave as a free agent in the summer. Now this really pisses me off. Those are the same fans who massively voted Kovy in the All Star Game starting lineup, and who cheered wildly when he was named MVP of the ASG, a freaking week ago. I have no idea about what’s going on in the dressing room, so I won’t speculate about this supposed rivalry. I just hope it’s another example of the montreal media sensationalism. But if there’s any truth to this, the habs are in deep trouble.
Well, sorry this sounded so serious, I just didn’t feel like making jokes today… It’s hard not to be a bit depressed, or at least frustrated about the situation. I don’t live in Montreal, so it was maybe easier for me not to get caught in the idea that the habs are bound to win the cup for their centennial. But still. The season was very promising. Not so much anymore. I’m still convinced Montreal will make the postseason. But an early exit now looks like a distinct possibility. I want to make clear that I’m not throwing in the towel. It would be completely stupid to give up on them now, because it’s only early february, and so many things can change until the playoffs. Every team gets through tough times at some point in the season. It looks like it’s now for Montreal. They have plenty of time to turn things around, and get healthy for the playoffs.
(one last word: the suicidal bunny picture comes from the great Book of Bunny Suicides, just in case you don’t know it yet. It’s really funny)