Archive for the ‘Bob Gainey’ Tag
So Gainey is gone.
After a night of sleep, I feel ready to write about this.
To begin with, I’ll miss Bob Gainey as a person. I like how he behaves, how he adresses the media, how he treats his players, and the sense of respect he has for the franchise. The Canadiens are everything to him. I also love his cold sense of humor. As everyone said yesterday, he’s a classy person, and one who deserves a good salute.
About Bob the GM, now, I think it’s fair to say that his record with the Habs is mixed. I’ve always trusted him, because I’ve always felt he’s a very intelligent guy, with a LOT of hockey knowledge. His best moves were not always flashy, and they sometime took time to pay dividends. Among those smart decisions: getting Kovy for Balej and a pick (admittedly his biggest move until last summer), trading Rivet for a first pick (Pacioretty) and Gorges, trading Garon to LA for Bonk and Huet (he got lucky with Huet on that one), getting cheap but very important veterans like Lang or Metropolit. The way he personally handled some difficult situations with his players also produced pretty good results (the famous old port discussion with Kovy before his best season as a hab, and the way he handled the Sergei K issue early this season are good examples) Some of the picks made under his tenure turned out pretty good too: Sergei K and Halak, drafted respectively 200th and 271st, are great examples of this.
But to be honest, over the last few seasons, some of the decisions he took started to shake my faith in him. Some of the things that bothered me a little didn’t actually happen: his bid for Brière missed, his pursuit of Marian Hossa at the trade deadline 2 seasons ago was unfruitful, and his attempted trade for Lecavalier failed. In the end, I think the Habs really dodged a bullet in all of those cases, but the fact Bob really tried to go for those players left me a little worried.
There are also some moves that I really disliked: trading Huet to Washington for a 2nd round pick comes first. I understand the idea that the Habs were going to lose Huet for nothing in the summer, but going into the playoffs with Price and Halak was indeed a mistake.
Associated with this is the whole Price question. I think Price is Gainey’s project. I like how Gainey has always defended Price. But the way Carey was thrown into the fire and the pressure put on him is really worrying. Bob is not entirely at fault here, because the pressure largely comes from the fans and the media, but I’m not sure the situation has been dealt with ideally so far, to say the least.
Then, of course, are the moves he made after last season. It was an admission that the team he had built over the last few seasons was going nowhere, and this is probably what surprised me the most. Of course, the most stunning and debated move was the acquisition of Gomez. Gomez is a pretty good player, and honestly his association with Gio and Pouliot is not disappointing. But the real problem, of course, is his contract. I think we’ll measure its real impact in the offseason. It’ll likely force the habs to make some tough decisions. Although the good thing about Gomer is that as long as he’s there, Lecavalier and his contract are not coming. Letting Koivu go was also a move I really didn’t like, although it’s true that Saku is past his best years now.
So yeah, the results are mixed. The habs often made the playoffs, but they never went very far.
All in all, it’s weird for me to imagine the habs sans Gainey. I became a real habs fan during his first season as a GM in Montreal. So he’s the only GM I’ve known. Seeing a new face is disturbing, because Gainey really fits with the image I have of how a GM’s supposed to be. For some weird reason, I’ve also come to think of Gainey as someone from the family. He’s like a good uncle. And because of this irrational attachment I developed for him, I’m actually pretty happy to see him leave that way. He chose the moment (or at least it seems), he had obviously a say in the choice of his successor. And most importantly, he stays in the Habs family. Knowing this really makes me happy.
[I wanted this post to be about Gainey and how I feel about him, so I’ll stop here. I’ll write another post, probably later today, about two things that seriously irked me yesterday during all the habs talk. Prepare for a stupid angry rant. :) ]
Sooo, what’s happening to the habs these days? Well, they lose, they lose and they lose. They get badly outshot every night, and the defense is seriously awful. But, apparently, all is not lost. They came back three times against the rangers last night, and never gave up (yeah, it’s not exactly a good sign the rangers were able to take the lead 3 times at the bell center, but shut up, I’m trying to be positive here!). Also, Price was great, once again. He is turning back into the goalie everyone wants him to be, and this is crucial for the habs.
I don’t really know what to think, to be honest. The habs are still in the hunt, and their play is apparently improving, so I guess there’s still hope. But at the same time, they haven’t been able to get many points during this important stretch of home games. So far, Gainey is 1-1-2 as a coach. This is not a good enough pace. If they want to make the playoffs, and make some noise there, they’d better get some points now. Because if they have to face the bruins or the devils in the first round, the postseason could be short and ugly.
So anyway, instead of focusing too much on the habs results, let’s speak about something else for a while: Gainey’s split personality problems.
At night, the good GM Gainey secretly turns into evil coach Bob
Few people seem to have noticed the dangerous transformation of our good old friend Bob Gainey over the last few days. Since Guy Carbonneau was fired, Bob Gainey took charge of the team, in addition of his GM duties. Those two jobs are obviously very demanding, and this got me wondering how Bob would cope with this extra pressure. As you know, I’m assisted by a team of devoted scientists, using the most cutting edge technology to analyze hockey. The Soft European research team, always attentive to small details, worked on the tapes of the most recent press conferences given by Gainey. A careful frame by frame examination of these tapes brought a very worrying phenomenon to our attention. I’m afraid Bob Gainey is in the process of splitting into two completely different persons.
GM Gainey: “hockey is a mind game”. Coach Bob: “what’s wrong? who’s talking inside my head?! Stop it!”
GM Gainey: “Unfortunately for us, the Devils forechecking system was really efficient tonight.” Coach Bob: “Devils, what Devils? I AM the Devil! Why are you staring at me like that?! Stop it, or I’ll jump you!!”
As you can see, this is a very unusual, and pretty difficult situation. His double occupation is slowly taking its toll on Bob’s personality, and I think he should REALLY consider hiring a coach at the end of this season, because I’m afraid he will go nuts at some point if this carries on for too long!
Gainey = wild wild wild
This picture says it all about the new attitude behind the bench. Gainey sure doesn’t look like the funniest guy around, but he has an aura that makes him respected by everyone.
The habs barely escaped yesterday’s game with the 2 points. The second period was apparently awful. But they won. And so they started this so important home games stretch with a win, which is nice.
Gainey made some changes from what we were used to see. He reunited Markov and Komi, he tweaked the offensive lines a bit, and he scratched Pacioretty and Brisebois. (Poor Patrice remains stuck at the 999 nhl games mark so far…)
Like anyone else, at this point I’m in a wait and see mode. It’s too soon to say what impact the firing of Carbo will have on the team.
About Carbo, I made peace with his firing. It’s sad he couldn’t finish the season with Montreal, but that’s hockey I guess. I think he’s still a young coach, and he’s still learning the ins and outs of the job. He already greatly improved since his arrival, but he appeared a bit lost while the team went through this awful slump, and I think Gainey felt he couldn’t afford to wait for Carbo to slowly turn into a really good coach. I’ll wish him the best.
For an homage to Carbo, go to this site from a Dallas fan. It’s a really nice place, with great stories about Carbo’s play during the 99′ and 2000 stars playoffs runs, and lots and lots of info about Guy.
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 didn’t even need to photoshop Gorges into that one, he’s already in the lower left hand corner)
You already know what’s #1 on the Canadiens fans wish list Bob, right?