First, I would like to say congrats to Randy. First, for being promoted to head coach for the Montreal Canadians, and second for having the guts to take over as head coach for the Montreal Canadians. Unlike most hockey fans in Montreal, I have nothing against Jacques Martin. As far as I am concerned, he wasn’t on the ice, so he isn’t the one that should be taking the blame for the poor performance of the team. Did he pull off a herculean effort in winning with poor player performance by finding “magical” lineups, and such, probably not. But until he is the one wearing the skates, and responsible for the poor ice presence, I will not be one to assign him ANY blame. He is not the one that is always second on the puck, not picking up loose pucks, or picking up the loose man in front of the net, he has no blame for that. Winning and losing has a lot to do with what happens ON THE ICE, not behind the bench. Its that extra little bit of effort on a play that will capitalize on opportunities, or create opportunities where there weren’t any.
The coach is there to try to best utilize and co-ordinate the players to best direct their skills to victory. By knowing the opposing team, and knowing your team, you can elaborate strategies, and discover weaknesses that you can use to your advantage and win the game. However, if the players are playing like dung, then you could be the best coach in the world, and you’ll just have another losing streak, that’s it. But that isn’t the way of the NHL, in the NHL everyone blames the coach, because its unthinkable to have a multi-million dollar player who isn’t giving it his all. Never blame the 6 million dollar a year cry baby that doesn’t like the pressure of this city or that. You wanted to play professional sports, live up to that requirement. You are being paid to play like an all-star, show us where that money is going.
Next, Montreal, what are we going to do. Montreal is both the best and worst hockey city in the world. You will NEVER find a more enthusiastic home town when it comes to hockey, but you will also never find one that will turn on a player/team as quickly as ours does. Because hockey is beyond just the national pass time, it is our religion, some people take it too seriously, just like the religious crusades of medieval times, some people don’t have the common sense to know when calm down. We have a history of taking good players, some with the potential of being great, and pressuring them into become nothing more then cones on the ice. Let me ramble off a couple names just so you know I’m not making this stuff up….How about Latendresse, Ribeiro, John Leclerc, Micheal Ryder; do any of those names ring a bell. There were players who were good, but have consistently performed better as soon as they took of the shirts of the “bleu blanc rouge”. Why can’t we just support our team, and encourage them when they need it, and celebrate when they do. The whole idea of a home crowd is to bring your team UP when they are down, and to ride the good times with them.
I would like to draw attention to a few things, this attack by Montreal’s french media about the new coach not being able to speak french. First, what does it really matter, the coach needs to first and foremost speak to his players, right? How many of those players are “pure” french speaking people who don’t understand anything but french? His job is not to speak to the media, its to coach, and to try and win hockey games, the media can and usually is managed by PR. Randy never said he wouldn’t learn french, he said he would do his best to learn it, in fact embracing it is almost a better word, so why attack him. We’ve had “francophone” coaches for a long time now, do you know what we haven’t had in a long time, a freaking STANLEY CUP victory party.