As the tsunami of criticism is receding on the City of Montreal and around the hockey world after the earthquake created by the Montreal Canadiens trading P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber, many fans are now on a full quest to wish Marc Bergevin out of the City where he was born and raised.
This is by no mean the pulse of the majority of Habs’ fans, far from there, but this – loud – growing displeased group of fans is more vocal than ever – as if they needed to be – showing their displeasure not only with the coach Michel Therrien, but with the General Manager as well. Some even push it further by chastising team president and owner Geoff Molson, imagine!
To each their own, I guess, but in all this negativity surrounding the Canadiens since they started their slide back in November 2015, I felt the need to post, on my twitter account, how I felt. Knowing that it was positive towards the team and that it went against the twitter popular belief (or so it seemed), I chose to express how I felt by affirming that the Canadiens are in good hands with Marc Bergevin at the helm and that while I don’t necessarily agree with his each and every moves (or non-moves), I still have full confidence in him.
As expected, this prompted a mix of reactions from my followers, ranging from full support to others thinking that I had totally lost my mind (as if that wasn’t already done). But one person who likes to go against almost everyone of my posts raised a legitimate question when asking why I felt that way. As one hundred and fourty characters isn’t enough to answer such as simple, yet complex question, I thought that this blog would be a good tribune to explain myself. Here are some of the reasons why I personally trust what Bergevin is doing:
- He knows how to surround himself with good hockey people. Scott Melanby (who was considered for the position of Las Vegas’ GM), Rick Dudley (former NHL GM well respected), and former players Martin Lapointe and Rob Ramage to oversee the prospects’ developments are only a few examples of it.
- He respects everyone around him and because of it, he is respected. Players like him as he doesn’t play games with them. Much like Brian Burke, he defends his players most times, if or when needed. He’s not afraid to take the heat as he’s done in many occasions, including when the team collapsed last season.
- He doesn’t panic. Even with his team in dire need of help last season, with other teams seeing him coming from miles away, he didn’t blow the team up for a quick fix, just to save one season. He could recognise that the injuries, particularly to the league MVP in Carey Price, played a big role in the team’s collapse. In no way did he use that as an excuse, but it allowed him to see how much the team without Price was lacking in – good – leadership, which led to the moves he’s made so far this summer.
- He promised to build through the draft and he does just that. Yes, he did trade some draft picks but most times, it was for young players with contract years left in them. And he acquired about as many picks in other trades. One example of that is when he traded two second round picks to acquire Andrew Shaw, then turned around and traded Lars Eller for… two second round picks.
- He toys around with the media and the loud minority of negative fans. He knows and recognises the difference between what’s legitimate and the complaints just for the sake of complaining. He has repeated in many occasions that his role was not to be popular, but to make decisions which would make the team better and that’s what he is set to do. Oh opinions will differ, but that’s HIS team and HIS job that is on the line with the decisions that HE feels are the right ones for the Canadiens.
“Responding to the media, or playing to the media, or listening to the fans is the quickest way to start losing.” ~ Sam Pollock
Like many though, I wish he could have managed to help his team last season but unlike the negative fans out there, I can see and imagine that teams weren’t lined-up to help the all-mighty Montreal Canadiens out of the hole that they were digging themselves into. For that reason, they were likely asking for the moon for the player(s) that Bergevin was courting. Sometimes, the best moves that you make are the ones you don’t make.
I’m not the biggest fan of Michel Therrien, I’ll admit. But unlike many in the fan base, I’m not willing to call him a “mediocre coach” and like we’ve explored on this blog before, who really would have been better to replace him? I do, however, welcome back Kirk Muller to the coaching staff and I can’t wait to see what he brings to the table.
FANS NEED TO COOL OFF
Many fans were upset to see PK Subban being traded and rightfully so. Subban is a good hockey player and he loved Montreal. He shared a special bond with the fans and he was involved in the community. He is a very likeable character who has tons of charisma.
There is a reason why he was traded folks and thankfully, the Canadiens are refusing to do like other teams and leak some information which could tarnish the player’s reputation. Remember when Boston traded Phil Kessel? Or Tyler Seguin? Or more recently Dougie Hamilton? The tarnish campaign was in full force in each and every case. So far, we haven’t seen that from Bergevin and his team and that’s for the better.
What’s really troubling however is seeing some fans putting down Shea Weber without even having seen him play. Most of those complaining are basing their opinion on a few “fancy stats”, which has been a hot topic recently around the Canadiens and the NHL. I’ve watched Weber play and if fans are expecting a flash and dash player like Subban, they’ll be disappointed. Fans can however expect a good passing, rugged and reliable defenseman who can be as effective offensively as the beloved #76. As a matter of fact, Weber is one of my favourite NHL players as it stands!
So please, fans and media, don’t get on Weber’s case and show that you’re smarter than that. He didn’t ask to be traded and he’s planning on giving his best to his new team. He’s not Subban, he’s Shea Weber. An All-Star. A right-handed defenseman who was a first ballot nomination for Team Canada at the upcoming World Cup of Hockey. The Habs aren’t getting a dud here folks. They are arguably getting the better player in the trade!