New Year – New Chance

A year… 12 months… 52 weeks… 365 days… 8,760 hours… 565,600 minutes… 31,536,000 seconds… that’s a long time! 2019 is over and here comes 2020. We’re a year older and, hopefully, a year wiser too. In a year, there were many, many occasions to learn and to grow and hopefully, we all did. We’ve gone through our ups and our downs, individually and together. Some discussions were very pleasant while some, well… not so much. But it’s a New Year, a new beginning and what better way to get it started but by wiping the slate clean?

I’m referring to Social Media. As most of you are well aware, I have a Twitter account on which I’m very active. What not as many of you know is that I also have a Facebook page on which I post from time to time, although not quite as actively as on on Twitter. Then I have an Instagram account, a tool very much so under-utilized by yours truly, mostly because I’m not familiar at all on how it works.

As you know, it happens, from time to time that people get into pretty heated discussions on Social Media. Cyber-bullying is now a thing and hiding behind a keyboard to become what we call “keyboard warriors” is unfortunately too common now days. While there is not much hope for some people who seemingly will never change, it is my experience that it’s not the case for most people. Often, you will catch me on a bad day or I will get into a discussion with you, dear followers, on a day where you’ve reached the end of your roll. If it becomes personal, I will block so that I don’t have to make my other followers have to suffer through petty and disrespectful arguments.

I’ll give you an example. Many years ago and for several years, I was a member on a message board called HF Boards. Granted not always the best place to exchange, it was, for me, a great source of inspiration for articles for this blog. At one point, I was going through a rough time in my life and I acted in a way that was inappropriate. They banned me. Okay, I deserved it. But a few years later, I wanted to get back into reading and exchanging a bit on that site. So I created a new account and started posting, being very careful to be polite and respectful. When they discovered that it was me (I used the same username so it was easy to tell), they immediately banned me again instead of reaching out to talk to me. I wrote to the administrator but I received no response. You see, for them, people can’t change… and that’s terribly wrong.

I started something last year and I want to make it an annual event: forgiving and forgetting. Forgiving the Habs’ fans with whom I’ve had heated discussions with throughout the year. Forgetting those discussions and starting from scratch. While I usually do that within 24 hours, when it gets to the point of blocking someone from reading me, I didn’t use to unblock them. Last year, for the first time, I took advantage of the fact that we were starting a New Year to unblock all Habs’ fans from my Social Media accounts. And guess what? It worked. Many started following me again and we’ve had some great discussions even when disagreeing on topics. I’m a strong believer in Respect so as long as the discussions remain respectful and don’t turn into personal insults, I’m usually pretty good at looking beyond the disagreement. For the most part, it’s not me that they’re debating, but rather my point of view.

So once again, if you’re a Habs’ fan and I blocked you in the last twelve months, I have gone through my blocked list and unblocked you all. If you know of someone that I might have missed, someone telling you that they are blocked by me, just let me know and I’ll unblock them. As you see, unlike HF Boards and some of my fellow Social Media users, I do believe that people change and for that reason, I do believe in giving someone a second, even a third chance. As years go by, we mature and understand things that we didn’t just a few months ago. It would be greatly appreciated if you could share this article so that everyone knows what I’ve done. So to those who I blocked in the past year, welcome back and… Go Habs Go!

EDIT: Since we’re starting a new decade, I decided to go the extra step. I have emptied my blocked list which means that I have forgiven not only Habs’ fans, but fans from other teams as well. While I have a feeling that it might blow back in my face with some of them, I’m also hopeful that I can have civil exchanges with others from that list. Happy New Year everyone!

Alexis Lafrenière To Montreal: The Odds

This is a fun time of the year if you’re a hockey fan. In a somewhat dull, long NHL season where teams seem to be going through the motions, in a league where in-season trades are so few and far between, fans are often bored. But here comes the IIHF World Junior hockey tournament, where the best under-19 players in the world face each other in a short tourney. The relentless way those kids play the game and the high caliber of hockey give fans a much necessary jolt, some much needed excitement.

At this year’s World Juniors, one name is on just about every Montreal Canadiens’ lips: Saint-Eustache, Quebec born Alexis Lafrenière. Let’s be honest here… he’s on the lips of every NHL team who are not Stanley Cup contenders. Really, how nice would it be to get such a talented player to boost your team? While the thought of landing the first overall pick is an annual desire, or consolation prize, this one is special for Montreal, a very unique market in the NHL by the language defining the franchise… and this prospect is one of them! Fans are watching the tournament, dreaming of seeing the Habs “tank for Lafrenière”, as they call it. But what are the odds of that happening?

For one thing, the Canadiens are fighting for a playoffs’ spot and while the team has some major holes in their lineup, needs that GM Marc Bergevin is struggling to fill in-season, the Habs are very unlikely to get the first overall pick and if they make the playoffs, they will have zero chance via the Draft lottery. But even if they missed out on the playoffs, the odds of winning the lottery are very slim. Even the team finishing dead last in the NHL only has 18.5% odd of winning the right to speak first at the 2020 Draft, ironically held in Montreal.

So the Canadiens’ best chances of getting Lafrenière at the Draft would be to trade for him. That’s easier said than done as historically, first overall picks are rarely traded. As a matter of fact, it hasn’t been done in the Salary Cap Era as the last time it happened was back in 2003. Let’s look at the times when teams did trade the very first pick in the NHL, shall we?

2003

Pittsburgh Penguins getFlorida Panthers get
– No. 1 pick
– 3rd round pick
– No. 3 pick
– 2nd round pick
– Mikael Samuelsson
Player selected:Marc-André Fleury

2002

Columbus Blue Jackets getFlorida Panthers get
– No. 1 pick– No. 3 pick
– Right to swap to picks in 2003
Player selected:Rick Nash

1999

Atlanta Thrashers getVancouver Canucks get
– No. 1 pick– No.2 pick
– 3rd round pick
Player selected:Patrik Stefan

1998

Tampa Bay Lightning getSan Jose Sharks get
– No. 1 pick
– Andrei Nazarov
– No. 2 pick
– Bryan Marchment
– David Shaw
Player selected:Vincent Lecavalier

1991

Philadelphia Flyers getQuebec Nordiques get
– No. 1 pick *– Peter Forsberg
– Ron Hextall
– Steve Duchesne
– Kerry Huffman
– Mike Ricci
– $15 million
– two first-round picks
Player selected:Eric Lindros
* Quebec had already selected Lindros who refused to report. He never played a game with the Nordiques

1983

Minnesota North Stars getPittsburgh Penguins get
– No. 1 pick
– George Ferguson
– No. 15 pick
– Ron Meighan
– Anders Hakansson
Player selected:Brian Lawton

1982

Boston Bruins getColorado Rockies get
– No. 1 pick
– 2nd round pick
– Dwight Foster*
– No. 22 pick
– 10th round pick
Player selected:Gord Kluzak
* This was a compensation to the Rockies for signing Foster

1980

Montreal Canadiens getColorado Rockies get
– No. 1 pick*– No. 19 pick
– Ron Andruff
– Sean Shanahan
Player selected:Doug Wickenheiser
The trade happened in 1976 (4 years prior). The Habs traded Andruff and Shanahan to the Rockies for the right to swap first-round picks in 1980 (no. 1 for no. 19).

1975

Philadelphia Flyers getWashington Capitals get
– No. 1 pick– No. 18 pick
– Bill Clement
– Don McLean
Player selected:Mel Bridgman

1971

Montreal Canadiens getCalifornia Golden Seals get
– 1971 first-rounder (no. 1)
– Francois Lacombe
– 1970 first-rounder (no. 10)
– Ernie Hicke
Player selected:Guy Lafleur

In my humble opinion, there is absolutely no doubt that Bergevin is setting himself up to make a serious offer, even a severe overpayment to the team winning the Draft lottery in order to convince them to give him the first overall pick. The Habs have been stockpiling prospects and picks like there’s no tomorrow and that, even knowing that they’ll have a hard time fitting all of them under the 50 contracts limit when comes time to signing these guys.

He’s relying heavily on Trevor Timmins and Shayne Churla to draft well, and on Joël Bouchard to develop those players so the Canadiens have more munitions to entice or even trade for the first overall pick next summer. But folks, don’t hold your breath on that one. The team is too strong to earn that pick through lottery and the odds are against the Habs to complete a trade with whichever team wins that lottery. In the meantime though, let’s cheer our team to win… NOT to tank. Go Habs Go!