Ah Montreal, never change. Fans will be fans, reporters, journalists and sensationalists will continue in their own paths, and not even a pandemic like COVID-19 will change that. You see, to some, nothing is bigger than the Montreal Canadiens. Some even go as far as saying that it’s a religion and call the team the ‘Sainte-Flanelle’. Doesn’t it seem sometimes that some comments directed towards Canadiens’ General Manager Marc Bergevin or other hockey public figures are way over the top, as if they had done something to them personally, maliciously? Doesn’t it seem sometimes like people have nothing better to think about or do than be ticked off at anything and everything about the Habs or hockey in general? Oh I get it, it’s a passion. Let’s face it though: we’re all passionate about it.
I used to be like that. I used to think that nothing in life was more important than hockey. I mean I knew deep down that other things were more important but my actions did all the talking. My mood would be affected by the Canadiens and it even got personal with some people I knew or interacted with. But then, with age came maturity and yes, some wisdom. Some of it was through life changing experiences, the loss of loved ones, close encounters with death, which made me return to my faith and reset my life’s goals and expectations. Most people eventually reach that phase in their life and as I’ve told my own kids, the sooner the better for them. Life is a journey, not a destination, and hockey is entertaining, and definitely not worth losing sleep over or get angry about.
We all have preconceived ideas of what should be said or done and more often than not, we tend to be disappointed when what WE want to hear isn’t said or done. But when you haven’t reached that level of serenity, everything is blown out of proportion. You see, people don’t want to hear opinions. They want to hear other people say what they want to hear and anything short of it gets dragged in the mud. Some of it has to do with the snowflakes society we live in, where this sense of entitlement is prominent on a day to day basis. The temper tantrums, the personal vendetta where once your mind is made up, NOTHING can sway it away from this locked mind of yours, and no one has good points to bring to the table, as once you’ve committed yourself publically, saving face is more important than debating or discussing with open minds. There was no better example than some of the reactions to a recent mini-press conference from Canadiens’ owner and President Geoff Molson.
Confidence in Bergevin
Some want to hear him say that he will be firing his GM. It’s not going to happen, but they want Molson to say it. Anything else the Habs’ President says will come short of their expectations. But by saying this, he’s not saying “nothing”. He’s actually saying something big: Marc Bergevin is going nowhere. And that’s to be expected, as we explored a while back. Molson agreed with the retool plan two years ago and he knows that it will take a few seasons to reap the benefits as young players drafted develop. He’s not blind and sees the quality young players starting to join his team and, like many of us, is encouraged by it. Had he fired Bergevin as some wanted so bad, the new GM would have done exactly what Bergevin is doing now so aside from personal vendetta against the GM, there’s no reasons for him to get fired. The clock was reset in the summer of 2018, whether we want to accept it or not.
No hockey President
Again, what’s perceived or qualified by some as “no news” or “nothing being said”, indeed says a lot. Some people desperately want Molson to step down as team President, claiming that he doesn’t know anything about hockey but we have dismantled that theory a while back. So him saying that he’s not doing what some want him to do is, to them, “saying nothing”. Living in BC, I regularly witnessed an owner who is too hands-on with his team, an owner who doesn’t need a President as Trevor Linden resigned from the position for being prevented from making hockey decisions. A President who needs a puppet as GM to do what he wants him to do, like hiring John Tortorella for example, or insisting on signing certain UFAs. As much as I like Brian Burke and share many of his points of view, he was too hands-on as President in Calgary and the GM couldn’t do his job freely. A good President puts in place who they think are the right hockey people for the job and lets them run the show. Bergevin and Molson both said in the past that they speak almost every day. But the President lets his GM do his job and that’s key, whether we agree with it or not.
Are his Habs Stanley Cup worthy?
Molson said a lot in the following quote when questioned about the composition of his team and if they can legitimately take a run at the Stanley Cup if this season resumes play.
“I never give up hope. Is this team built to win the Stanley Cup? I don’t think so, but anything can happen in the playoffs.“ ~ Geoff Molson
And before people jump to conclusions, the comment about the team being built to win doesn’t speak about team composition as much as the timing of the reset, with many young players not quite ready to take the next step. But then again, when teams like Pittsburgh fear facing you in a qualifying round speaks volume.
So as you can see, to some, Mr. Molson didn’t say much. But the truth is that he said a lot. Just not what some wanted to hear. So folks, don’t buy into the sensationalist journalism, the big headlines with a negative purpose. Consider the source and don’t mistake someone’s opinion with reality and truth. For example, if Brendan Kelly writes something negative against the Habs and The Montreal Gazette’s brass is desperate enough to publish it, you shouldn’t be surprised because that’s all he knows to do as a showbiz TMZ-type controversial individual. But if a reputable reporter like John Lu at TSN, or Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, TSN and RDS writes or says something, you better read or listen. Also, if I have just one little piece of advice, simply don’t forget what’s truly important in your life and remember that hockey is just a sport, just entertainment and no such thing should be worth getting aggravated over and let it affect your mood and behaviour. Go Habs Go!