Habs vs Talent

 
Why have the Montreal Canadians failed to maximize the potential of their most gifted players for years?
 
This is a question I am always asking myself.
 
In the 80s, I was too young and dumb to fully understand why Guy Lafleur decided to hang up his skates on November 26, 1984.
Guy Lafleur 10
 
I remember asking my dad why the Flower, as we called him, decided to retire so suddenly. His answer was blunt. He said it in his French Canadian/Haitian accent: he is done, he doesn’t have it anymore.
 
You can’t blame my dad for his opinion at the time. Guy Lafleur was having a miserable season,only scoring two goals and three assists after 19 games, failing to realize that the real culprit of hisstruggles was Jacques Lemaire‘s defensive system.  His ice-time had been reduced and he was asked to play a more defense-oriented game.
We cannot blame Jacques Lemaire though.
At that moment, The Habs finally got past the second round of the playoffs after years of getting bounced out of the playoffs early. This had happened four straight years in a row, despite having some great regular seasons. Jacques Lemaire had something to do with it.
But his system, known as the TRAP, was a bad fit for a free-spirited, creative player like Guy Lafleur. The system was made for more disciplined and defensive, responsible players like another Guy…
Guy Carbonneau Canadiens de MontréalGuy Carbonneau
Guy Carbonneau.
 
If you have followed The Habs for the past three decades, you’ll know either one of these twoscenarios happened frequently:
 
Scenario 1:
A homegrown talent struggling to perform constantly with The Habs only to flourish with another team. I’m thinking of John LeClair and if The Habs are not careful this time around, Alex Galchenyuk will be the latest example.
John LeClair
 
Speaking of John LeClair, I remember years ago when Randy Tieman, the longtime sportscaster on the Montreal scene was sharing a conversation he had with John Leclair on his radio show, TEAM690 (Now TSN690).
randy and joey.jpg
LeClair said the difference in playing for The Habs versus the Flyers was his main focus, which was to backcheck and make sure he did not miss his defensive assignments.
 
As soon as he joined the Flyers, they inserted him immediately, along with Eric Lindros and Mikael Renberg. They were told to: Be yourself, go in front of the net and be big and strong, go in front of the net and wreak havoc.
 
The rest is history. John LeClair reached his immense potential by producing three straight 50 goal seasons, plus two straight 40 goal seasonsduring the dead puck era. When you hear his name, you immediately think of the Legion of Doom. Not the famous Wrestling tag-team of course, but one of the most famous lines in the history of hockey, the Line of Lindros-Leclair-Renberg.
Eric Lindros and John LeClair
 
 
Scenario 2:
With a desperate need for offense, The Montreal Canadiens made a big trade to acquire an extremely talented player, hoping to fix the team’s problem scoring goals; only for that same player to be criticized by the media for a lack of production and to be marginalized by the organization because of the player deficiencies in the defensive part of the game. 
 
Remember Pierre Turgeon?
SP Turg.HR
He came as a number one centre from the New York Islanders when he was acquired in return for Kirk Muller.
Teammates
He finished his stay with the Habs on the the third line, not even playing centre. He basically got the Galchenyuk treatment, even before Alex Galchenyuk. We must thank Mario Tremblay with a pinch of sarcasm.

Alex GalchenyukPierre T

 
Similarly, this past summer, the Habs sacrificed their best prospect, Mikhail Sergachev, to acquire the playmaking winger named Jonathan Drouin, who for some reason is now the team’s number one centre, hoping to boost the team’s offensive output.
Mikhail Sergachev
 
For now, it seems the experiment failed miserably this season. I somewhat disagreed with the trade at the time. But, it would be criminal to put all the blame on the shoulders of Jonathan Drouin.
Jonathan Drouin
Max Pacioretty did criticize Julien’s system a couple times in front of the media in an attempt to explain the team’s failure to generate much offense.
 
A lot of fans and members of the media are clamoring for a major rebuild of the team after this season. I don’t disagree with that sentiment.
 
But, what The Habs really need is a culture change. A culture that will allow players like Jonathan Drouin and Alex Galchenyuk to become an offensive force.
A culture that will embrace players like P.K. Subban instead chasing him out of Montreal for reasons that have nothing to do with hockey.
2011 Heritage Classic - Montreal Canadiens Practice
A culture that will seek greatness at all costs.
 
It’s time to bring back the spirit of the Flying Frenchman.
A spirit that left the Montreal Canadiens when the organization gave Guy Lafleur no choice but to quit the sport he loved way too prematurely.
Guy Lafleur by Mike Oulton
 
Your Educated Fool!
Written by Donald Demosthenes
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Patrick Roy: Blessing or Curse

It all began on May 3, 1986. A 9-year-old boy looked intently at the third in the Eastern Conference final of the National Hockey League. The fight is fierce between the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers.

Madison Square Garden was the arena of this fight. This young man had his first baptism of the New York crowd.

Madison Square Garden

This same crowd shouted with all their strength towards a young Quebecor goalkeeper praying that his concentration and play would be affected.  The crowd shouted in ridicule with: ROOOOAHHHHH  Alas, this young goalkeeper named Patrick Roy gave the best performance of his career. He made 13 goals saves in 2 minutes.

Patrick Roy by Mimke Oulton

This match put Patrick Roy on the map. I allow myself to write that he flew (in a good way) in overtime this legendary match. We saw how special he was. The eyes of this young boy from Montreal North had changed forever. Not only that the New York crowd has left a legacy in his memory, but he has never seen in real time despite being a child of the year 1976, a performance of this kind. The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup. Montreal was on fire. He also saw his first riot as if it was England that had won the Soccer World Cup and the Hooligans were demolishing the streets of London.  Well, I’m exaggerating, but there is a hint of truth. The boy understood the notion of riots at that time.

Émeute 1986

Patrick Roy became at that moment a myth, a legend and a messiah. He became Patrick Roy. It was the beginning of the Montreal empire. I can already hear the screams, read the emails of insults saying to me: You are crazy or what. We won a second Stanley Cup in 1993. You do not know what you’re talking about.

Habs 1986Coupe Habs 1993

This match put Patrick Roy on the map. I allow myself to write that he flew (in a good way) in overtime this legendary match. We saw how special he was. The eyes of this young boy from Montreal North had changed forever.  The boy is my big brother and he always asked this question. Would the Canadiens have beaten the Edmonton Oilers during this series? Very hard to answer especially since the Oilers had a team of shock with Gretzky, Coffey, Messier, Anderson, Fuhr, Murphy, Huddy, Kurri and the rest of the Dream Team in hockey. I think you guessed my answer.

 

In this series, Oilers’ Steve Smith scored a goal in his own goal by accident and the Calgary Flames, who were also a great team, eliminated the Oilers. Tears poured out for the Oilers fans. It was an incredible shock. My brother said at that time, maybe Canadians would have a chance to win the cup.  His only Big Brother’s desire was for Canadians to beat the Nordics if they met. Speaking of the Nordics during this series, the name that could still give nightmares to Michel Bergeron, the goalkeeper Mark Liut made a Patrick Roy of himself against the Nordiques and we had to say bye bye to the Nordiques of Quebec during the 1986 eliminations.

Mike Liut

The Canadians make this elimination of the Nordiques did not have to face them. Also, they dodged the mighty Philadelphia Flyers, as the Rangers surprised the Flyers by eliminating them in 5 games. The sad note during this clash was that the Flyers had lost goalkeeper Pete Linberg in a serious car accident. Despite this sad loss, it was a very dangerous team during the playoffs.

Patrick Roy 1986

The league’s third-best league at the time, the Washington Capitals, was also surprised by the Rangers and was eliminated in Game 6. Maybe you can see where I’m going in my next remarks.  The media and the whole world gave all the Montreal Canadiens victory credits in the 1986 playoffs and Patrick Roy’s rise to the Stanley Cup but do not you think that maybe circumstances have major roles without underestimating the undeniable talent of number 33 but luck was a very big factor.

Roy Roy Roy

I would say yes.  The facts prove this statement and it is correct. There is no shame in that. It was not the first time, but the mentality following this victory in 1986 changed the culture of the Montreal team forever and not necessarily for the better.

In 1971, an ingenuous youngster to play only a few games in the CH uniform (6 games to be more precise). Ken Dryden confronts with his teammates such as Jean Béliveau the Boston Browns.

Dryden, Beliveau and Mahovlich

The Bruns were the best team in the league with, in my opinion, the greatest hockey player of all time, Bobby Orr.

Bobby Orr

Ken Dryden inverted the series against Boston in the first round. I should say that Patrick Roy made a Ken Dryden of it in 1986. Mr. Dryden was the original.

Lapointe, Savard, DrydenKen Dryden one of the greatest of all timeKen Dryden

The difference is in a name that is Sam Pollock. The former director general does not know said at the time: Well, we found our guardian so our game system must turn around him. On the contrary, after this playoff series, he said he will build the biggest team in the league.

He was searched for the white demon Guy Lafleur during the draft. Later, Larry Robinson, Bob Guiney, Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe trained the new generation of the Canadiens 70’s style team.

 

The mentality of the team was not to focus on the goalkeeper, but to become a great team. Sam Pollock was taking chances and with the team that had, the sky had no limit for the Habs.

Sam Pollock

You see what I mean.

This is the team I want to see again.

The worst thing that happened to the Montreal Canadiens was that they won the Stanley Cup in 1986 and 1993. Given the miracles of number 33, the organization instead wanted to find a second Patrick Roy instead of building a dynasty surrounded by kings. In 1987, the Canadiens had a better team in 1986 and when they faced the Flyers in a row they lost.

Nowadays, big teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings have star forwards, incredible defencemen and very good goalies. For Chicago for example, the key to their team is their defensive unit because they must defend and fuel the attack.

For Canadians, the team’s structure is far too dependent on the goalie’s performance. Carey Price is not in his best form and Canadians are not playing as badly as they say, but the structure is killing the team. We want to live too much in the past instead of moving forward. During the exchange of Patrick Roy, instead of looking for key players, Réjean Houle was sought Jocelyn Thibault. A goalkeeper he hoped to be a second Patrick Roy.

When we had José Théodore, once again, we imposed too much responsibility on him as a goalkeeper. P.K Subban’s exchange for Webber is a blatant example of the curse that is plaguing Canadians. The real reason for this exchange is because Subban didn’t fit with the culture of the organization ” protecting the goalkeeper” and not an exchange we were made to believe for the well-being of the team.

P.K. Collection at PKSubban.com

We know what happened during the 2017 playoffs, Nashville, which had the goal to have the best team to win the cup and this same team was in the final of the Stanley Cup.

Instead of wanting to win the Stanley Cup with an army filled with talented soldiers, the Montreal Canadiens want to win it by stealing the cup with a goalkeeper in the net.

We must get out of this fate, because for 30 years, we have been bewitched by this mentality that prevents this team with such a rich history of evolving.

It’s time to evolve!

 

Signed Sab in collaboration with the 9-year-old boy in 1986 aka The Educated Fool ‘’my big brother.’’  We are ready for attacks.

 

 

 

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Patrick Roy : Bénédiction ou Malédiction

Tout commença le 3 mai 1986. Un jeune garçon de 9 ans regarda avec intensité le troisième de la finale de la conférence de l’est de la Ligue nationale de hockey. Le combat est féroce entre les Canadiens de Montréal et les Rangers de New York.

Le Madison Square Garden était l’arène de ce combat. Ce jeune homme a eu son premier baptême de la foule new-yorkaise.

Madison Square Garden

Cette même foule criait de toute leur force envers un jeune gardien de but québécois en priant que sa concentration et son jeu serait affecté. La foule cria en le ridiculisant avec : ROOOOAHHHHH

Hélas, ce jeune gardien de but qui se nomme Patrick Roy a donné la meilleure performance de sa carrière. Il a fait 13 arrêts de but en 2 minutes.

Patrick Roy à l’oeuvre 1986 vidéo

Ce match a mis Patrick Roy sur la carte. Je me permets d’écrire qu’il a volé (dans une bonne façon) en prolongation ce match légendaire. On a vu à quel point il était spécial. Les yeux de ce jeune garçon de Montréal-Nord avaient changé à tout jamais. Non seulement que la foule new-yorkaise l’a laissé un emprunte dans sa mémoire, mais il n’a jamais vu en temps réel malgré que ce ne fût qu’un enfant de l’année 1976, une performance de ce genre.

Les Canadiens de Montréal ont gagné la Coupe Stanley. Montréal était en feu et il a vu également sa première émeute comme si c’était l’Angleterre qui avait gagné la Coupe du Monde de Soccer et que les Hooligans démolissaient les rues de Londres. Bon, j’exagère, mais il y a un soupçon de vérité. Le jeune garçon a compris la notion des émeutes à ce moment-là.

Émeute 1986

Patrick Roy est devenu à ce moment un mythe, une légende et un messie. Il est devenu le Patrick Roy.

Patrick Roy by Mimke Oulton

Hélas, c’était le début de l’empire montréalais. Je peux déjà entendre les cris, lire les courriels d’injures me disant : Tu es folle ou quoi. On a gagné une deuxième Coupe Stanley en 1993. Tu ne sais pas du tout de quoi tu parles.

Coupe Habs 1993

Vous savez quoi, le jeune garçon de 9 ans de l’histoire et moi-même savons de quoi nous parlons.

Le jeune garçon est mon grand frère et il s’est toujours posé cette question. Est-ce que les Canadiens auraient battu les Oilers d’Edmonton durant cette série?

Très dur à répondre surtout que les Oilers avaient une équipe de choc avec Gretzky, Coffey, Messier, Anderson, Fuhr, Murphy, Huddy, Kurri et le reste de la Dream Team au hockey. Je crois que vous avez deviné ma réponse.

Oilers Edmonton 1986

Durant cette série, Steve Smith des Oilers marque un but dans son propre but par accident et les Flames de Calgary qui était également une superbe équipe ont éliminé les Oilers. Des larmes se sont versées pour les partisans des Oilers. Ce fut un choc incroyable. Mon frère s’est dit à ce moment, peut-être que les Canadiens auraient une chance de gagner la coupe.

Flames 1986

Son seul désir au grand frère était que les Canadiens battent les Nordiques s’ils se rencontraient.

Parlant des Nordiques durant cette série, le nom qui pourrait encore donner des cauchemars à Michel Bergeron, le gardien de but Mark Liut a fait un Patrick Roy de lui-même face aux Nordiques et on a dû dire bye bye aux Nordiques de Québec durant les éliminatoires de 1986.

Liut and the Habs

Les Canadiens fassent à cette élimination des Nordiques n’ont pas eu à les affronter. Également, ils ont esquivé les puissants Flyers de Philadelphie, car les Rangers ont surpris les Flyers en les éliminant en 5 matchs. La triste note durant cet affrontement est que les Flyers avaient perdu leur gardien de but Pete Linberg dans un grave accident de voiture. Malgré cette triste perte, c’était une équipe très dangereuse durant les séries.

La troisième meilleure équipe de la ligue à l’époque qui était les Capitals de Washington s’est fait surprendre également par les Rangers et ils se sont fait éliminer au 6e match.

Peut-être que vous voyez où je vais me diriger dans mes prochains propos. Les médias et le monde entier ont donné tous les crédits de la victoire des Canadiens de Montréal lors des séries éliminatoires de 1986 et l’ascension à la Coupe Stanley à Patrick Roy mais  ne pensez-vous pas que peut-être les circonstances ont joué un rôle majeur sans sous-estimer le talent indéniable du numéro 33 mais la chance a été un très grand facteur.

Je vous dirais que oui. Les faits prouvent cette affirmation et c’est correct. Il n’y a pas de honte à cela. Ce n’était pas la première fois, mais la mentalité suite à cette victoire en 1986 a changé la culture de l’équipe montréalaise à tout jamais et pas nécessairement pour le mieux.

En 1971, un jeune ingénu à jouer que quelques matchs dans l’uniforme du CH (6 matchs pour être plus précis). Ken Dryden affronte avec ses coéquipiers tel que Jean Béliveau les Bruns de Boston.

Dryden, Beliveau and Mahovlich

Les Bruns étaient la meilleure équipe de la ligue avec à mon avis, le plus grand joueur de hockey de tous les temps, Bobby Orr.

Ken Dryden a entre guillemets volé la série contre Boston au 1er tour. Je devrais dire que Patrick Roy a fait un Ken Dryden de lui en 1986. Monsieur Dryden était l’original.

La différence est dans un nom qui est Sam Pollock. L’ancien directeur général ne sait pas dit à l’époque : Bon, on a trouvé notre gardien alors notre système de jeu doit tourner à l’entour de lui. Au contraire, après cette série éliminatoire, il s’est dit qu’il va bâtir la plus grande équipe de la ligue. Il a été cherché le démon blond Guy Lafleur durant le repêchage. Par la suite, Larry Robinson, Bob Guiney, Serge Savard et Guy Lapointe ont formé la nouvelle génération de l’équipe des Canadiens version 70’s style.

La mentalité de l’équipe n’était pas de mettre l’accent sur le gardien, mais de devenir une grande équipe. Sam Pollock prenait des risques et avec l’équipe qui avait, le ciel n’avait aucune limite pour les Habs.

Sam Pollock

Vous voyez qu’est-ce que je veux dire. C’est cette équipe que je veux revoir.

La pire chose qui s’est passée aux Canadiens de Montréal fut qu’ils ont gagné la Coupe Stanley en 1986 et en 1993. Vu les miracles du numéro 33, l’organisation a plutôt voulu trouver un 2e Patrick Roy au lieu de bâtir une dynastie entourée de rois. En 1987, les Canadiens avaient  une meilleure équipe quand 1986 et lorsqu’ils ont affronté les Flyers en série, ils ont perdu.

De nos jours, les grandes équipes comme les Pengouins de Pittsburgh, les Blackhawks de Chicago et les Kings de Los Angeles ont des attaquants étoiles, des défenseurs incroyables et de très bons gardiens. Pour Chicago par exemple, la clé de leur équipe est leur unité défensive car, ceux-ci doivent défendre et alimenter l’attaque. Pour les Canadiens, la structure de l’équipe dépend beaucoup trop de la performance du gardien de but. Carey Price n’est pas dans sa plus grande forme et les Canadiens ne jouent pas aussi mal qu’on le dise, mais la structure tue l’équipe. On veut trop vivre dans le passé au lieu d’avancer. Lors de l’échange de Patrick Roy, au lieu d’aller chercher des joueurs clés, Réjean Houle a été cherché Jocelyn Thibault. Un gardien de but qu’il espérait être un deuxième Patrick Roy. Quand on avait José Théodore, encore une fois, on lui imposait beaucoup trop de responsabilités en tant que gardien de but.

L’échange de P.K Subban pour Webber est un exemple flagrant de la malédiction qui quête les Canadiens.

P.K. Collection at PKSubban.com

Ce fut un échange à cause de la culture de l’organisation et non un échange qu’on nous faisait croire pour le bien-être de l’équipe. On se souvent qu’est-ce qui s’est passé durant les séries éliminatoires de 2017, Nashville qui avait pour but suite à cet échange d’avoir la meilleure équipe pour gagner la coupe et cette même équipe a été à la finale de la Coupe Stanley.

Au lieu de vouloir gagner la Coupe Stanley avec une armée remplie de soldats talentueux, on veut plutôt la gagner en volant cette coupe avec un gardien dans le filet.

Il faut qu’on sorte de ce sort, car depuis 30 ans, nous sommes ensorcelés par cette mentalité qui empêche cette équipe avec une histoire si riche d’évoluer.

C’est le temps d’évoluer!

Signé Sabine en collaboration avec le garçon de 9 ans en 1986 aka Don Démosthènes. Nous sommes prêts aux attaques.

 

 

 

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Phenomenal Montreal

At last, we are seeing a big blue sky in Montreal. I’m walking on the streets like I was AJ Styles in a very feminine but still badass way.

AJ Style meet Lou Reed Chronicle Style

Everyone seem happy and the city is again alive!

We are getting closer to the festivals season. My favorite time (after the NFL season) of the year. Again, Bing, sing it for us.

Bing

It’s actually a good time to be in town. The Francofolies, the International Jazz Festival, the Just for Laugh Festival, the F1, the FE and everything in between will spicy up the city and we will go crazy all summer long.

You can hang out in the Little Italy and pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables at Marché Jean-Talon. You just feel the european vibe when you are shopping there. This nice picture was taken by a talented friend of mine F.R.

Marché Jean-Talon

Credits to FR

I’m in love with my city since birth (after my mamma, papy and big bro of course). And I’m very proud to be from the Northside.

It’s Leonard Cohen sanctuary, The Impact and The Carabins of UdeM playground (I’m a very proud UdeM supporter).

CarabinsChamps

It is Arcade Fire city! One of the greatest band of all time.

NorthSideLa belle RegineMontrealReflektorLeonard

 

Oh and of course, P.K. Subban home! I cannot not mention our dear P.K.

The magician

My dream would be PK celebrating here with the Stanley Cup at the Montreal Children Hospital! Bring the cup here Superman.

P.K. Collection at PKSubban.com

 

PK the Great

375 years old today  and this city is still as young as ever. Even our mayor is celebrating with the greatest Kompa band.

We are proud to be Montrealers for life. And we have every reason to be.

Montreal my darling, you are still wonderful.

Yellow brick road