You might well answer ‘Randy Cunneyworth’ and you might well be wrong. Do you think Cunneyworth really wants to play the remarkably ineffective Rene ‘I Don’t Parlez-Vous Either’ Bourque more than 19 minutes a game, a stat underlined by The Gazette’s Pat Hickey in his column Tuesday?
No I don’t think so either. I was listening to Michel Villeneuve and Martin McGuire on Les Amateurs de sports Monday night – no I don’t have anything resembling a life’ and McGuire was positing the theory that the Bourque ice-time situation was the clearest indication yet that the real coaching decisions are being made upstairs. In other words, it could well be Pierre ‘Major Major’ Gauthier who’s telling his lame-duck “interim” coach who to play when.
Why? For the same reason Gauthier was telling Jacques ‘Mr. Personality’ Martin and later Cunneyworth to play Scott ‘Sigh’ Gomez on the power-play – to justify bad trades made by the firm of G&G (Gainey & Gauthier). Mitch Melnick said it best Monday on TSN 990 – “Rene Bourque is a complete bust!” No can argue with that one.
It’s easy to summarize Bourque’s stats – most games, it’s no shots, no goals, no assists, and no hits. And the best part? The Habs are stuck with this guy for four more years at, according to CapGeek, $3 million next year, $4 million the year after that, then two years at $2.5 million. If he continues to play like this, at that price-tag, he is untrade-able. Another classic Ghost trade.
Did I mention that Cammie got a goal and three points Monday night against the Dallas Stars? Yes that’s the same Cammie Gauthier traded – during the intermission for heaven’s sake – to Calgary in return for Bourque.
So the conspiracy theory goes that Gauthier could be pressuring Cunneyworth to play Bourque more in a desperate bid to get him some points – a strategy that’s clearly backfiring. The same type of theories cropped up with Gomer – because why else would the coaches be giving this non-scorer so much quality ice-time?
There was a hilarious exchange between Hickey and Cunneyworth on Monday after the morning skate at Brossard, which began with Hickey reminding Parlez-Vous that a week ago he called-out Bourque for not pulling his weight on the team.
“He acknowledges he’s been playing like a dog,” says Hickey. “He’s still getting 20 minutes a game. Is it discouraging that he doesn’t seem to have responded to that?”
In one of the funnier moments in recent Habs media scrum history, Cunneyworth actually argues that Ghost Bourque has shown some improvement over the last week. (Eds. note: Maybe Parlez-Vous thought Hickey was talking about Raymond Bourque in his prime!) Cunneyworth says – you can’t make this stuff up! – that Bourque is out there with a little more authority, that he likes the way he’s manoeuvring his body. (Eds. note: It’s not Battle of the Blades Randy.)
“He tries to get as far away from the scrums as possible,” counters Hickey. “This guy is supposed to be a tough guy.”
Hats off to Hickey on this one. Once again, I just feel bad for Cunneyworth here. He’s been put into yet another impossible situation by his bosses – the same bosses who threw him under the bus just hours after they made him coach of the Habs.
A few weeks back, La Presse’s Francois Gagnon had a great piece speculating about management interference with the Habs coaches. He suggested that Bob ‘What About Bob’ Gainey might have been trying to call the bench-decision shots back when Claude Julien was coaching and that Julien didn’t appreciate that one bit.
Gagnon also has a good column in La Presse Tuesday titled ‘Molson doit congedier Gauthier’. (Eds. note: Clearly Gagnon is an avid reader of Top Shelf With BK.) And you have to think Geoff Molson will follow this sound advice.
But Mr. Molson will not be able to fire Bourque. Or Tomas ‘Soft As Cadbury’ Kaberle. Or Gomez. Actually maybe he will “fire” Gomez – by sending him to ride the bus with the folks toiling in Hamilton.
My point is just that even if he does the right thing and sweeps out the stagnant management, it’s still going to take the new GM and coach at least two if not three seasons to mend the wounds inflicted during the the reign of error known as the G&G years.