I’ve told you that story about how Marc Bergevin gave me The Stare. I was at an Evenko press conference and I asked him a question he didn’t like and he just positively glared at me. It was one of my highlights of my year as a journalist.
M. Bergevin doesn’t like questions that are even a little critical. At last year’s season-ending press conference, he got angry with La Presse’s Philippe Cantin for daring to suggest that something might be wrong in HabsLand.
So here we are after this snake-bitten season and the three men in suits running the Montreal Canadiens are firing on all cylinders, coming up with every excuse in the world for the team’s epic collapse. The central excuse at Monday’s festival of excuses was, of course, the season-ending injury to Carey Price. Lame. From the team whose motto is ‘no excuses’.
Marc Antoine Godin in La Presse this morning notes that the Canadiens went .390 after Price went down and if you think that’s normal, you’re not thinking. Normal teams don’t collapse like a house of cards when they lose their goalie. Sure they do less well but they don’t give up. But there was zero analysis from the Habs brass as to what happened. And no one was held accountable.
Remember when Bergevin popped out of the foxhole mid-season to guarantee Michel Therrien a pay-cheque through to the end of the season? At the time, MB said – ‘It’s on me’. So what does that mean? How did he take responsibility for this massive fail? Did Bergevin give his salary back to Geoff Molson? Did he offer to resign? Did he apologize?
No he did none of the above. He said it’s hard to make big trades in today’s NHL. I loved listening to Pierre McGuire on TSN 690 run through all the big trades that happened in the past few years and conclude by saying that smart GMs make major moves. Ouch!
And why didn’t the spiffily-dressed GM find a real goalie to replace Price? No one was available that was an upgrade on what the Habs had, claims Bergevin. Really? At no point during the season? Would it not be worth a draft pick to get into the playoffs? I know, it’s a risky move and Bergevin doesn’t like risky moves.
There was no discussion Monday of the mistakes Bergevin made – Kassian, Semin, Brière, Parenteau, and those various spare parts whose names I can’t remember.
It was all about how great the Habs did a year earlier. Now there’s two things about that argument. One is that on many night during that prior season, the Canadiens looked positively pathetic and they only won cos Carey pulled off a few miracles. Secondly, they sucked it out in the playoffs. Price was just ordinary – remember that? – and we had trouble beating a sad-sack Ottawa team and simply couldn’t buy a goal against Tampa Bay. All the problems of this year were already there last year – it was just the issues were swept under the rug by Price’s God-like play.
So keep those excuses coming. Mitch Melnick said he was disappointed that Geoff Molson didn’t apologize for the season and my old pal Mitch was right on the money. The fans deserve an apology. This is our team. Great teams – Glasgow Celtic, the Red Sox, Barcelona – belong to the people. And you treat us with contempt at your own risk.
- Brendan Kelly