I could tell you I told you so. Actually I will. I told you so.
Longtime readers – eds. note: Masochists? – know that I have been wondering for quite some time now if Marc Bergevin wasn’t all style and no substance and well now the Habs Nation has caught up with me on that one.
Bergevin had spent the better part of the past two years trying to convince us that the Canadiens were an elite team – and most bought it. Hey we went to the conference finals two years ago right? Went two rounds last playoff.
But it was an illusion. And that was clear last spring. All the problems the Canadiens are having now were there in that playoff “run”. The times got tough and Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec went into hiding. Andrei Markov showed he’s simply no longer able to skate with NHL opponents. Short version – they couldn’t score goals. Sound familiar?
And Bergevin looked at the problem and went out and snared Alex Semin. Trouble was there was a good reason no other team wanted Semin – because he’s washed up. That’s the third straight scorer Bergevin has reached out to pick up who’s turned out to be a dud – following on Brière and Parenteau.
So P.K. Subban’s right, as he tells Stu Cowan in the Saturday Gazette. Fans have every right to be upset.
“It’s a lot of money to come watch this hockey team play….it’s not cheap,” Subban tells Cowan.
Indeed. The Canadiens raised prices significantly at the start of this snake-bitten season – they went up 24-percent in the blues, 20-percent in the greys, 10-percent in the whites, and just three-percent in the reds. (All these figures courtesy of a Cowan column from last August.) Nice! Hit the cheap tickets hardest, hitting the people who can least afford it hardest.
According to Forbes, the Canadiens are the second most valuable team in hockey, behind the New York Rangers. The Rangers are worth $1.2 billion. The Habs are now worth 1.18 billion, up 18-percent from a year earlier, and way up from the $575 million owner Geoff Molson and his consortium paid in 2009.
It just proves what the few critics out there have been saying. The Habs are a brilliantly-run business. The management group has increased the value of the team by over $500 million in five years. That’s a blockbuster result. There’s only one small problem. They don’t have a good hockey department. I know, it’s a detail.
And as long as they keep making that kind of money, don’t hold your breath waiting for them to bring in a hockey people that can compete with the Chicago Blackhawks of this world. Sadly it’s a Maple Leafs-like dilemma. Nice condo towers eh?
- Brendan Kelly