Was Randy Cunneyworth really the best man available?

Posted: December 19, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

To ask the question is to answer it. No Randy Cunneyworth is obviously not the best coach available to bring the Habs back to life. He’s just the guy that GM Pierre ‘Major Major’ Gauthier happens to like.

He’s Gauthier’s man. But why wouldn’t the Canadiens go out and find an A-list coach to do the job? Good question. And honestly I don’t have the answer. Maybe it’s just part of the culture of mediocrity that’s ruled the Habs thinking for the past 18 years.

You don’t like Serge Savard who’s brought you two Stanley Cups? Well why not bring in Rejean Houle who’s a nice guy but is totally unequipped to manage a National Hockey League team. You’ve decided Jacques Demers is finished. Okay why not bring in fourth-liner Mario Tremblay to run the bench and alienate your only superstar?

In fact, the new parlour game in Habs-fan circles is to try to decide if the Gainey/Gauthier era is as dire as the Houle era. That’s one tough debate. Why do I refer to the Gainey/Gauthier era? Well because Bob ‘What About Bob’ Gainey is still hanging out at the Bell Centre doing God knows what. Has anyone asked either president Geoff Molson or Gauthier if they had a pow-wow with Gainey before they threw Martin to the sharks? If he’s not advising them on decisions like this, what’s he doing coming to work at the rink? Just asking.

And Molson came out Monday with a statement in support of the hiring of unilingual anglo coach Cunneyworth, something that is igniting a veritable firestorm of protest here in Quebec.  Molson says that Cunneyworth was hired with the objective of giving the team “a much-needed spark after disappointing results since the start of the 2011-2012 season.”

But why is Cunneyworth the best guy to provide that spark? I’m convinced that if he was the best coach in hockey, there wouldn’t be nearly as much griping about the fact he doesn’t speak the language of Tremblay. But he’s not the best coach in hockey by any stretch of the imagination. So if you’re going to get someone who’s not A-list material, why not get one who speaks a little French.

Let’s face it. People aren’t objecting to the fact the coach is an anglophone. They’re objecting to the fact that he doesn’t speak a word of French. And they have a point. If Cunneyworth had designs on the big job in Montreal, he should’ve switched on the Premiere Chaine or TVA and picked up a little French. I believe that if he could even provide a little small-talk en francais, it would make a huge difference.

That’s what soured Franco Montreal on Saku Koivu. It was the fact he never even bothered to work up a couple of phrases in French. It’s called showing a little respect for the city that you live and work in.

  1. Anarky88 says:

    I hope their new coach is Mandarin speaking as they are one of the fastest growing segment in the Canadian demographic. That is a joke! However, what I desired the most is for the Habs to hire the best coach available base on their record of achievements and not on their mother tongues. That should be their only criteria. We should all remember that 16 of the 23 the Stanley Cups won by the Habs were coached by an Anglophone (or Bilingual) (Toe Blake, Dick Irvin & Scotty Bowman) and their most successful GM of all-time was Sam Pollack, another anglophone. Since Bowman left in ’79, Montreal won only two Cups and with the exception of Bob Gainey and Randy Cunneyworth, mostly francophone GMs and coaches. Is there a trend here? A cause and effect for the Habs recent dismal showing? I am not saying so. Is Randy Cunneyworth qualified to coach the Habs? Based on his record with Hamilton? Yes! Are there others as qualified? Patrick Roy and Gerald Gallant have successes in the Q and would make fine bench-boss. As for the GM, I believed that Jim Nill is the concensus next top GM-in-waiting and Montreal would be lucky to get him. What I am saying is Montreal should hired the BEST candidates possible and not handicap their searches because of language defiencies. As long as the next GM and coach is not Rejean Houle & Mario Tremblay, I am happy.

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