You know what? I could get to like this Randy Cunneyworth guy. After Tuesday night’s victory – with the Habs topping the Ottawa Senators 6-2 – I could get to like most anybody. Well okay I’m still a little sore with Bob ‘What About Bob’ Gainey. But let’s focus on the positive for a second here.
Ottawa Citizen sports scribe Wayne Scanlan has a good profile of the newish Habs coach in the Gaz Wednesday, underlining how Cunneyworth paid his dues coaching eight years with the Buffalo Sabres farm club the Rochester Americans, another two as an assistant with the Atlanta Thrashers, and yet another year behind the bench with the Canadiens farm team the Hamilton Bulldogs.
It’s nice to see someone finally saying something about Cunneyworth other than that he hasn’t mastered the language of Giroux. And before you go and call me a hypocrite, let me make one thing clear. I haven’t changed my view on this – the coach of the Habs has to speak some French. He doesn’t have to be fluently bilingual but he has to do at least a little of the parlez-vous thing.
So guess what was the first thing Cunneyworth said to the RDS reporter Tuesday night after his first win as the Habs’ head coach? “Je suis tres content,” said Cunneyworth.
Now how hard was that Randy? And it just had me thinking – once again – that the Canadiens brass – yes that’s you Pierre ‘Major Major’ Gauthier – threw Cunneyworth to the lions – yes that’s you Montreal media types – by not telling him to say a few words en francais when he was introduced as Jacques ‘Mr. Personality’ Martin’s replacement a a couple of weeks back.
Yesterday I was blasting Cunneyworth for sitting Lars Eller and P.K. Subban last week in Winnipeg but today the move looks like sheer genius. Subban returned to action and scored a goal – an absolute beaut, set up by Erik Cole, after he faked a shot – and added an assist, ending his evening with a +2 rating. Eller also scored a very nice goal, a shorthanded marker which also happened to be the goal that brought Montreal back into the game after they let the Senators score only 1:42 into the game.
“It’s great to get that win,” said Subban. “It’s been a tough couple of weeks for everybody.”
Carey ‘What Me Worry’ Price was saying they won this one for the coach.
“He’s been doing a good job for us and we haven’t been playing up to par,” said Alfred E. Neuman Price.
Short version? We like coach Cunneyworth this morning, which is why we’re not calling him Martin-lite. At least not today.
Here’s something we haven’t seen much of lately – the Habs celebrating a victory.