Disgruntled Montreal Canadiens winger Michael Cammalleri has just unloaded on his team, calling them – to summarize – a bunch of losers. The sound you’re hearing is the wheels coming off the bus.
If you didn’t know it already, now you do. This season is toast – and it’s a couple of slices of POM bread burned beyond recognition. Really. A hapless GM, a lame-duck “interim” coach, a captain – Brian Gionta – who is now likely out for the season, and…..well you know what I could go on but it’s simply too depressing. Oh yeah but Scotty ‘Big Bucks = Loopy Grin’ Gomer is coming back this week, so all is well! But I digress….
Here’s what Cammie said to La Presse reporter Francois Gagnon and Arpon Basu from nhl.com. Gagnon has the lion’s share of the juicy quotes, so everything here is from his piece. (Translated from the French by me. So you have the odd concept that Gagnon talked to Cammie in English, wrote his piece in French and now I’m translating his quotes back into the language of Gretzky!)
“I can’t accept that we have an attitude of losers,” Cammalleri said. “We prepare for the games as losers. We play like losers. So you don’t have to ask why we lose. We look at the games coming and we say that we have to follow the letter of the game-plan if we want to have a chance of winning. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s all well and good to watch videos of other teams. It’s good to look at the notes on the board. But at a certain point, you also have to play. And you should play without having to always worry about making mistakes.”
This is clearly an open shot across the bow at coach Randy ‘Parley Vous’ Cunneyworth who, if we believe what Cammie is saying, is following the same conservative Martin “system”. That system is – was – all about limiting mistakes, playing defensively and desperately hanging on to leads. How’d that work out? Not so great.
Continues Cammie, in La Presse: “I’ve played for some good and less good teams. When you have a losers attitude, you lose more often that you win and you go down in the standings. When you have a winners attitude, when you’re worried about making mistakes and you react to a mistake by making 15 great plays, you win and you get out of your misery.”
The first point is – obviously there is a lot of truth to what Cammie is saying. This “losers” attitude has been the philosophy of the team ever since Jacques ‘Mr. Personality’ Martin took over and it could be argued that it’s been the rallying cry of the whole Bob ‘What About Bob’ Gainey era. I like to call it ‘the quest for mediocrity’. Try not to lose and maybe, just maybe, we’ll squeak into 8th place and then get lucky – perhaps meet a choker team – and we might get two playoff series and the team owners will get a few million bucks in profit. But maybe, on the other hand, we’ll meet the Leafs on the final game of the season, the Loafs will win 6-5 and we’ll end up with an early tee-up on the golf course.
But the second more important point is that Cammalleri has absolutely no right to blast his coaches and team-mates. Earth to Cammie – you have nine goals and 13 assists in 37 games this season and you’re -6. In other words, you are very much part of the problem. So don’t whine about ice-time. Earn it.
The scuttlebutt on Cammalleri is that he’s a selfish player and he certainly is giving a lot of ammunition to his critics with this outburst.
So what does the team do? If I was Cunneyworth, I’d bench him for the Bruins game Thursday. But really the ideal solution is for one of his team-mates to come up and clock him in the head – figuratively of course! They should tell him to put up or shut up and that he can come back and whine once he’s scored a few game-winning goals. The problem is that I can’t imagine who on this heart-less squad is up for such a job. Maybe Chris Nilan. Oh yeah he hasn’t played for the Habs for a couple of decades.
And yes Cammalleri is practically begging for a trade. The problem there is that Pierre ‘Major Major’ Gauthier rather improbably still holds the keys to the Habs mansion and I – like most everyone else in the city – have zero faith that the Ghost has the savoir-faire to clinch a good deal for Cammie or anyone else.
Last but not least, can you imagine the hilarity in the Bruins dressing room Thursday morning as they yuk up the dissent in the Habs ranks and plot just how they’re going to bust some heads tonight?
Here is something we haven’t seen often this year: