If the Leafs can hire a real coach, why can’t the Habs?

Posted: March 3, 2012 in Uncategorized
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I was having my Saturday morning cafe au lait watching the Brian Burke/Randy Carlyle press conference – really not half as entertaining as our usual Saturday-morning fare, SpongeBob Squarepants – and I couldn’t help thinking – wow this is kind of neat to watch a presser with an NHL general manager who actually talks like a normal human being. This was quite a novel experience for a Habs fan. I don’t think Burke once used the word ‘Mister’!

Burke can be aggressive on occasion but he replies in what seems a pretty honest, straight-forward way to the journalists’ questions, something that just doesn’t come naturally to Pierre ‘Space Cadet’ Gauthier. Gauthier would’ve been calling them Mr. Carlyle and Mr. Wilson – yes I stole Steve ‘Fagstein’ Faguy’s joke! – and would’ve been lecturing the ink-stained wretches and us fans about why he knows so much better than we do what’s best for the Habs. The Ghost has a disconcerting habit of talking down to people. You heard him on Monday, scolding everyone for their hysteria about the Habs. We’re just one or two pieces away from big-time success and all you journalists and fans can do is whine about being in last place.

Burke tells it like it is.

“I never had a team falling off a cliff like that before,” he said. “I don’t know what happened.”

I mean can you imagine Gauthier or Bob ‘What About Bob’ Gainey being that honest? Me neither.

But that’s not what I wanted to rant and rave about. No what gets me in all this is that Burke, with his team self-destructing, isn’t afraid to fire his old pal Ron Wilson and reach out for another old friend, Randy Carlyle, who is one highly-esteemed, highly-seasoned coach. Burke and Carlyle won the Cup together in 2007 with the Anaheim Ducks.

So why couldn’t the Canadiens hire a real coach? A coach who’s won something. A coach with serious NHL experience. Not to put a fine point on it, why didn’t the Habs hire Carlyle? The Ducks gave him his pink-slip on December 1 and immediately hired former Washington Capitals bench boss Bruce ‘F-Bomb’ Boudreau. Gauthier – or was it Bob ‘Elvis has not left the building’ Gainey? – axed Jacques ‘Mr. Personality’ Martin on Dec. 17 and replaced Marcel Marceau with Randy ‘Parlez-vous’ Cunneyworth.

In other words, the other Randy C. was available Dec. 17. So why didn’t Gauthier/Gainey go for the coach with a Cup ring and a record of 273-182-61?

Instead they went for a guy with no NHL head-coaching experience, no French, and no credibility in the room. And then Canadiens president Geoff Molson threw him under the bus just days later when he released a public letter saying they’d be hiring a bilingual coach next season – code for, thanks for nothing Randy, you’re going straight back to the AHL at the end of this dismal season.

Someone told me recently they’d had a chat with a veteran sports agent who said that the seasoned players have no respect for Cunneyworth because he’s won nothing – and worse, came in as the ‘interim coach’.

So why’d management do that rather than, like Burke, forcefully going out to find the best coach available who might actually help the team win?

I honestly don’t have the answer to that question. But it does perhaps lead us back to the conspiracy theory outlined in my last blog – that the Ghost put in a lame-duck coach so that the firm of G&G could secretly run the bench themselves and desperately try to save their own jobs by playing high-priced underachievers like Scott ‘Big bucks equals loopy grin’ Gomez and Tomas ‘Soft as Cadbury’ Kaberle in the hopes they will produce points and justify the crap deals that brought them here.

I know, it sounds crazy. But once again, if that’s not the reason, you explain to me why Burke goes and gets an A-list coach and the Habs go for an ‘interim coach’ – aka lame-duck coach – with zero experience. We all know how that worked out! (Hint: The Habs are dead-last in the East.)

On that note, enjoy the Randy C. versus Randy C. battle of also-rans tonight!

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