On the Pacioretty hit and Saku Koivu en français

Posted: December 19, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

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Well the good news is that kindly ol’ coach Michel Therrien is saying Max Pacioretty is day-to-day and has not ruled out the possibility that he’ll play Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators. Right after that dangerous hit from the Ducks’ Clayton Stoner Thursday night, Patch looked to be in real pain and it was like you could hear the air being sucked out of Habs’ fans across the province as we contemplated the notion that we might have to go some serious time without the team’s leading scorer (13 goals and 25 points in 33 games).

So in the end it appears to be not as bad as it looked at the time. This is very much a good thing.

So should Mr. Stoner have had to face some punishment from the League. Having now watched the video a number of times – hey it was Friday afternoon – I am leaning toward the idea he should’ve been penalized for boarding but that’s it. The colour commentator on the City broadcast had a point that Pacioretty was “a little guilty of admiring his pass there” – he was watching the puck move down the ice and clearly didn’t see Stoner coming. So he wasn’t playing heads-up hockey and worse, as he got hit, he turned to face the boards, compounding the danger.

That said, the hit was late and since Andrew Berkshire was kind enough to post the rule on boarding, you can see the hit is most definitely worthy of a boarding call. Here’s the rule: “A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player or goalkeeper who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently in the boards.”

You read that and you realize the refs totally goofed. No penalty? That’s a joke. But it probably doesn’t deserve a suspension either.

Now on to Saku Koivu. I am not the world’s biggest Saku fan – inspirational leader maybe but not a No. 1 centre on any other NHL team – but that was a terrific tribute Thursday night. And guess what? That other smallish No. 11 – the one not named Gallagher – started and ended his speech in the language of Béliveau. He opened by saying: “Bonjour mes amis de Montréal’. And ended with: “Je t’aime pour toujours, Montréal”.

And so ends the language controversy that has dogged the former Habs captain for years, with some in the franco world grumbling about the fact that he never said as much as ‘bonjour’ publicly while spending a decade with the Canadiens C on his sweater. Fact is I was one of the grumblers (eds. note: Of course you were. The haters will hate.) You live in Montreal, you are captain of their main sports team, it’s a mostly franco city, you show respect by speaking a little French. Seems pretty simple to me. You don’t have to be fluent but you do have to make an effort, like young Mr. Subban has.

So I’m super happy he broke out some franco chat last night but it begs the question – why didn’t it happen when he was with the team? I think some of the blame has to fall on the shoulders of the management at the time that didn’t have the brains or guts to tell him he had to do a little parlez-vous-ing. But he should’ve known better too.

So what changed? I have to think one of the factors is the new much more franco team headed up by president/owner Geoff Molson and GM Marc Bergevin, the latter a guy who has filled as many positions in the organization as possible with francophones and who has often talked of the importance of his franco roots. Did someone politely suggest Koivu throw in un peu de français? La question qui tue.

– Brendan Kelly

 

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