Category Archives: Bob Gainey

Alex Tanguay Shines And Big Georges Flexes His Muscles Against The Not-So-Nice Phoenix Coyotes

It was so much more than just a nice 4-1 win for the Habs over the Phoenix Coyotes. It was good, it was bad, it was ugly. And because of the bad and the ugly, big Georges Laraque saw more ice time than he probably expected.

 

Andre Kostitsyn was leveled in the second period by someone named Kurt Sauer, and lay on the ice in obvious bad shape for an uncomfortable length of time. But in the end, he refused a stretcher and skated off with the help of his teammates. It wasn’t a nice situation, and younger brother Sergei was surely the most unhappy and concerned person in the rink. So far there’s been no word on how Andrei is, at least that I’m aware of.

 

That was the bad and ugly part.

 

The good parts were many. Tom Kostopoulos tangled with the bigger Sauer because Tom Kostopoulos does this. He sticks up for his teammates. And that’s why I think he’s one of the most important guys on the team.

 

And Georges Laraque was sent on, on an almost regular basis after the Kostitsyn incident, and after Alex Kovalev took a stick in the face, and big Georges did was he was brought to the Canadiens to do. He showed these goons that if you mess around with the stars, you have to fight him.

 

And who wants to fight Georges Laraque?

 

Teams will learn this quickly, starting tonight. Screw around and meet Georges.

 

Oh, the good stuff doesn’t end here. There was a goal and two assists for an apparently rejuvenated Saku Koivu. Carey Price was once again great. Guillaume Latendresse continues his good play and had an assist.

 

And last, but not least, there’s Alex Tanguay. This guy was born to play for the Habs. He scored two goals, this after scoring the shootout winner against Boston on Wednesday. He looks happy. He plays a good two-way game with the accent on finesse. It’s hard to imagine that he was such an non-entity in Calgary.

 

And not only that, but Tanguay is what Daniel Briere could have been in Montreal. He’s fast becoming the toast of the town, a good Quebec boy who’s fit in in Montreal like we’d hoped he would. He’s going to be a huge name as the season goes on, and he’s got a big smile on his face.

 

Briere wanted no part of this special limelight and chose Philadelphia. But that’s good. Because we’ve got Tanguay now.

 

And one last thing about Tanguay that I found really funny. He said the other day that he had no idea of the history of the Montreal Canadiens, except what went on in the last ten or fifteen years or so.

 

I suppose many players nowadays have no idea about the great past of the Habs, but when I think about it, I shouldn’t be surprised. These guys are young. Tanguay was born in November, 1979, so even when the Habs won the Cup in 1986, he was only six years old. (Is my math right?)

 

And I think he paid more attention to the Quebec Nordiques when he was a kid.

 

GAME NOTES:

 

I’m still having a little trouble getting used to not seeing the two big CH’s at centre ice at the Bell Centre. The big 100’s painted there are fine, but the CH’s are being missed by me.

 

The other new addition to the club, Robert Lang, has also fit in really well and notched an unassisted goal tonight. Bob Gainey made some nice decisions by bringing in Lang, Tanguay, and Laraque.

 

NEXT UP:

 

The Florida Panthers are in town Monday. This is another team I would move to Canada if I was the Supreme Ruler.

 

See Ya Later Mats. Welcome Aboard Robert Lang!

Waiting for Mats Sundin to figure out what he wanted to do turned sour after about the first month. And finally, in the middle of September, with training camp close to happening, Bob Gainey made his move.

 

Because I’m sure Gainey was even more sick of the Sundin thing than we were.

 

So he went out yesterday and landed centre Robert Lang from Chicago, and now the team is set for training camp with all the pieces in place, and scoring Lang instead of Sundin isn’t that bad a thing at all.

 

It’s all strength down the middle now, with Lang, Saku Koivu, Tomas Plekanec, Maxim Lapierre, and Kyle Chipchura.

 

Robert Lang’s been around. He’s 37 now, and has played with six previous teams, LA, Boston, Pittsburgh, Washington, Detroit, and Chicago, and was even Alex Kovalev’s centreman in Pittsburgh. He’s a playmaker who averages 50 points a year, and is going to be, in my estimation, a key player with the Habs.

 

This means the Canadiens are now a mix of older and young, of experience throughout, with Carey Price beginning his second full season.

 

The Canadiens gave up a second-round draft pick in 2010, which is fine. Because this is a team gunning for all the marbles this year, their 100th season, and the time is ripe.

 

This Lang thing puts me in a good mood. I’ve got big expectations for him. They say he might he play alongside Kovalev, just like in the old days. And he seems really happy to come to Montreal, which is of the utmost importance. “You never want to get traded or have to move your family,” he said, “but I think it’s going to be a great situation. It’s a great hockey town.”

 

Of course it is, Robert. It’s the greatest hockey town on the planet. You’re walking into a great thing, and I know you’re 37 years old, but you now belong to a historic and legendary team and you’re going to do great.

 

Welcome aboard, Robert. Wear the CH with pride.

 

ALSO:

 

Patrice Brisbois has resigned with the Habs and this is good too. Brisebois, mistakes or not, is a classy guy with something to offer, but unless there’s an injury from another blueliner, he won’t see tons of ice time. 

 

And this is another guy who wants to play in Montreal and had hoped that Gainey would resign him so he could stay. And he may even pop the odd power play goal.

Bob Gainey Knows What He’s Doing. And He Just Keeps Showing It.

Bob Gainey’s recent decision to sign great big defenceman Ryan O’Byrne to a multi-year contract means Gainey and coach Guy Carbonneau feel O’Byrne could turn out to be a force to be reckoned with, which he hasn’t shown yet in his handful of games with the Montreal Canadiens except very briefly here and there.

 

Patience is being shown here. That’s why Gainey and Carbonneau are hockey bosses, and not working in a supermarket.

 

O’Byrne has shown that he knows how to party, which landed him in hot water in Tampa last year, but he hasn’t yet shown signs that he going to be the next Larry Robinson. But this kid could be a huge asset to the Habs. All he has to do is play with more of a chip on his shoulder.

 

O’Byrne is 6’6″ and 228 pounds, a size that other General Managers would trade their wives and kids for. And now, with a brand new three year contract under his belt, O’Byrne can relax, get mean and nasty, and throw smaller players trying to score on his goalie up and over the glass.

 

I’m also sure that with this new contract, O’Byrne and his parents are going “WHEW” after the fiasco in Tampa that could have possibly blown his career. (For those unaware, O’Byrne and his teammates had their annual party where rookies pay the shot, in Tampa Bay two days before a game, and around three or four AM, police were called when O’Byrne was somehow left standing there holding a few bucks and a purse belonging to a young woman in the restaurant. It was all very odd, but the team backed him, and now, with this contract, he can put it all behind him and step it up a notch.)

 

Montreal also signed a young player out of the University of Michigan with the great name of Max Pacioretty. And what a great name it is! Sounds like he’s out of the 1930′ or ’40’s. Sounds like he could be a pulp fiction private eye.

 

But what Max brings to the table is a big, young power forward who, as Gainey explains, isn’t far off from making the big club. And we all know that Montreal needs a big power forward.

 

Max says he models himself after the Canucks’ Ryan Kessler, which could be a great thing indeed. Kessler plays a big mean game with the Canucks, and is one of their most important players. Other GM’s drool about this guy. Pacioretty is 6’2″, 203 pounds, while Kessler is 6’2″, 205 pounds, which means, after I did the math, that they’re pretty well the same size. 

 

So Bob Gainey probably decided against signing someone like Todd Bertuzzi, a power forward on the big downside of his career, because he had planned all along to ink Max P., a babes-in-arms power forward.

 

In my book, you have to really like these two recent signings. And add Georges Laraque to the mix, and the Montreal Canadiens have gone from one of the smallest teams in the league to one of the biggest. meanest machines around.

 

October can’t come soon enough.