Guy Carbonneau Needed More Lucky Ties

There were too many flaws in the Canadiens’ game, even when they were winning, for Guy Carbonneau to be safe as head coach. And so today he was fired, because Bob Gainey knows his team is tinkering on missing the playoffs, which simply can’t happen. Never mind the pride and tradtion involved, that’s only for us, the fans. In a business like pro hockey, the playoffs is where all the money is made. It’s the gravy on the meat and potatoes. Players’ salaries, travel costs, uniforms, advertising, property taxes, everything right down to meal money, – all the dollars needed to operate – are calculated from the regular season profits. The playoffs are where owners make their money to buy and furnish their mansions, stock up on cigars and buy big cars. The playoffs put big smiles on owners and management’s faces.

Guy Carbonneau just couldn’t get it done, even when, on rare occasions, the team looked reasonably good. He couldn’t motivate Alex Kovalev, and whether you agree or not, it was his job to do this. And it wasn’t just Kovalev. Andrei Kostitsyn isn’t the star we thought he’d be this year. Brother Sergei flopped like a fish being pulled into a boat. There were rumours of infighting in the dressing room. The defence has been pitiful, allowing teams to blast away at will at both Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak most every single night, which is completely unacceptable. Mike Komisarek and Patrice Brisebois make on-ice decisions like drunken sailors. Same for most of the rearguards. It’s all been very sad.

The line-juggling became a head-scratcher, with almost every forward playing with different linemates nightly. Players wouldn’t know from one game to the next who they’d be with, and so of course, chemistry was non-existent. Why couldn’t Kovalev and Tomas Plekanec, for example, stick together on a regular basis, even after bad games? If something worked well last year, why wouldn’t it work well this year? Carbonneau never gave anyone a chance to sort things out for themselves on the ice.

Was Carbonneau the reason Carey Price sank in the mud?  Or why Georges Laraque, when healthy at least, wasn’t even close to the role he was brought to Montreal to do? Was the coach the reason for the lacklustre play throughout most of this season, or the ridiculous amount of penalties the team takes on most nights. Maybe he was.

I’ve always believed in Bob Gainey. He’s a smart, thoughtful man, and this decision to let go his old friend and teammate must weigh heavily on him. But I’m sure he’s been thinking about this since just after Christmas, when the team began to tank. And don’t forget, under Carbonneau, the Habs were completely outclassed by Philadelphia in last year’s playoffs. It was then the cracks started to show.

The Canadiens, as we all know, have been terrible for most of this year, a year which was suppose to be of celebration and smiles all around. Put them up against teams like Boston, Detroit, Washington, and others, and they look on most nights like only a good American Hockey League team. But they shouldn’t. Montreal’s a good team, as good or better than last year. But something’s been horribly wrong for months now. And imagine the Montreal Canadiens being dominated by the Boston Bruins. It goes against the forces of nature.

The crunch is on now, playoffs are just around the corner, and something quick needed to be done. Guy Carbonneau had to go. It only makes sense. Now let’s see if players will play for Gainey. Let’s see what they’re made of. The coach could only do so much. And for that, Montreal players need to look long and hard in the mirror and tell themselves that much of the problem has been their own doing, not the coach’s. It’s time now to stand up and be counted.

12 thoughts on “Guy Carbonneau Needed More Lucky Ties”

  1. Dennis:

    So if the players play well for Gainey– that’s when we’ll see what their made of?

    Well why the heck did I bother watching the previous 60+ games?

    Everything’s going to be great now that the crazy coach who insisted on playing 4th liners as a reward for their tremendous heart and effort is gone! Nope, we need more moody, mercurial, bad personal-life decision making forwards and/or moody, mercurial, need to take a scenic walk at least once a season in order to feel appreciated “superstars” to get ice time.

    Winning matters, yes. But in this the 100th season shouldn’t how the team goes about it, how the team sees itself, how the players see their commitment to the team be even more important?

    I’m disgusted. This is how we vouchsafe the memory of previous greats, heroes who gave it their all for the team– by firing one of their number. But I guess this is why I’m a fan far removed from the real show, cause I’d sure as hell agree with Carbo and back him up when he said
    “Screw you, I’m running this team so take a goddamn seat and if you’re pissed this is gonna mess with your next contract you could always, you know, go out and frickin score or at least look interested, you massively self-involved, ignorant of what this team means and blinded by your sense of entitlement jerks!

    Playing in the 100th celebrations too tough? Tough is watching what you thought the team should stand for die.

    Sorry bout the rant Dennis, but as you can tell I feel pretty strongly about this.

  2. unfortunately in the world of sports it the coach who pays the price for a team not producing. Now before I get started I want to make it clear I’m not trying to rock the boat. But with all the pressure the fans have put on montreal this year to win a cup to top off there 100th season its no wonder the team is stuggling, how the hell can anybody live up to that pressure? its a story book ending to think they could pull something like that off. Everybody seems to be talking about what they did last year and how they should be doing it again this year, did anybody ever think that last year they got hot and were lucky to finish where they did? that perhaps the team is not as good as you all want them to be or think they are? I know everybody will start in on this comment of mine with the same old story of “what it means to be a montreal canadian” or the “no year is a good year if they dont win the cup” but all of that is so unrealistic to expect of your team……its a massive accomplishment that your team has even been around for a 100 years, thats bragging rights as it is but how greedy can the habs fans get? To think that your team is going to come even close to repeat there great accomplishments of the past is just insane, the game has changed way to much. If any of you in your day jobs were having the pressure to produce put on you like your doing to your team, you would all fall flat to, NOBODY can live up to those expectations or that pressure. It should be enough for all of you to be proud of your team with its history and anything more thats added to it is a bonus. No team can win there conference every year in this era and its insanity to expect your team to win the cup. I genuinely feel bad for all the players on the habs, like i said a million times already, nobody can play with that kind of pressure on them.

  3. First off, WELCOME BACK GASTON! I see that he’s looking mighty fine which is understandable since he’s had a reprieve from DK’s daily diet of high sticks to the head, elbows to the jaw and knees to the thingamabob. Now that Gaston is generating positive vibes I’m convinced the Habs are gonna start to gel in time for the playoffs speaking of which – UH? Dennis, what is this crappola that Philadelphia Phlunkies `completely outclassed’ us last year? Get outta here! We dominated them and only a remarkable chain of very very lucky breaks enabled them to get past us. We were clearly the superior team. Period.

    Once again, I ask: Why all the sturm und drang? We’re only 4 pts off last year’s pace and we have had some key injuries to Tanguay, Lang and Latendresse. Nor was he helped by the Roy b.s. or the Lecavalier morale-sapping innuendo. And note that Price recovered his `form’ well before today. Sorry, but I’ve gotta go with SubT on this one: sure Carbo made mistakes in how he handled GL and sx his lines and matchups sucked but it wasn’t his coaching that cost us games. The intensity, the pride, the focus, the drive-to-excel, et al. are instilled by the collective will of which the coach is merely one aspect. To blame him for our apparent failure to play up to expectations (perhaps unrealistic ones?) is to pin the tail on the wrong part of the donkey.

    jordy, you are such a canucklehead!

  4. Subdoxastic, never apologize for a great rant like that. If my blog can provide a forum for people to speak out like that, then I think it’s a good blog. And Jim, you always make such great sense, but I just don’t think they were going to beat the Flyers any which way last year. And look at Boston, who almost beat them.
    But my thoughts on Carbo and the way he handled things kind of boils down to this. Why so many penalties every game? What does that mean? Why is the defence so pitiful and the team is outshot so badly every game. What does that mean? Is it the system? Or the players didn’t like the coach? So if the penalties can get back to normal, if the team can play tight games for a change, if they can outshoot the opponents often, if the bad passes stop, then it means a lot of it was Carbo’s fault.
    And believe me, I like him. I’m sad to see him go. But this team needs a big steel boot kick in the ass, and nothing was changing. Maybe it will now.

    Jordy, you’re such a Canucklehead.

  5. Naw, Dennis. I think things were changing – we started to win, again, Price has his `groove’ back, Kovalev seems more tuned in, Tanguay is back, the Lecavlaier debacle is finito, Schneider seems to be a timely replacement for Streit’s, Stewart is coming on, and etc etc. Sure, we are inconsistant but our game is growing tighter. As for the penalties, HA – now that is a real joke! Granted, my take on Carbo as coach may be somewhat simplistic but perhaps his fatal flaw was to treat his players like mature adults.

  6. I have to side in with Jim and Subdoxastic on this… the only way I can somehow make sense of this move is, if it comes from the owner and not from Bob.
    Gillet is having some financial hardships with his other ventures and the playoffs are a very key cashflow for him this year. Like vital. So if he ordered Gainey to fire Carbo because it appeared doubtful we would make the playoffs, then I can understand. I don’t agree, because it remains a bad hockey decision, but I understand.

    The fact that the team needed a big kick in the butt is true. But half the team is a UFA this summer, including most of the important parts, so that was the perfect situation for Gainey to clean it up and rebuild with guys that want to be here. Getting rid of that rare Russian cancer (Kovalev) would have been a very nice start. How many coaches has he ‘killed’ so far in his career?

    I can’t help but think of Vigneault and Julien, both of whom started in Montreal as rookie coaches, got fired for failures that weren’t really their own, and went on to become excellent coaches elsewhere – one with a Jack Adams, and the other a serious Jack Adams candidate this year.

    No matter what people think, the actual right thing to do was to leave Carbo on the job at least until the beginning of next year. So what if we don’t make the playoffs? Anyone gonna die?
    Operate major changes in the players (accountability) over the summer. Meet Carbo one on one and talk about his coaching errors (I’m not denying there were some) and have him work on fixing them.
    Then next year if the team still shows the same signs of inconsistency as this year (and as last year too, in parts), then you may think of firing the coach.

    That way at least it wouldn’t have been a panic decision… because that’s what it is now.

  7. Ya take out gUY AND put in Bob…yup that will make it all better, considering Bobs record as a coach

  8. I like you DK respect Bob Gainey but to fire a former team mate & friend with only 16 games left sounds more like Bob’s worried about his own job. To me he’s humiliated Guy who just last year was second choice for coach of the year, he did’nt forget how it’s done during the off season ! If this had been done during our crash & burn January, Febuary I just might of accepted it, but not at this stage of the season ! I’m sorry to say but I feel alot less respect for Gainey & how he dealt with this situation. If a change was required it should have been at the end of the season & allow Guy to leave with his head held high. Lately we’ve talked about class & tradition this decision lacks atleast “CLASS” !!!
    Disgruntled from the East !!!!

  9. I think it had to be done. They’re on the verge of not even making the playoffs. And even if they did make the playoffs, the way they’ve been playing lately they’d be done in four straight. I don’t think friendship or tradition has anything to do with it.

  10. Mike- this decision comes from above Gainey. It’s a money call. The owner desperately needs the cashflow generated by a deep playoff run, and in the here and now Gainey as coach gives the team a better chance for a deep playoff run.
    Is it the best long-term solution? Probably not.
    Is it the classiest thing to do? Certainly not.
    Is it the right thing to do? I don’t think so…

    But still, it comes straight from Uncle George. It was either that or Gainey was losing his job as well, and it wouldn’t have saved Carbo.

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