Out With The Old. Plus…Mini-Rant About Habs Players Nowadays


If there’s any lingering doubt that Bob Gainey and company have been hard at work the last few years trying to find solutions to the mess they’ve found themselves in, you don’t have to look any further than this photo of the 2007-2008 Montreal Canadiens – just two seasons ago.

The photo shows 24 players on the team.

In just over a year, 13 players from this photo, more than half the team, are gone – Alex Kovalev, Saku Koivu, Chris Higgins, Mikhail Grabovski, Francis Bouillon, Mark Streit, Michael Ryder, Patrice Brisebois, Tom Kostopoulos, Mathieu Dandenault, Steve Begin, Mike Komisarek, and Brian Smolinski.

Only Carey Price, Jaroslav Halak, Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Kostitsyn Sergei Kostitsyn, Josh Gorges, Roman Hamrlik, Guillaume Latendresse, Maxim Lapierre, and Ryan O’Byrne remain.

Then eliminate guys who came in a year ago like Robert Lang, Alex Tanguay, and Mathieu Schneider.

You can also delete George Gillett, Guy Carbonneau, Roland Melanson, Doug Jarvis, and probably a few others in suits I’m just not aware of.

Brian Smolinski, from that team of two years ago, seemed to understand what it meant to wear the CH. He’d get autographs of the legends he’d see around the Bell Centre, from the likes of Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard, Dickie Moore and Ken Dryden. He’d heard the stories growing up from his grandfather and father, and got personalized autographs for them from these Hall of Famers. He talked to them, and knew he was in the presence of greatness. But unfortunately, nowadays, there are very few Brian Smolinski’s coming to Montreal who appreciate what it all means. Alex Tanguay says he knew nothing about the Habs prior to arriving. The Russian guys wouldn’t have any understanding of the history, they grew up hearing about Pavel Bure and Igor Larionov, and come to North America simply for a better life. For a young goalie like Carey Price, forget about Dryden, Gump Worsley, or Jacques Plante.  Those players were from a distant planet. Heck, Patrick Roy was ancient for Price, having left the Habs when Price was only eight years old.

For most of these young bucks, putting on a cherished Montreal Canadiens jersey doesn’t hold any more importance than putting on a Phoenix Coyotes jersey. Maybe if young Habs read a few books about the team and players who came before them, they might pick it up a notch.

18 thoughts on “Out With The Old. Plus…Mini-Rant About Habs Players Nowadays”

  1. it’s nice that you mention this, i find that the Habs depth in history and tradition is somewhat gone. i miss some of the players. Kovy, Saks, Streit, Dandy and Begin.

    seems that this team is a whole different franchise. it’s Montreal Canadiens 2.0 it’s almost like we’re starting the franchise from 0.

    it’s sad that on our 100th year, we won’t be able to see the impact players celebrate with us. Instead we’re going to celebrate with newcomers like Cammalleri and Gionta and Gomez etc. Although I am not angry for the major team makeover, I am kind of upset that we won’t see the team that brought us here.

  2. But it had to blown. I don’t see any other way. Personally, I really wanted Kovalev and Koivu, especially Kovalev, to stay. And we saw how important Streit was after he’d gone. And Begin was all heart. It’s going to be a very interesting city. For Jag, I wasn’t insulting the entire city, just there. And maybe Surrey and few other eastern parts.

  3. Definitely, there are going to be haters, and supporters, I don’t mind the changes that much, but there are alot of irretable Habs fans right now.
    But, the changes had to done, there was no other solution, we all knew that the team wasn’t working. So, it was about time for a makeover.

  4. Dennis,

    Thought you might be interested to know that former captain and maple leafs great Teeder Kennedy died today.

  5. Thanks Jordy. Yeah, I’d heard. Originally he’d belonged to the Habs but ended up a Leaf. From all accounts, he was a great player.

  6. Saku Koivu knew what it meant to wear the CH. One thing is for sure, even if this new squad brings home Stanley I won’t be needing my big box of tissues, it won’t be the same. That box was reserved for Saku skating with it. You never know, I might get to use it, maybe the Ducks will go all the way.

  7. If Alex Tanguay says he knew nothing about the Habs prior to arriving, then it’s almost hopeless for all future players. He’s French-Canadian from Ste-Justine, Quebec the town featured in “Le chandail de hockey”. Although he would have been a Nordiques fan growing up, the teams had a great rivalry and he should have known about the storied Montreal tradition.

    Maybe he just blocked it out similar to how I believe the playoffs were cancelled in 1970 and 1972.

  8. A bit of a generalization on the young bucks, I’d say… Price knows all about the historic goalies and said he hopes to join them. Pacioretty, a life-long Rags fan, picked up Dryden’s book and now recommends everyone reads it. There’s Mac Bennett, who’s grandfather was the goalie victim to the Rocket’s 50th goal in 50 games, and hopes to beat all his family NHLers at actually getting a Stanley Cup. PK Subban knows. Weber knows through Streit about how special the team is. The Russians know through those old historic battles, though the only one who seems more eager to jump into the famous sweater is Avtsin (and we just have to hope he doesn’t get stuck in the KHL’s RFA freaky loophole of doom). They know to pick it up, ’cause frankly they don’t want to get dumped in Phoenix.

    I’m cool with the changes. I’m also extremely excited for Cammalleri. He’s a fun player to watch. (He knows the importance of the sweater). Gomez got my respect after an RDS interview during the last Rangers game we had. Teflon, pure diplomat, the RDS guy was trying to goad him into saying how crap the Habs were at the moment and he calmly deflected those attempts no matter how much the guy kept pressing him. Spacek always scared the crap out of me because he was always the one to capitalize on our errors and score (or threaten to). Mara’s hilarious and punches Darcy Tucker a lot, Moen will actually NOT ask permission to dance if he doesn’t like what he’s seeing (and can score), Gill ain’t fast but he’s huge and positionally sound enough, and I’ve always like the little guys like Gionta.

    I also think Martin (and Boucher with the Dogs) will be good for the young players.

    Tanguay and his family were all Nords fans. Nords fans are…odd. A guy I work with said he’d be more into hockey if the Nords were back. He sees them as “Quebec’s” team (which made me laugh). Then he said “who the hell is Bob Gainey anyway?” With that, I said “I’m…not going to talk hockey with you anymore ^_^”

  9. You’re a funny guy, there’s no doubt. I’m trying to block out the Boston series from last year but it may take awhile.

  10. You’re right, I generalized. But my point really was, most young guys would rather play somewhere else where their agents feel would be more suited, and wearing the CH means nothing that way. It’s people like Beliveau and Moore who hang out at the Bell Centre who keep it alive for these young guys. I also don’t believe for a second that the Kostitsyns were aware of any of Canadiens past. I’d be interested to find that out.
    I like your rundown on the new guys, and I’m as optimistic as you. I really think its going to be a good team.
    And I was as surprised as anybody when Tanguay admiited on TV (I saw it) that he knew very little about the Canadiens as he was a Nords fan and never paid attention. I think he wasn’t a good hockey fan, just a player.

  11. Just as a heads up, Roy retired in 2003. So unless Price is 12 years old now, he was much older than 6 when St. Patrick decided not to play anymore.

  12. I was talking about Roy as a Montreal Canadien. About how players don’t know the old Habs. And he left in 95. I’ve reworded it to make the proper sense.

  13. That’s okay. I was really off not only on the wording but also the numbers,(should be eight). ACID FLASHBACK! Thanks. I’m always embarrassed when something like this happens.

  14. Ah Dennis, I thought you always said NO to drugs……but then again you’re taking steroids and bulking up for the Vancouver games……..

    Cheer me up, how many more days until November 5?

  15. No. I’m waiting for summer Olympics in London where I’ll be a gymnast, the guy who stretches his arms out with the rings and all that. The steroids should be gone by then. Nov 5th? You must be shaking in your boots. Habs in Boston. Make sure you guys are good hosts for your visitors.

  16. Dennis, I’m always a good hostess. Drinking a few civilized albeit expensive beers with my hockey loving brothers and sisters from Canada. Even if they do cheer for the wrong team. 🙂 Everything right and nothing wrong with a great rivalry. If you come to town, I’ll buy your first beer of the night!

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