Maybe there really is something to what was first reported a month ago, on Jan. 11th. in the Gazette, when Erik Cole said he might be retiring sooner than expected Cole Says This Could Be his Last.
And although, as Montreal radio host Mitch Melnick has pointed out in a recent piece, Cole is a notoriously slow starter (see below), he indeed seems to be showing a serious lack of interest as he patrols his wing. There seems to be no joy in Coleville. The high-fiving a referee seems almost unimaginable now. He reminds me of me when I’m at work.
Cole has played 12 seasons in the NHL, and for many people in many jobs, about ten years doing the same thing is more than enough. It’s always been that way for me. Restless feet. But if Cole retires before he’s 35, what’s he supposed to do after he’s taken the garbage out, drove the kids to school, walked the dog, and and played some Keno at the local mall?
It made me feel good to see these numbers that show Cole’s slow starts. Maybe there’s still hope for the old man, who now stands at two goals, two assists, all for a measly six million this year. That’s a lot of Keno games.
•2011-2012: In his first 15 games Cole scored 3 goals.
•2010-2011: In his first 13 games Cole scored 3 goals.
•2009-2010: In his first 17 games Cole scored 3 goals.
•2008-2009: In his first 18 games Cole scored 3 goals.
•2007-2008: In his first 21 games Cole scored 4 goals.
•2006-2007: In his fist 11 games Cole scored 1 goal.
•2005-2006: In his first 11 games Cole scored 4 goals.
I’m a little confused about the Andrei Markov situation. It was only about a week ago that he was The Man, the quarterback, that guy who gave the team a true power play. Now, three losses later and getting outskated on a Leafs goal, Markov, in the eyes of many, is a bum who can’t play in the big league anymore.
I say hold your horses. He can still skate (he’s a defenceman, not a speedy forward), he hasn’t lost his shot after a week, and his hockey I.Q. hasn’t taken a downward spiral overnight. He’s the guy who makes those short, crisp passes to move the puck out, who mentors young D-men, and now a couple of mediocre games from him and several horrible games from his team, and the guy’s a bum? I’m not ready to concede this just yet. Ten points in eleven games to lead his team. Isn’t that okay?
I’ve also heard the theory that Montreal’s woes have coincided with the return of P.K. Subban. Gawddam. The guy hadn’t played in eleven months and people are expecting him to save the world. And how many parties have you been at with P.K. to see how no one likes him?
I think the same can be said for Markov. He played just 20 games over the past two seasons with Montreal, and now he’s expected to run the show every night, eleven games in. Markov’s personality is the exact opposite of Subban’s. He’s serious, quiet, and downright sullen. Subban is outgoing, happy,and loving life. Is one personality worse than the other? Players get used to all types.
Then I see that many feel things would’ve been different last night against the Leafs if Ryan White would’ve been in the lineup because the Leafs were thugs. Ryan White likes to scrap, but he’s not great at it. He’s too small to take on heavyweights like Colton Orr. And if you want to talk about how things would’ve been different, yes, they probably would have been if White hadn’t played against Ottawa and Buffalo, when he lost his mind.
Maybe we should be wondering about someone like Colby Armstrong, who has zero points so far. Or what to do with Tomas Kaberle and guys like Travis Moen, Yannick Weber, and even David Desharnais. What about Louis Leblanc? Where does he fit in? And our captain. Two goals in eleven games. Is he leading by example? And he took that silly penalty the other night by going for a ride on someone’s back, not because he’s feisty, but because he’s too small and couldn’t move the guy properly.
I’m as concerned as anyone. Imagine if they fall apart in Florida. Imagine if this new-look, exciting version of the Montreal Canadiens ends up looking as sad-sack as last year’s version.
But then imagine that they turn things around and start to win again.