Tag Archives: Randy Cunneyworth

Gomez Musings

What’s really sad is that I’ll never get a chance to use my Scott Gomez/Al Capone look alike joke again. (Photo by Al Catraz)

Gomez Alcatraz

I’ve liked Marc Bergevin since he was first hired by the Canadiens, but now I think he’s the greatest guy who ever lived. I want to buy him drinks and lobby to get him the Order of Canada.

He decided to rid us of the Scott Gomez piano on our back.

I’d also like to thank the Molson boys for agreeing to wear the money lost on this. Your wallet will soon be thinner, but the warm and fuzzy feelings coming from fans is so thick you can’t imagine. That has to be a decent tradeoff, don’t you think?

No more Gomez. How am I gonna get used to that? It’s asking a lot.

I don’t care what anyone will say now about how he was a good guy in the room, loved by reporters and by proud Alaskans. I can hear this all day long and it won’t matter. It never mattered. George W. Bush could be a lovely fellow too.

Gomez didn’t help his team. I ended up cringing at the sight of him in a Montreal Canadiens uniform. Sometimes it would throw me off for an entire game, even those odd times when the team was playing well. I’d be enjoying myself, and then Gomez would jump on the ice.

He never seemed to me to be a true Montreal Canadien, if that makes sense. In my eyes he didn’t belong. He played soft, even when he was spitting in a dangerous manner. He grinned at opponents much bigger than him as if to say he wasn’t at all scared by them, even though he wouldn’t go closer than three feet.

He went a year without one goal. What the hell is that?

He had sort of a decent shot but not a great one, and most times the puck sailed over the net. He tapped opposing goalies on the pads after they made a good save, which never sat well with me. The goalie prevented a Montreal goal and Gomez would congratulate him? It was like he needed players from other teams to like him. He sometimes talked and kidded with opposing centremen when they were about to take faceoffs. I wished he wouldn’t. I prefer the intense, hate-filled look.

He was the Sally Field of hockey. “You like me, you really like me!”

Recent coaches had to play him not only because he had a whopping contract, but also because there was no one else. Much better centremen like David Desharnais, Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller, who actually worked hard and got a few things done, would sometimes get tired and go to the bench. That’s where Gomez came in. He was next in line.

Randy Cunneyworth and Jacques Martin both gave him far too much ice time and surely not enough grief. They played him like he was effective. They were also both fired. Not for that, but anyway.

Michel Therrien must be feeling good about this turn of events. One less reason to blow his top. Although there will be many other reasons.

We won’t have Mr. Gomez to kick around anymore, but we carry on. In this winter of discontent, it feels right now like the Summer of Love.

 

The BIG Story Of 2012

There goes 2012. Maybe it’s a good thing.

The Habs were disturbingly mediocre in 2012, finishing 15/15 in the Eastern Division, one point behind 14th place Islanders and two behind the Leafs. I still feel nauseous.

Along the way, Hal Gill and Andrei Kostitysn were shipped to Nashville and I miss Hal. The other guy – not so much. Mike Cammalleri was given a one-way ticket to Calgary after saying publicly that his team was quite pitiful, and that was all well and good except for the fact that the Canadiens got Rene Bourque in return. We’re still not sure if Bourque is dead or alive or just really stoned on valium.

Habs’ brass Pierre Gauthier and Bob Gainey were dismissed after doing quite a lousy job for way too long, and interim coach Randy Cunneyworth and assistant Randy Ladouceur were let go when the season ended, with Michel Therrien announced later on as Cunneyworth’s replacement. It wouldn’t have mattered if Cunneyworth learned to speak French without a trace of an accent. He was on his way out and he and everyone else knew it. Finishing in the basement didn’t help matters either.

Alex Galchenyuk was chosen third overall by the Habs in the 2012 entry draft, thus allowing us to dream that the young fellow will blossom into a Guy Lafleur-type superstar. If we’re going to dream, we might as well dream big, don’t you think?

The Summer Olympics took place in London and I’m still regretting not training to be a gymnast for these games. Judging by the more than 150,000 condoms that organizers gave out to athletes, it seems like I missed an excellent party. And September of 2012 marked the 45th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series, a series which catapulted Paul Henderson from normal, everyday NHL player to monumental icon, and a series which allows me tell everyone how I was a bartender in Sudbury at the time.

And of course 2012 saw the L.A. Kings win the Stanley Cup, once again the Vancouver Canucks collapsed when it counted, a lockout began, and the world didn’t end like it was supposed to.

But none of this can match the BIG story of the year. The story destined to become a movie, a story to tell grandkids and at parties and around the supper table for years to come.

February 9, 2012. The night, while playing against the New York Islanders, when Scott Gomez scored a goal.

It was a mighty feat, his first in more than a year, and it was the winner to boot in the Habs’ 4-2 decision over the Isles. The puck came out to him and although it seems impossible, he shot it right into the net. He did. It’s in the video below if you don’t believe me.

Yes, the biggest story of 2012. Can it get any better than that?

Oh, and Happy New Year. May great things happen to you over the next 12 months.

“The Hockey News” From 1988

In a box in my closet I found a few old issues of The Hockey News from 1988, and here’s a sampling of things mentioned:

“We’re so used to this against Montreal, but we’re not complaining.” – Quebec Nordique GM Maurice Filion after an apparent tying goal was waved off against Montreal Feb. 29.

Consumer crusader Ralph Nader lobbied NHL president John Ziegler in an attempt to keep ticket prices down. FANS (Fight to Advance the Nation’s Sports), a group headed by Nader, cited the average ticket price for an NHL game at $7.87, which Nader said was “the most difficult to justify of all the major sports.” (Note from me – Originally I thought this had to be a typo, so I dug through old ticket stubs and I see that it was very possible. I have a Habs-Bruins stub at the Forum that was ten bucks. And various other stubs I have from the late 1980s ranged from ten to fourteen and upwards around twenty bucks. So maybe $7.87 isn’t completely farfetched. Just seems too cheap, that’s all).

“When Borje and the other Swedes went to the NHL, took all the crap and didn’t come home in a box,” said Mats Naslund, “we all knew we had a chance to play in the NHL.”

After Steve Yzerman scored his 50th goal – against Sabre goalie Tom Barrasso – he fished the puck out of the net. Then, inexplicably, he tossed it into the crowd on his way back to the Detroit bench. “I just thought someone else might appreciate it (as a keepsake) more than me,” Yzerman said. “I have the memory of it, and I’ll never forget it. I don’t need the puck. But he was destined to get it anyway. Jacques Demers chased down the fan who caught it, and traded him another puck and a stick for it. The coach planned to have the milestone puck mounted.

“Obviously, the fans in Minnesota don’t care about the playoff race.” Boston Bruin GM Harry Sinden, after 9,591 people showed up at the Met Center to watch Montreal and Minnesota play a 2-2 tie March 14.

Joe Sakic took it right down to the wire for a photo finish that not even the Western League stewards could decide. The Swift Current centre scored four goals in his team’s last regular-season game March 19 to tie Moose Jaw’s Theoren Fleury with 160 points. The WHL has no formal tie-breaking procedure and declared Sakic and Fleury co-champions. It’s the first time in WHL history two players have tied for the scoring championship.

Originally drafted by the Sabres in 1980, Randy Cunneyworth explains his failure to stick in Buffalo rather succinctly. “Square pegs don’t fit into round holes.”

“It’s funny,” said Stephane Richer. “In the past few games it seems that everything I shoot is going in or any time I make a pass to my linemate he scores.” Richer scored on four of 10 shots in a 7-6 overtime win at Los Angeles March 5. Among the goals was the game-winner, making it 44 goals in 65 for number 44 as he helped Montreal to a league-high eight consecutive victories.

Springfield Indians (AHL) center Bruce Boudreau had his 20-game point streak snapped by Maine in a 4-2 loss Feb. 28.

Leafs suffer double-digit embarrassment – a humiliating 10-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Cunneyworth And Ladouceur Get Their Walking Papers

Randy Cunneyworth and Randy Ladouceur are now on the bread lines.

Newly-hired Habs coach Michel Therrien has decided to bring in his own people, and so the two Randys are no longer part of the best and craziest hockey organization on the planet.

Cunneyworth, as we all know, stepped into a very difficult situation, not speaking French, and trying to get a bunch of underacheivers to play some decent hockey for a change. He wasn’t able to get it done. How could he when he was saddled with such players as Scott Gomez and Andrei Kostitsyn, to name two of many?

Ladouceur became a big hero of mine when his thundering voice blasted Scott Gomez during practice. My appreciation of the guy went through the roof when that happened.

Here’s hoping Randy and Randy move on to other big-time hockey jobs and enjoy lengthy and successful careers elsewhere. I liked both of them, and it’s sad to see them go.

 

Cunneyworth Gets The Word

On Marc Bergevin’s first day on the job, he met with Randy Cunneyworth and informed the head coach that he was now the assistant coach again. So that’s pretty final, the search for a new bench boss is on, and thanks to Cunneyworth for stepping in during a difficult time.

Two things kept Randy Cunneyworth from being rehired. Two big things. Not speaking French, and not getting much of anything out of his team. There was no miraculous comeback after Jacques Martin was fired and he was moved up. But even if the team did improve, he still didn’t speak French.

Thus, the end of the Cunneyworth era, which consisted of 50 games – 18 wins, 23 losses, and 9 overtime losses. The record’s not great but either were the players Cunneyworth had to work with. I’m hoping that down the road, this fellow gets another head coaching job somewhere and enjoys a long and great career.

 

 

Breaking News – Habs In Playoffs

I’m still speechless after learning that the Ottawa Senators have had to forfeit their eighth-place finish when it was discovered that Sens’ owner Eugene Melnyk had bribed the Ottawa goal judge who happened to be the illegitimate son of Gary Bettman’s mistress, both of which were uncovered after a police raid in Kanata found a love triangle that included Mike Milbury, Glenn Healy, and fitnesss guru Richard Simmons, who were nabbed in a cross-dressing orgy at the home of Melynyk’s brother’s sister-in-law’s babysitter, who happened to be the goal judge’s mother who had somehow been let out prematurely from the Womens’ Home For Newly-Paroled Streetwalkers.

And because the illegal results were from every single Senators-Montreal Canadiens game this year, it has been ruled in an overwhelming vote from certain owners not wanting their dirty female laundry aired, that the Habs are indeed in this year’s playoffs and will take on the New York Rangers beginning Wednesday night in New York.

And because of the dastardy deeds unearthed, it has also been decided the Canadiens will NOT have to forfeit their high draft pick. So it’s a win-win situation for the Montrealers.

The Canadiens are now scrambling to find their jerseys which they had given out to fans after what they thought was their last game.

“I pense nous can take le Rangers,” said Randy Cunneyworth. “Et when nous do, qui knows que ca will happen?”

And for me personally, all I can say is, it’s about time the breaks went our way.

I just can’t wait for Wednesday. Go Habs!

 

Gauthier Gonzo

Our wild and crazy Montreal Canadiens have an opening for a new general manager after Pierre Gauthier has been sacked, and rightly so. Gauthier can now slither back to his pad in Vermont and do whatever he does. I dunno, what do ghosts do anyway?

Finally an excorcism from this season from hell. The first big step on the road to recovery. So long to the guy who brought us Tomas Kaberle, who fired assistant coach Perry Pearn on game day, who traded Mike Cammalleri midway through a game and gave us the ghastly Rene Bourque, and who hired a non-French-speaking Randy Cunneyworth, a virgin big league coach, to replace the fired Jacques Martin.

Gone is the man without personality, the man who led our team to the basement, and who gave us embarrassment beyond words. How could you do that to us, Mr. Gauthier? Your name will forever be associated with failure. Such a legacy.

Now who will replace him? Will it be Patrick Roy?

We’ll know soon enough. And next on the list? What to do with Scott Gomez.

 

 

Hope For This, Or That, Or The Other Thing

The Canadiens are in Buffalo tonight to wrap up their last big road trip of the season, one that took them to Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver before western New York, and Hobo has brought up something very much worth considering.

Wouldn’t it be great if the team began to play a much better brand of hockey without screwing up the chance they have now to grab a nice high pick in the June draft?

But what do you do? Hopefully not slack off, because it’s a pride thing, to do the best job possible, to play for next year, and to show respect for the many fans who support and buy tickets and cheer through thick and then.

But damn, to begin fresh change, a blue-chipper is a fine building block, maybe a cornerstone to both the near and distant future, and to get one, one must fail miserably.

My sometimes static brain tells me that this year has been such a washout for the Canadiens, that if they can salvage the final bunch of games and show us and themselves that they’re not the sad-sack Habs, as the Vancouver Sun called them, it would give us hope, and they might be biting at the bit for next year to get going and make everyone forget the bummer called the 2011-2012 season.

Maybe that’s more important than a high draft pick, but of course, maybe not.

What would you prefer, a top three draft pick, or a team playing extremely well for the next 13 games and showing high promise for next year with Andrei Markov healthy as all get out.?

A Yakupov or Grigorenko or whoever else is near the top rung would be just fantastic. But Alex Ovechkin went number one (in 2004), and we’ve yet to see him help his Washington Capitals win much of anything..

Will Montreal play much better now that Markov has returned? It sure looked like it after his first game back, in Vancouver. What if the power play begins to blossom, the seemingly newfound toughness with Brad Staubitz helps turn the tide, and there are no more blowing of games in the third period for these last remaining baker’s dozen?

If it happens, the draft pick won’t be as high, but suddenly they’re not sad sacks anymore. It’s very difficult.

Maybe we should just focus on the general manager, a bilingual coach, and the guy from Anchorage, Alaska, and what can be done there.

 

Habs Flunk Against Flames

As bad as the Habs played, they came close. How’s that for lavishing thick praise on the team.

It became a 5-4 Calgary victory, and for those who went to bed early, all I can say is, you lucky bastards. The two and a half hours I could’ve spent picking my toenails or dreaming about 72 vestal virgins, and instead I see a comedy of errors in a game where both goalies were far from wonderful, all of the Canadiens were far from wonderful, and although the boys scored four times, it wasn’t enough. It’s never enough.

The Canadiens stunk in the first period, outshot 18-9, and fell behind 2-0 before Tomas Plekanec scored a power play marker with 4 seconds left in the period. Okay, I thought, they got out of the period down by one, and they’ll talk it over in the room and feel guilty and try harder in the second.

Didn’t happen, even though Max Pacioretty tied it when his weak shot handcuffed Miikka Kiprusoff. The Flames would make it 3-2, then 4-2 when Lars Eller took a late goalie interference penalty when the whistle was about to blow on a Flames penalty. The camera zoomed in on Randy Cunneyworth, and I could read his lips. “&^#^$ stupid,” he said, and he wasn’t talking about the referee.

The lousy night at the Saddledome continued when Carey Price put the puck on a Flames stick and it became 5-2, and I was so envious of folks who were blissfully sleeping at this point.

Eventually, the Canadiens, as I said, would make it close. Lars Eller bulged the twine, and Max got another, but that was that. Goodnight Irene.

Another loss in Calgary – Montreal hasn’t won there since 2002, and I’m not sad or angry or feel much of anything. Just jealous of those who didn’t see it, that’s all.

Random Notes:

Jerome Iginla is such a great player. Would’ve made a fine Montreal Canadien.

Shots on goal Calgary 34, visitors 28.

Next game – Thursday in Edmonton. Oh, if only Scott Gomez was here to help us.

Two Big Points As Habs Edge Buffalonians

The Canadiens certainly never dominated, and they almost blew it, but the end result was a win, a 4-3 shootout win, and it’s two points in the bank that pushes the boys to within six points of 8th place Toronto.

Six points with 23 games left! No sweat. I don’t know why we were so concerned. Of course if Toronto keeps winning, we’re screwed anyway. Hell, if anyone keeps winning we’re screwed. Wasn’t it Einstein who came up with the theory that winning while others win equals losing?

It was a seesaw affair all the way through. Buffalo jumped out to a 1-0 lead, Tomas Kaberle tied it, then Buffalo once again took the lead before Scott Gomez fired one home with just 14 seconds remaining in the first, and once again the game was tied.

Did I just say Scott Gomez? His second goal of the season? This puts him well ahead of his pace and possibly deserves a raise for this.

Chris Campoli gave the team the lead in the third, but once again the Habs pulled a Linda Lovelace and before you can say George Stroumboulopoulos, the game was tied after a weak effort from defenders Kaberle and Campoli, which sounds like an Italian comedy team.

The overtime came and went, although the Sabres came close way too many times, and finally the Canadiens found success in the shootout as both Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais solved Ryan Miller, and a good time was had by all if you were a Habs fan.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Buffalo 30, Habs 19.

Gomez was selected third star behind Max and Carey Price. Third star. The thought of Gomez in these lofty heights is making me dizzy.

Why didn’t Randy Cunneyworth clue in before that the secret to shootout success is to go with the Cole line, or in the case tonight, two-thirds of the Cole line. They’ve been the most consistent shooters all year, so you’d have to think they’d probably do well in shootouts, which is what happened tonight with both Max and Desharnais getting it done.

Ryan White played with vim and vigour, and he has that nice little edge that keeps everybody on their toes. Travis Moen’s been the go-to guy all year in the feistiness department, but White does it with more energy, and probably, once he gets going, with a little more consistency. Moen’s name has come up often recently in trade speculation, and it seems it could be a possibility. Is it a luxury to have two of these types of battlers, or are Moen’s days now numbered with White’s return?

Next game – Sunday, when the boys host the Devils.