Talkin’ Bout A Few Of The Guys

Yes, indeed, P.K.Subban picked up the puck in glorious fashion in his end, whirled and dashed to the oohs and awes of me and many others, and promptly lost it to the enemy, who then took off and scored on Carey Price. It was a young man’s mistake, learned from years ago when he most certainly had his way with other teams in small buildings.

It’s a tough thing. Do you harness his energy, or do you let him be P.K? This is a young fellow still learning his craft, and with this free-wheeler, this sort of thing is bound to happen from time to time. You just hope the goalie is there to back him up.

You can be sure there were times when even Bobby Orr and Flower and Howie Morenz all lost the puck on a big exciting rush. P.K. may even do it again and I’m fine with it.  I just don’t want to see him play tentative and with less enthusiasm. He wouldn’t be P.K. if he did that. 

Carey Price was quite mediocre at best in this Avalanche game, but he’ll get his game together very soon. He’s showed many signs so far, but still hasn’t played like the Carey Price we know and love. The consistently great Carey Price. A lot of blame, though, goes to the players in front of him. Lots of opposing players are getting way too many good chances.

Price ‘ll be fine though. Look at Ken Dryden. He was far from great in the 1972 Summit Series but he was a great goalie. It’s the same with Carey. We see some brutal nights.

Erik Cole says he and Jacques Martin don’t talk and I don’t care if they do or not. Cole’s a big boy making millions, and coaches can be difficult and complex creatures. Toe Blake’s favourite whipping boy was Ralph Backstrom, who was a sensational third-line centre for the Habs. And he was only third-line because Jean Beliveau and Henri Richard were the centres on the first and second lines. Toe was hard on him, and Ralph got so mad at his coach one day he threw a skate and it stuck in the door. Ask Frank Mahovlich about Punch Imlach. And Scotty Bowman was miserable and didn’t talk to anybody.

C’mon Cole, don’t let it get to you. And one assist in four games doesn’t cut it.

Scott Gomez – ditto. One assist in four games doesn’t cut it either. I know we’ve accepted that you’re not a goal scorer, you’re a playmaker, but you’re on track for another lousy season. You’d shown so much in preseason. What happened?

Sadly, I’ve just heard that Ottawa columnist Earl McCrae has passed away. I loved reading his stuff when I lived back east, and after I had moved to the west coast, and before the internet came along, a friend would send me ten or twenty of Earl’s columns at a time because I missed him. Earl could be outrageous, funny, deadly serious, really smart, and simply a wonderful writer who entertained me and countless others. He was also a member of the Elvis Presley Society in which he swore, tongue-in-cheek, that Elvis was alive and well in Tweed, Ontario.  

So long, Earl. Thanks.


17 thoughts on “Talkin’ Bout A Few Of The Guys”

  1. Dennis, I was shocked to hear about Earl McRae passing away today.

    I’m going to miss that Four-Eyed, Lippy Little Shin-Kicker.

    Earl the Pearl was a great story teller, a fine journalist and a true gentleman.

    Another good man gone. So sad.

  2. you are right about pk and price………….. bowman, blake and imlach pissed the players off but motivated them to play to their potential and beyond and there in lays the difference.

  3. Hobo, I agree with that. I wasn’t defending Martin, I was saying that Cole has a job to do regardless if the coach talks to him or not.

  4. Hey Dennis,Is this an oxymoron?Price played poorly,P.K. got picked or Cole was mining for gravel.I think the whole team ,although they scored five goals,did not play all that well.Carey was below normal last nite,I dont think he ha shone this season like he didn last year,I am hoping he can switch this around once again.The Habs are missing something right off the bat,maybe they will come together like an apology and Don Cherry after threatened with a lawsuit.

  5. One thing that does get to me about Cole and Martin is that this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Martin not talking to his players (one example being Halak).

    I don’t see the logic in this. I understand that these players are professionals and should be able to know what to do and not do but at the same time they are still people. People need feedback, either positive or negative.

    In something like this, sports, feedback is very important. If your own coach doesn’t talk to you, what does that tell you? That he doesn’t care about you or the team. If you see him talking to some and not you, then that can be quite insulting. I guess he figures that the veterans don’t need his help but I wonder if he talks to the rookies even. That’s bad coaching. Would you want to go to war for a coach who won’t even talk to you? I wouldn’t. I’d go to war for my friends on the team but never for him.

    There is also a rumor that he didn’t show up in shape for the season (Cole) so he was being punished for it.

    I think PK’s problem this year is that he’s getting a little too cocky. He needs to tone it down a little and everything should be fine.

    October was always going to be a bad month for us so we’re still ok. I’ll keep the faith.

  6. I agree with Darth. Even if you’re having problems with a player on a personal or a professional level, as a coach you have to talk to him. The silent treatment is a juvenile and ineffective way of sending a message and will most likely aggravate the situation even further. I’d much rather see the coach give the player hell than completely ignore him and I think even the player would prefer that.

    As for PK, he’s trying to do too much too soon. He attempted a few high-risk plays that would have made him look great if he pulled them off but they backfired badly. He’s got to be a little more team-oriented. At the same time, I don’t want J-Mart to nail his butt to the bench and extinguish all his fire and desire.

    All he needs is a bit of fine tuning and he’ll be okay. Like Darth says he needs to tone it down just a little bit. He can play smart hockey if he wants to.

  7. Gillis, I’m not sure what you mean. He scored two with one assist. Was there something else you’re refering to?

  8. Darth, there’s no logic to coaches behaving strangely. It’s just the way it is. Most are basically nuts in some ways and I don’t know why. Yes, of course it would be better if there was communication, but if there isn’t, the player just has to suck it up. Until J-Mart is canned, players just have to go about their job, produce, and cash their hundred thousand bucks or so every two weeks. More and more I disagree with Martin but the players have to play harder and quit making mistakes. I actually trust Gauthier quite a bit that he knows what he’s doing, and he hasn’t fired this guy yet. Also, I don’t think too many players have ever gone to war for the coach. They go to war for themselves and their team. I’m more concerned about Martin’s line juggling and defensive shell he wants them to play. We all know a one goal lead is never enough for the Habs. And you bet, Darth, PK is a bit cocky which can bite him in the ass. He’s still very immature.

  9. Danno, I’ve never understood why coaches do this silent treatment act, but it’s a reality on many teams over the years. I want to see emotion form J-Mart too. I liked it the other night when he was really pissed. I’d like to see more of it. He’s definitely an enigma, one of the strangest coaches the Habs have ever had. Claude Ruel was a different one too.

  10. Dennis – you mean “Pinch a Leaf” don’t you? 🙂

    Other wonderful expressions I’ve heard:

    Making a deposit at the bank, visiting the pope, unleashing hell, a muddy mudskipper special, insta-bruin mix, paying your taxes, paying tribute to the boss, etc.

    Hobo – thanks for the vote of confidence. Now just get Dennis to hurry up and buy the team.

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