Will The Craziness In Montreal Ever End?

It seems that some people in Montreal aren’t happy that Saku Koivu passed on the annual Montreal Canadiens golf tournament and stayed in Finland to continue working out with a Finnish hockey team to prepare for the season.


People are complaining on talk shows. La Province sports writer Bertrand Raymond agrees with these people and says Koivu isn’t on the list of great Habs captains.


The story broke earlier today in the National Post in an article by Dave Stubbs, and I have a couple of small thoughts on the subject.


Much of the Montreal media shouldn’t be media, they should be divorce lawyers. And the fans complaining shouldn’t be fans, they should be laying in a crib sucking on a bottle. What do they want? Do they want Saku to play some leisurely golf, or be ready to lead the team through a pressure cooker season and playoffs and onward to a Stanley Cup, by continuing his training?


Tomas Plekanec, the Kostitsyn brothers, Roman Hamrlik, and Jaroslav Halak stayed in Europe too.

And Georges Laraque remained in Edmonton, saying he doesn’t golf and he detests the sport.


But Koivu gets the heat because he’s the captain. It doesn’t seem to matter about his charities, or his talent, or his coming back from cancer and a serious eye injury. It only matters that people in Montreal have found a new thing to complain about, this one being golf.


He missed a golf game so he’s a rotten bastard. The French-speaking media and the local crybabies are stirring the pot because Saku’s not from Trois Rivieres or the Gaspe. If these people had their way, the entire Montreal Canadiens roster would be born and raised not far from the St. Lawrence Seaway.


It probably wouldn’t even matter if the team did well or not. As long as everyone came from Quebec.


Why can’t people in Montreal just sit back and be ready and excited about the upcoming season? Why is it that every year there are such ridiculous controversies that swirl around the team. Great teams have Europeans and English and French, all passing the puck around to each other and sharing in big goals.


Are these idiots the reason other players opt out of coming to Montreal, like Daniel Briere and Brendan Shanahan?


And why would Mats Sundin want to endure this?


I find it just unbelievable that people who say they’re Habs fans would want to inflict such damage over a  golf game.





8 thoughts on “Will The Craziness In Montreal Ever End?”

  1. The French media have always hated Koivu. Remember the brouhaha last year over the fact that he didn’t speak French at an event or something like that?

    I too get shocked when people can’t believe why we have trouble luring big free agents. Why would they want to be there if they get treated like this?

    Anyways, as an interesting aside, Montreal may be wearing a third and fourth jersey this year. It might just be rumours, but I have pics on my site of what they look like (one is striped with a Maple Leaf-type logo on it).

  2. I’ve always felt bad for Koivu. I doubt anyone would blame him if he said he had enough…

    Now…. I have a promotional idea.

    The Habs should send out Big Georges to “visit” with all the whiners and complainers…. and… well…. do what he does best… Great pre-season workout I’d say.

    Honestly, all those “media” writers, tv personalities and general whiners that have given Koivu (and others) so much crap must be totally blind to the fact that they shoot themselves in the foot year after year…

    Why would a big UFA want to play in a place where some of the media practically lives off of complaining and criticizing?

  3. I totally agree about the media frenzy being way out of proportion.

    However, on this sole occasion, I can see their point. Montreal after all is a rather special place to play, and the Canadiens golf tournament is not the Coyotes golf tournament. In Montreal lately, it has marked the beginning of the season.

    I also appreciate that what the media are commenting on is the absence of Koivu. They have no insight or understanding of the decision he made to stay in Europe or the discussions he had with Gainey. Again, as this is the Canadiens, it was the management’s special responsibilty to explain why their captian was not in town. The management, who were all there obviously did not do so to a satisfying extent and have rather left the captain out to dry again.

    I’m no Republican spin doctor, but seeing as we all know nothing about what Koivu is doing wherever he is, why didn’t management just say he is finishing his consultations with the orthopaedic expert who has been rehabbing his foot. It would have at once called to mind that Koivu played with a broken foot in the playoffs, that he rescued the team’s fortunes and that him being healthy and happy about his health was more important to management than golf.

  4. If Daniel Briere could handle Buffalo fans and media, he can handle a little more criticism from Montreal, right? But then again, who criticized our Captain with all the points? He was worshiped. I think I answered my own question. haha

  5. Here’s what I think is the meaning of all this hoopla: 1759, The Battle Of The Plains Of Abraham = conquerors/conquered = les maudits anglais/les quebecois de suche. It is what it is: an overt `cultural’ expression of a deeply rooted latent resentment towards `les autres’ by a people who, although politically at odds with themselves in this respect, still share a common sense of difference from the rest of Canadians, a sense that manifests itself in intensity from separatist alienation to Bohomme Carnaval to, yes, NOS GLORIEUX. For myself, this sort of `tempest in a teapot’ is a constant and will always be forthcoming so rather than being upset by it sit back and enjoy the transparent passions and the equally transparent dopiness, appreciate that the past is the present and that it is also an expression of who we all are – we are who we were not! Hehe.

    A powerful reason why the Habs are so important to French Canadians is that they began to be dominant at the same time as the Quiet Revolution (the reaction to/denial of the Church, the moving away from isolated auto-sufficient farms into urban centres, the growing sense of a cultural and political identity) was gathering steam in Quebec so there was a natural affinity between the team’s accomplishments and the changing poltical and cultural consciousness of their fan base, i.e. French Canada. And, as Dennis pointed out in a previous blog, the hockey meteor called Rocket Richard cemented the bond between the two. The Habs were very much a symbol of a resurgent French Canadian sense of self and as such did and still do occupy a special place in both the collective and personal identity. Interestingly, the team sparked the imaginations of thousands of young anglais – such as myself and Dennis – who wholeheartedly embraced (were imprinted?by) the `Flying Frenchmen’ and their `firewagon’ brand of hockey – they were exciting, dynamic, colourful, exotic even, and perhaps even more interesting, we defined them much as the quebecois did, that is, relative to the hated Leafs and their fans. Yes, I would luuuv to see a Habs team at least 3/4 quebecois or more which doesn’t mean I don’t like and respect a Koivu or the Kostitsyns or Kostopoulous, it’s just … hehe … the nature of the beast which brings me to my main point and a theme which I believe is central to who we are (as people and as Canadians) and everything that we do: we do not know why we do what we do, but we do seem to repeat ourselves with mind-numbing monotony and we do seem to regularly produce `ideologues’ who proclaim their greater wisdom and possession of special insights that enables them to `know’ what is right and good for all which invariably leads to the same not infrequently bloody debacles of varying amplitude. And we do split up into groups – this is observationally obvious – but what the limits are, how we know these limits, how we define them and the nature of their relationships to other groups is at best moot. My points?

    1) What’s wrong with wanting members of your group, at least the one you associate yourself with,to be the dominant figures on, here, the hockey stage? It seems to me to be perfectly understandable and, yes, natural, for a quebecois/se to identify with and cheer for fellow quebecois. Isn’t this what the Olympics are about?

    2) The fact that the french/english divide is still with us and still so patently pervasive should also make us think about a lot of the `ideological’ cant that informs `multiculturalism’. Hmmm, if after what? 250 years or so, two so very-similar groups – religiously, culturally, linquistically (indo-european), historically, ethnically, racially – still cannot come to terms then why in the world would any sensible person think that peoples from widely diverse backgrounds will somehow magically merge into one great haphaphappy family? Oh, yes, now let’s slag this guy, eh? I must be a closet nazi/purist/racist etc. NO. I just believe that emphasis should be place on commonalities and not differences which, this `tempest’ clearly illustrates, fall-out naturally.

    3) For me, a beautiful aspect of hockey is that it is something we participate in that is so well-defined, so simple to understand, so vibrantly attractive, so clearly a mirror in which to contemplate ourselves, to learn to appreciate the fact that what we share in common as human beings (in this case, THE GAME) far outweighs the things that divide us. So, let’s worry less about the, hehe, `todu’ over `Koivu’ and appreciate more the fact that our fellow `citoyens’ are passionate about the same thing we are. I suspect that the target of all this controversy, Koivu,understands this and isn’t overly concerned with the passing frenzy … he knows it will come again – it’s the nature of the beast, eh?

    Dani: I knwo that you don’t mean to be insulting but how can u possible compare the Sabres to the Habs?

    Lawrence: Roy, with two cups, shouldn’t have his jersey retired for strictly hockey reasons, so how can you possible justify retiring Linden’s? Don’t you think that just maybe dH was right here, that Trevor/or an effigy of him should be taken out to sea and sunk?

    Topham: re your comments comparing other sports to hockey. Way back dH addressed that argument. But let me say here that of the various types of possible violence in hockey – stickword (Koivu’s eye), skatework (surfaced last year, remember Bergman behind the net in 72?), elbows (yes, George was guilty of one such viscious cheap shot), back hits, etc etc – I much prefer fighting, it’s less dangerous and more entertaining.

  6. Hi Guys, big Habs fan here. I went to a site called “Islanders Beat’ just browsing, and I was informed they dont like us., as Canadians have an Anti Islanders bias towards there team from when they won four Cups in the 1980s. I was also told thats why Canadian fans always vote Bobby Orr the better player than Potvin, because We hate Them. Do you believe this.They also said without Territorial Rights, we wouldnt even be signifiacant.

  7. Thanks Laurie. Bobby Orr was better than Potvin. Islanders fans are just gonna have to get over it. And that thing about the four Cups and the anti-Islanders bias is just silly.

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