Keep Calm and Carey On
In the wake of Gary Joyce’s scathing article “Inside the Long Pathetic Fall of the Once Great Canadiens Empire” published in the Jan. 30th edition of Sportsnet magazine, it would appear that some of the other NHL organizations started feeling a little bad for the once mighty Canadiens and, in an effort to cheer the CH up, a few sent along a series of warm words thanking the once mighty Bleu, Blanc et Rouge for all that they had done to help foster a league in which the Stanley Cup doesn’t have to reside permanently in Montreal.
The following is a sampling of those notes:
How you doin’? Look, we get it. We know what it’s like to be an Original Six team that suffers year in and year out because we just can’t seem to put the right pieces together. Hell, we’re suffering through a Stanley Cup drought just a year shorter than yours and our successes have been very comparable since the mid-90s.
But look at us now! Tops in the East and a legitimate contender for a crack at the Cup, when just a year ago we were another one of those middle of the road teams always doing just enough to crack a top eight finish and then hit the exits early in the playoffs. And for that turnaround Montreal, we’d like to thank you.
Without the Habs we’d still have that monster Gomez contract on our hands and, as I am sure you are well aware, it’s pretty much impossible to succeed with a guy who hasn’t scored a single goal in the past 12 months raking in $7-million a season against your cap. If you guys hadn’t been willing to take that lil’ Alaskan off our hands we’d be the ones stuck with him still! God bless. And hey, wouldn’t you know it, that McDonagh kid you sent us as the throw in part of that deal hasn’t been too shabby either. We think the world of that kid, we gotta say. In fact, just a couple days ago an old buddy of yours, Scotty Bowman, was telling the media that “it’s that Ryan McDonagh who’s really helped them.” Can you believe it?
So I know times are tough, but hey, look on the bright side old man, we couldn’t have got here without you.
The Big Apple
How are you? Not good, huh? Nah we didn’t think so. Don’t be so down! Just a few months ago we were an underachieving team that seemed destined for a downward spiral but we’ve turned things around. Now mind-numbing hockey from our new head coach might have a big role to play in that, but we would be remise if we didn’t point out that you had your role to play in where we are today (one of the best records in the West is where we are today BTW).
I mean, we understand that Brian Elliot has been our guy between the pipes for more of the games this season, but Jaroslav Halak has been pretty great too and he’s with us now, thanks to you. You gotta admit, it’s difficult to fathom that we would be considered amongst the favourites to possibly fight for the Cup this season if you had made it a little tougher for us to get Halak.
Eller’s a great kid and all and we’re glad to see he is doing well with you, but really, considering everything that had happened in those playoffs with Halak, we kind of figured you might have wanted a little more in return for him. And if you had been a better haggler, and we’d given up a more important piece of our team for him, well then we might not be sitting pretty right now.
Or imagine if you’d spoken with other teams besides us about Halak!? My god, certainly someone would have offered more, then he would have never come here, then I doubt we make a deal for a questionable young goalie like Elliot when we would want something more stable between the pipes. Could be a complete shift of our fortunes when you really think about it.
Now let’s talk about that playoff run Halak went on for you. I mean he got some experience and confidence in that run, let me tell you. Think about it. Some of these Western Conference teams must be shitting themselves a little thinking about the prospects of facing Halak in the playoffs right now after he proved what he could do with you guys – on a far inferior team might we add.
Oh and by the way, this D’Agostini kid you sent us for what’s his name… Aaron Palushaj? Well he has been pretty decent for us as well. I mean look at what he did last year; 21 goals, 25 assists… and he’s only 25, though I’m sure Palushaj’s zero career NHL points in 18 NHL games have helped you a bunch too.
St. Louis Blues
(Man, I’m never sure exactly how to use the word ironic, but there is something kind of ironic about us being called the Blues when you guys are so sad right now)
Bonjour les CH,
Impressed? Don’t be. There’s so many French players and a French coach and French Quebecers down here it’s easy to pick up a little of the language. Anyways, just wanted to send word in your tough times because, if anyone knows a rough season when they see it, it’s us.
Things have been rough this year, which we admit, caught us by surprise after our amazing playoff run last season…. a goal away from the Cup Final for crying out loud! But we aren’t all that depressed about it.
When we really sit back and think about it, we’re okay. We’ve got a brilliant head coach who we have all the confidence in the world in despite our struggles this year and we thank you for brining a guy with that kind of command of a room, respect from his players and intensity up through the ranks. It’s hard to envision us doing that.
We’re also not panicking because we’ve got a brilliant hockey mind running things down here. You may have noticed that despite a season of speed bumps, Stevie Y has yet to make any panic moves and we fully expect that our GM has a solid move coming before the trade deadline that will leave the future of our franchise feeling pretty good as well. You can’t help but believe in a guy like that.
Hey wasn’t he available when you guys were last looking for a general manager? Why the hell didn’t you grab him up anyways? The language thing? Jesus, that sucks. He’s great, feels like he is cut from the Scotty Bowman cloth. Well, thanks for passing on him then! Also thanks for letting Dominic Moore get away cheap, he’s a great character guy for us and Marc-Andre Bergeron has been nice on our powerplay… and for so cheap! You didn’t think about bringing him back? Weird. All the better for us.
Keep helping us out!
Sure, we have our differences and some might say we downright hate each other, but even we can appreciate what someone else cut from the Original Six cloth did to help us get to where we are today. I mean for decades you owned us. We couldn’t beat you no matter how much the odds seemed stacked in our favor.
But look at us now! We sit here sipping out of Lord Stanley’s Cup as we stare out across the Mystic. And as much as it bites our ass to admit it, we wouldn’t be Kings of the NHL right now if it weren’t for you.
Here is how we see it. Our head coach learned his ways in your organization and that’s the kind of pedigree we can appreciate. And, if we’re going to be completely honest here, if it wasn’t for that first round playoff match-up last season, we might not have blossomed into the juggernaut we needed to become in order to win the Cup and then keep on rolling at full steam into this season.
We’ll be frank here M.T.L., there was a dark moment for us there last season. When you guys got ahead of us 2-0 in that first-round series we were imploding. For real, we were, we’ll admit that now. Our head was on the chopping block and if Martin would have been the kind of coach who could have had his team ready for us in Game 3 of that series, you gotta believe that would have ended everything. If you guys had just been properly prepared and not come out flat in a most crucial swing game, we don’t want to get all Ashton Kutcher on you here, but that could have butterfly effected everything.
If we lose that game, it’s over. And we don’t just mean the series here, we mean everything. Peter Chiarelli would have been canned, Cam Neely probably would be gone, Claude Julien was certainly done for and who knows what else!? You gots to think, in an attempt to reinvent, a complete new wave of management would have also shipped off some of the key guys who are so important to all the success we are having now.
The way we see it, if you guys would have just been properly prepared for us in Game 3, then the entire way of thinking in Bean Town would have changed. We would have likely decided that Montreal’s dull ass, undersized way of playing the game was obviously the way to go and we wouldn’t be destroying everyone we meet now, seemingly at will.
So for real, thanks asswipe,
Thank you. We’ve been told that some of the other teams have been writing to let you know how much they’ve appreciated all you’ve done for them and we knew it would be wrong not to send some gratitude your way as well.
We’re not going to lie, things have not been great for us as a city in some time now and it doesn’t exactly look like anything is about to change soon, but at least, when the days are dark, the good people of our Motor City can turn to a hockey team that now carries the torch as the best organization in the game, and we have you to thank for that.
You taught us everything we know. You taught us about instilling pride and value in one’s team and how that makes it easier to keep the superstars. In fact, you even taught us how to respect those superstars and make them a part of the family fabric and it’s highly unlikely that we become the Toast of the Game if your man, Scotty Bowman, didn’t come to show us how to do things right, something he learned about in Montreal.
You can trace the direct lineage of Montreal greatness down the line to Scotty and it was a tradition and brilliance that he taught us here and that we’ve proudly carried on.
Thank you for your inspiration,
The Detroit Red Wings
Everyone used to laugh at us and call us the disgraceful franchise and now they don’t. They call you that.
- Zach Vanasse
Zach Vanasse can be heard as co-host of our podcast: “The Two-Four”