Keep Calm and Carey On
I was sitting on my couch the other night watching some NHL playoff hockey while drifting between important paradoxes, wondering about what kind of soap a real man uses and who I thought the Habs should hire as their next bench boss when, like Noah afloat on a flooded earth trying to force a bunch of zoo animals to do it, a dove brought me some answers. Well not so much a dove as Dove’s Men+Care campaign featuring Guy Carbonneau.
Now I know what you’re thinking: Been there done that Zach. Hello? Don’t you remember the shitty Centennial season where Bob Gainey had to fire his own best bud because those popular-pick Stanley Cup contenders fell apart under GQ’s watch?
Well now hold on a second. Allow me to counter point. Let’s all admit that that Centennial Season/All-Star Game/Everyone Is A Free Agent/Carey Price’s Sophomore Season season disaster was maybe not an ideal coaching zone. Let’s not forget that just 12 months earlier The Carbone was a head coach earning himself a Jack Adams Trophy nomination for taking a rag tag bunch of “eighth place at best” undersizers to the top of the Eastern Conference. A first place team boys and girls!
What happened in the Centennial Season, while certainly under his watch, could also be argued was somewhat beyond his complete control. There was a ceremony before every single home game; it seemed like every significant player on the team was going to be a free agent at the end of the season and it turned out that that was kind of distracting; Roman Hamrlik and the Brothers Kostitsyn were partying with the “wrong crowd”; and everyone seems to agree that the room more or less divided between those on Alex Kovalev’s team and those on Saku Koivu’s team… or something like that. The room was divided, we know that much at least. There was also the All-Star ballot box stuffing ordeal which shouldn’t have affected anything, but definitely did.
Now there are definitely head coaches who probably would have been better suited to the shit storm season than Carbo, I’ll give you that. But a lot of people believe Churchill would have been a crap peace time prime minister. My point is, some guys are right for certain jobs, some Guys aren’t. But this isn’t the same squad anymore. It wasn’t even the same squad five months after the fact.
This team comes with some strong veteran leadership in Cole, Gionta and Jorges. It has young, energetic and enthusiastic players like Subban, Eller and Pacioretty. It has Carey Price no longer playing in his sophomore season but instead evolving into one of the NHL’s best between the pipes. It doesn’t have the Kostitsyns. Or Alex Kovalev. Or 19 looking-out-for-number-one free agents to be. The All-Star game is somewhere or other that isn’t Montreal. This team isn’t coming off of a swelled-head from 1st place and high expectations. This was a last place team that quite likely learned at least a couple of lessons in humility.
So, what was Carbo’s record behind the bench with the Habs? 124-83-23. Not too shabby. It shocks me that no one else has given Guy another shot as an NHL bench boss. I’m hoping Bergevin will. Let’s Bring Sexy Back!
- Zach Vanasse