(An open letter from a non-Quebec Canadiens fan of 40+ years to Geoff Molson)
I’ve heard for years that we sports fans shouldn’t invest our hearts in the sports we love, that sports is only a business for the owners and front offices of the teams we support.
Certainly as a sports fan in Cleveland, I know about heartbreak. Clevelanders can tell the tragedies like a Catholic can the beads on a rosary: Red Right 88, the Drive, the Fumble, the Shot, the ’97 Indians one out away from a World Series title — even the Decision. We’re used to it. I think we even expect it.
But I didn’t expect it from the Habs. I walked around on air for the first two weeks of the season or so — I mean, who wouldn’t? A 9-0 start, and even after the first loss, our team played tough. Even after Carey Price went down. We thought we might see it through. Then Carey went down again. And apparently the wheels came off.
We’re not stupid, we Habs fans. We know how injuries — even one key injury — can devastate a team. But by a certain point in the season, it really felt from the stands (or in our living rooms) that the guys on the ice were demoralized. Michel Therrien couldn’t keep his hands off the lines, even when they were working. He gave far too much ice time to players who didn’t merit it and virtually benched guys who should have been playing.
Let me say one thing that is really apparent to me. Michel Therrien is clueless about developing young talent. Does anyone remember the gripe againt Jacques Martin? That he overplayed his veterans? That seems to be the case with Therrien, as well. Not to mention that playing well wasn’t the key to more ice time for the kids. The joke on Twitter during the game when a young player scored or made a great play was — “Oh, well. Therrien will bench him now (or yell at him).”
And now it’s rumored that Marc Bergevin wants to award this misfeasance by keeping Therrien instead of firing him or demoting him. Mr. Molson, this is unconscionable. Many businesses have failed over the last 30 years or so because they seem to subscribe to the Peter Principle: “Choosing a candidate for a position is based on the candidate’s performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role.” I haven’t seen anything in Therrien’s performance that fits him to develop a young team into something worth putting on the ice. It doesn’t help that Marc Bergevin, who we all had high hopes for, can’t seem to get any pieces for the Habs top lines. He’s great at securing lots of 3rd and 4th liners, but that’s not where this team’s needs are.
Please. Please do not let M. Bergevin reward Michel Therrien. Bring in a new coach — a Marc Crawford or Guy Boucher — who might be able to make (good) things happen.
And while we’re on the subject of Michel Therrien, you need to sit him down and explain to him that he needs to learn to get along with P.K. Subban. The new rumor on the Interwebz implies that because MT can’t get along with our Norris-winning defenseman, P.K. may be on the block. If you think people would be unhappy if Therrien stayed, that’s nothing compared to the reaction if P.K. goes.
Habs Fan in Ohio since 1978