Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Les roues tombent l'autobus

In most years, the normal course of action among Canadian hockey fans is to watch with wonderment at the state of the Toronto Maple Leafs, however there seems to have been a bit of a change of the winds of wonderment these days, for Canadiens and Canadians alike can only sit back and watch what is becoming of the Montreal Canadiens.

The once stable, lynch pin of the NHL, is quickly descending down the rabbit hole of mediocrity and mockery, their handling of the current situation indicative of a team that isn't on message, adrift and clearly proceeding without any kind of plan in place.

Into that mess has wandered Randy Cunneyworth, a rising name among the coaching ranks who surely deserved better than to be tossed into the water as bait for the sharks of the St. Lawrence.

The debate over Cunneyworth's coaching  bona fides is getting overshadowed by his linguistic limitations, something that the Canadiens have created all on their own, a management collective that clearly has missed the mark in their own market.

Leaving Cunneyworth to face down a rising mob of Quebecois, media, nationalist and maybe even one or two actual fans of the team, all of whom seem determined to ride the guy out of town before the sun rises on New Years Day.

And while we actually do understand some of the complaints about the nature of Cunneyworth's appointment (probably it would seem having a coach able to converse with the media and a good portion of the fan base is a good thing), the rising vitriolic nature about his appointment is getting a little out of hand.

Those doing the most yelling, the media and the nationalist element, seem to forget that a quick review of the past coaches of Les Canadiens, will show a long list of Francophone employees that left the position, seemingly either considered not good enough to coach the team, or having left the position owing to the pressure and emotional toll that such a position seems to take on them.

Further to that point, the Canadiens vocal critics should look no further than last year's Stanley Cup Final, two coaches of French Canadian background behind the bench, both former coaches of the Canadiens, both highly regarded among the fraternity and both more than likely glad to be away from the incessant glare of the Quebec based media and other social observers eager to make political statements with every shift change.

All of that being said however, the coach of Les Canadiens should have more than just a rudimentary skill in the language and possess the ability to converse with the fans and the media in both languages.

We're not sure how fast a learner Mr. Cunneyworth is, he has said he would like to learn the language and we have no doubt as to his sincerity on that lesson plan.

Then again, when your boss, in this case Geoff Molson, has already seemingly thrown you under the bus, add on the gnashing of teeth and proclamations of outrage from a number of sources in the province and we wonder if you're Randy Cunneyworth,  if you even bother putting in the order to Rosetta Stone.

Montreal has long been one of the NHL's most stable of franchises, though the last week or two has been anything but.  It seems as though the management cadre of the team has lurched from one mis step to another, using what appears to be a rather tattered and faded road map as opposed to a well constructed blue print for success.

Considering the way they have treated their coaching staff in the last few years, it's a wonder Mr. Cunneyworth even accepted the job, at the moment, the most toxic position in the league would appear to be head coach of the league's most storied franchise...

Good luck in compiling that inevitable short list Mr. Molson, you are going to need it!

Globe and Mail-- Habs' Subban "embarrassed" after being scratched by Cunneyworth 
Canada.com-- Cunneyworth hopes to invigorate Canadiens with new line combinations
Canada.com-- P. K. Subban red-faced over scratch
Canada.com-- Language barrier?
Canada.com-- Is December a month to remember, or forget?
National Post-- Speaking French is far more important than winning hockey games
Globe and Mail-- Guy Carbonneau: Habs' coach Randy Cunneyworth needs to learn French
Canada.com-- Time for talking is over, Canadiens Josh Gorges says
Canada.com-- Fifth straight loss
Globe and Mail-- Quebec nationalist protest planned for upcoming Canadiens games
National Post-- Quebec sovereignty, French groups to protest against Canadiens coach
National Post-- Montreal's hockey politics aren't unique
Canada.com-- Insisting on bilingual coach limits Canadiens' options
Globe and Mail-- For the first time in decades, there's no French behind Habs' bench
National Post-- French won't help Canadiens win
Canada.com-- Habs anglophone coach
Canada.com-- Opinion: Anglo coach a gesture of contempt
Canada.com-- The Habs make an exception for an interim coach
Canada.com-- The PQ gets an assist from the Habs
Globe and Mail-- Habs owner stick handles through language debate
Globe and Mail-- Habs strike a nerve in Quebec's language debates
National Post--  Canadiens owner Geoff Molson defends Randy Cunneyworth hiring
CBC Sports-- Habs owner Geoff Molson says speaking French 'very important'
Canada.com-- Montreal Canadiens CEO: Cunnyworth is qualified and experienced
National Post-- Patrick Roy would consider coaching the Canadiens
Globe and Mail-- Habs coaching appointment stokes Quebec nationalist sentiments
National Post-- Canadiens' problems won't be solved simply by trading in Jacques Martin
National Post-- Martin most recent in long line of scapegoats
Globe and Mail-- Pierre Gauthier could be next in Habs' firing line
Canada.com-- Patrick Roy would listen if Habs came calling
Canada.com-- Montreal Canadiens are angling in small coaching pool
Canada.com-- Gauthier fired the wrong guy, says Jack Todd
Canada.com-- Coach takes the fall, but management shares some blame
National Post-- Montreal Canadiens axe head coach Jacques Martin
Globe and Mail-- Habs fire coach Jacques Martin

No comments: