Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

What's The Deal With Bob Gainey?

Funny piece in the Sun chain on "the lighter side of sports", featuring quips about recent events in the sporting world. French McFarlane has this one:
"You have to wonder who was advising Montreal Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey when he sent Cristobal Huet to Washington for a second-round draft pick -- Amy Winehouse or Gary Busey?"

Catching Up With Turner Stevenson
I've been wondering what became of Turner Stevenson since his retirement two years ago. The Prince George Citizen talks to the former Canadiens bruiser and finds him contemplating a coaching career.

I Think We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

It wasn't Carey Price's night: for three heroic games, the Habs were Stanley Cup contenders, Carey Price was the second coming of Ken Dryden, and Bob Gainey was a genius of epic proportions. Now it's like we've woken up after a wild party, with the cold light of day ordering us out of bed, next to a Coyote Ugly. Give the Habs credit for trying, they scored plenty of goals against Evgeni Nabokov, but Price let in soft goals early, late, and often. A series of weak ones left the Canadiens with no chance of winning.

It's just one game, and there are bound to others like it as Price continues to adjust to the difficulty of the NHL game, but it was still disconcerting to see the Habs drop a game they had every right to win thanks to sub-par netminding. Bob Gainey was, no doubt, expecting some of these when he anointed Price the Habs new number one goalie, but even he was probably shaking his head at Jody Shelly's embarrassing 1st goal of the season.

Is it a big deal? No. But the amount of attention that Price's first really bad game will get in Montreal is just another reminder of how hard it can be to play for the Canadiens. Luckily, Price seems to have exactly the right attitude - calm, bordering on comatose - to deal with all the craziness.

The Gazette largely soft-pedals Price's bad game: quoting Coach Carbonneau, Pat Hickey writes that while Price's game wasn't "memorable", he "didn't get much help" either. Carbo says, "We were getting beaten one-on-one," and chalks the loss up to bad defence. Carbo's a team guy for deflecting criticism from Price ... and so too is Hickey, I suppose!

Hickey also reports on the rejuvenation of Craig Rivet, who went to San Jose last winter in a trade that "benefitted both teams". Nice to see things going well for Rivet, who was always a favourite of mine. He was always a class act, from the days when I'd watch him play for the Baby Habs in Fredericton, right to the end. He needed the change of scene, as he himself admits, and truthfully the team had to move on too: he was a veteran journeyman on a squad that was being transformed by youth. He's fit in great in San Jose, where he's a steadying influence, and at the same time, Josh Gorges, acquired from the Sharks in the Rivet trade, has developed nicely into the Habs regular 6th d-man. Even better for the Habs is the promising player they picked up with the 1st round pick San Jose also traded: Max Pacioretty.

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