Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Patrick Roy, Pierre Alexandre Parenteau are a good start on the way back to respectability

I’m trying to catch up to the controversy (controversies) of the day surrounding the Montreal Canadiens.

One is the rumour that Geoff Molson has an agreement in principle with Patrick Roy that he will be the next Canadiens coach, and it will be announced at season's end.

I’m clearly on record as being in favour of Patrick Roy being the next coach of the Canadiens, despite some of the lucid objections brought forth by many. I heard him being interviewed on radio, and he does sound mature and thoughtful, it’s worth a listen, and it’s certainly a change from the platitudes we hear from the current Canadiens régime.

Especially if he’s surrounded with the right assistants (fingers crossed: Larry Robinson and Guy Carbonneau), I think he has the potential to transform our team from one that works very hard to avoid getting scored on and hopefully win to one that skates on to opposition rinks and engenders more of the respect and even fear of yesteryears.

There are mostly positive comments about P.A. Parenteau and the possibility that he gets an offer from and eventually signs with the Canadiens, but some doubters and a little ridicule at he being the next francophone ‘saviour’ of the team. While this has been a tough season, there’s no need to get bitter. If we’re not there already.

Our team needs NHL talent, we are hard up to fill out a roster, we use AHL’ers who aren’t ready yet for the big leagues currently. If he joins the team, we have plugged a big huge hole, in that we have more scoring, talent, and we have bumped an AHL’er back down to the minors. We can never have too much talent, especially when you consider that injuries will perennially thin out the herd.

As far as his origins, they are noteworthy in that they give us a competitive advantage. He has a personal relationship with David Desharnais and claims he wants to play here. He might even take a hometown discount to do so. We have a few cards we can play here, one of them being a huge fanbase that churns out NHL’ers who have a soft spot for the team, let’s use this. This is the opposite situation of the case where we’d have to overpay Daniel Brière for him to come here, since he doesn’t value putting on the CH sweater.

In the very long view, it is important that kids growing up in Québec love the Canadiens and recognize themselves in the team, and a bit of the team in themselves. This generates more lifelong fans who will support the team, and more players who dream of making it to the NHL and wearing the bleu-blanc-rouge. In the salary-cap world we live in, this is an important strategic edge we have on the St-Louis Blues and the Florida Panthers. If Geoff Molson understands anything, it needs to be that there must be a strong, visceral, emotional connection between the fans and leurs Glorieux.

Having accepted that, we can begin to accept that signing Mr. Parenteau, or drafting local players and signing local free agents, and hiring homegrown coaches is not just a cynical pander to the unwashed masses, but a natural fit for this team and one that yields long-term dividends that are harder to quantify.

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