Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Who holds Patrick Roy accountable if he coaches the Canadiens?

The question was posed: would Patrick Roy be held accountable by the organization, the media and the fans if he was named coach of the Canadiens?

Organization: I think Patrick would demand and receive a 5 year contract, which would give him a little bit of security and autonomy over and above the financial security he currently enjoys. I think that’s a positive in this case, he’d be taking the job not because he wants a bump in pay, and then coach so as to cling to the salary and position, but rather to win.
Marc Bergevin and his team would probably deal with Patrick as an equal rather than a callow underling. That still implies a level of accountability, and I would argue probably a higher level. I’ve held positions where my direct superior is a buddy and someone I knew socially before they became my boss. They trusted me to deliver and didn’t micromanage me, so I got lots of autonomy, but also felt an inner need to succeed and not let anyone down for personal reasons, over and above any classic employee-boss relationship. I think Patrick would have and need input and a seat at the table, but would also be driven to deliver, and would understand that failure and discord wouldn’t be tolerated.
Geoff Molson has shown to be a patient, thoughtful man. He let the incumbents do their job when he took over instead of autocratically cleaning house as was done in Winnipeg for different reasons. Once he realized that the management team was dysfunctional, he decisively but skillfully went about making changes. He’s no imperious George Steinbrenner-type, but he’s also shown that he’s going to be involved, will care, and won’t suffer incompetence.
Media: I have a jaundiced view of the media to begin with, and the Pierre Gauthier saga just adds to it. Why were we not told that the team hated his guts or feared him? Why were not the Mike Cammalleri jersey story or the Ottawa cookie rationing incidents relayed to the people who consume sports journalism? Why were we not told of the climate of fear in the New Forum? Why was there not a comparative analysis of the way the Canadiens management operated versus a sample of others, such as the Bruins, Wings, Lightning, Coyotes, Leafs and Blue Jackets, for example? I know some will snap that sports journalists need to protect their access to the team by not antagonizing it, but then I have to respond that this access is hollow, useless to the fans. It’s like the supply clerk who won’t give you a box of pens because he’s running out of pens.
My gut is that, with respect to the very low bar set by the media who cover the Canadiens in this instance, the people who championed Patrick Roy would defend his moves and decisions until or unless that became untenable, and at that point the tide would have shifted and he would be on his way out. Conversely, those that had other favourites would give him a very short leash/honeymoon period, and start to stomp him at the first losing streak.
Fans: My guess is that 10% would love the coach unconditionally and would defend him to the end, and past that point. Heck, we have posters who advocate for Randy Cunneyworth right now, so Patrick would have his backers. Another 10% would howl with frustration at the hire and would lick their chops anytime the team didn’t win by a five goal margin. The other 80% would be the sane majority and would support Patrick and give him the benefit of a dozen doubts, win or tie.

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