So it's been 48 hours since the Montreal Canadiens hired a coach that can't say: "Markov is never coming back" in French. Suprisingly, the world has continued spinning on its axis, Hell is still unseasonably warm and no pigs have been seen flying through the air. We here at the PK'ists love the subject. Hell, our name obliges us to have an opinion on the matter.
So here are my 2 cents on the subject. The Canadiens should hire a coach who speaks french. That is, if their goal on this planet was to teach French. But it isn't. They are on this earth to win Stanley Cups. That is their mandate as stated by us, the fans. And they have done that better than any other team in NHL history. They pretty much gave Tremblay, Therrien, Julien, Vigeault and Cabonneau their starts when no other franchise would. They have done their part to give a chance to French coaches to pierce through the NHL ceiling. The problem is that they cut their teeth here and then go on to bigger and better things elsewhere. Right now, the list of candidates is quite weak. Bob Hartley? The man is a grade A moron. I'm serious, he doesn't know how to peel a banana. Marc Crawford? His hair scares me and his temper is not in line with the corpse like identity of Pierre Gauthier and the Habs organization. Michel Therrien? We don't double dip here in Montreal, that's disgusting. Jacques Lemaire? Like this guy is gonna come out of his swanky retirement to come deal with the very people who ran him out of town 30 years ago. Joel Quenville? The guy doesn't even speak French... go figure! Patrick Roy? Hmmmmm. I think the hopeless romantic in all of us would love nothing more than for Saint-Patrick to come back and lead this team to # 25. It would also be awesome to see him coach Price even though their personalities seem so different. But the realist inside me doesn't see this plan succeeding. Not because Patrick is not the right coach, because the Canadiens are not the right team. This organization, steeped in tradition is far too boring to make a loose cannon like Roy the coach. He'd call out players, tell off reporters, basically, all the things we all want to see but that give Geoff Molson hives.
All this to say that there is no slam dunk candidate out there.. who speaks French that is. I'm sure that by season's end, 3 or 4 more qualified anglos will be available. The problem is that it is doubtful that the Canadiens will withstand the pressure of 7 moronic french reporters who pretend to speak for the masses. There is one language we all speak here in Quebec. The language of Charlie Sheen. Winning. Nobody gives a shit about anything else. If we can embrace a trap coaching snoozer like Martin (when he took us to the conference finals), then we can get behind Cunneyworth or any other poor bastard dumb enough to take this job.
The worst part is that I never understood the whole French coach thing. If people read the paper or the internet, then they can read a translated quote and get the same info out of it. So is this whole arguement based on the 6 minutes of pointless question answering after each game or practice? Have you ever taken the time to listen to the answers we get at these press conferences? "blessure au haut du corps". "C'est important d'etre patient". "Les Flammes sont redoutables". Are you kidding me? The coach never says anything important to the media anyways.
You wanna French up this team? Stop letting guys like Claude Giroux, Patrice Bergeron, Martin St.Louis and Simon Gagné slip right through our fingers. The people identify with the players, not the 55 year old guy yelling at them. The pressure is always greater on the French guys when they play here, but they are also the only ones who know what it means to win here. A little pressure is a small price to pay to die a legend.
We've been doing it à la bonne franquette for 30 years with very little to show for it. What's the worse that can happen? We've tried and failed miserably with the best available French coaches, let's try something new. If Guy Carbonneau, a beloved ex player, had a 2 year shelf life in this town even after he guided the team to the #1 seed in the eastern conference, then we might as well hire the best guy available, regardless of language.
Now here's the issue. This is clearly a touchy subject. You would think that if the organization was gonna take a chance on an anglo coach, they would do it with someone with a little more street cred than Mr. Cunneyworth. Nothing against the guy but this is Montreal, the Toronto of Quebec. We needed a Mike Babcockish name to make the medicine to go down.
So sit back and enjoy the next 50 games. Should be a hell of a ride.