Winston Churchill said that change is good if it comes in the right direction. In most cases however—especially in hockey—it is unfortunate that we do not really know where we are heading.
But a change was necessary.
And yet, as usual, we can raise numerous questions regarding the firing of Guy Carbonneau.
On one side, this is a coach who had to build a mountain out of a bag of sand. On the other, this is a coach who did build the mountain, but just could not do it again.
Carbonneau has been able to spend a successful trip behind the bench without injuries, with an amazing Alex Kovalev and a very confident Carey Price at his disposal. The fatal second half of this season gave him everything but those.
While the players were taking turns to visit the doctor, Alex Kovalev lived the nightmare of any artist; the loss of inspiration.
Besides, the man between the pipes Carey Price, the man that Bob Gainey himself insisted on being the No. 1 goalie, is still trying to recover from an under-performance crisis. And finally, the defensive squad would let a train pass by without even noticing it.
That adds to the trade deadline message, “Do what you can with the little you have.”
On the other side, the performance that Guy Carbonneau was able to pull out of the team last year came back to bite him right on the hand. Once the team proved that it could play like a real one; expectations rose and the team could not meet them.
But the coach hasn’t been able to make the magic happen once more, and Gainey wasn’t going to take any chance with 16 games remaining before the dance of the spring. Later is better than never, so it was time to start things anew.
Had he left Carbonneau behind the bench, with one win every five games, he would have been the man who sacrificed the team for their friendship.
Had he stepped his foot down more often to contradict Carbonneau’s decision, he would have put the coach’s credibility in question in front of players who already had their share of doubts.
Now that the bomb has been dropped, that we just gather the pieces to build something new, kind words have been directed towards the former head coach; but less surprisingly, the small mistakes started to come out.
Saku Koivu said that communication wasn’t Carbonneau best quality. Meanwhile, Mathieu Dandenault praises Bob Gainey like a mighty God who just delivered him from the flames of hell, saying that the GM “has a gift of making any player feel like they are the best player in the world.”
Every player but Patrice Brisebois, who seems to be stuck at 999 games played in a Habs uniform so far!
In the meantime, AHL coach Don Lever has been brought in to bring a refreshing breeze in this old smelly locker room. He is expected to give his input in the handling of the youngsters, yes, the party boys. As for the veterans, the boss just stepped on the ice to observe and to comment. There is nothing to add.
After all, Bob Gainey's poised side can be as tricky as if there was going to be a laser coming out of those eyes, burning everybody's brain. That is his thing, you never know what he is going to come up with.
Justified or not, we can only expect that Bob Gainey’s arrival will be the spark that can get this team going for the final push, the famous push that will get the baby out!