The offseason brings new chances for teams to rebuild, improve and sometimes redeem themselves.
Beginning July 1, the only thing that is predictable is that nothing will be.
Time does fly.
A year ago, the pressure and the expectations were at their highest. The Habs just completed their best regular season in more than a decade, and that amazing record fooled most into believing that experience was the only missing piece for the playoffs run.
One fired head coach, numerous injuries on key players, and a humiliating first round later; reality has struck so hard that the centennial became a season to forget.
Being the Montreal Canadiens General Manager requires a real taste for challenge and risk; and perhaps an unbeatable self esteem. For fans with such passion, the man who makes the final decisions could bring the Canadian Olympic team and it still would not be enough.
But someone has to do the dirty work, and the determination to keep going reflects his respect and devotion for trying to make this team better.
It has been said so many times that free agents would never come to Montreal because of pressure. The Media and the fans surrounding the team can sometimes give the impression of vultures around humans in the desert: waiting for the first one to fall.
That is when Bob Gainey looks like a magician getting famous names to become Bleu Blanc Rouge.
But decisions imply sacrifices: when new ones come, the old ones have to go; and suddenly he looks like a senile old man who doesn’t know what he is doing.
Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev’s departures have been painful to most fans. The Captain has been through highs and lows, and remained with the team during its hardest times.
Kovalev, nicknamed “The Artist,” also had a major impact on this city. Some fans have even been showing their support to the no.27 through petitions and rallies to keep him in Montreal.
For once the voices were heard in favour of a player, but it was unfortunately all in vain. And as much as it hurts me like a knife right deep in my heart, each word turning it into the wound, increasing the bleeding; Kovalev is now an Ottawa Senator, and it is time to move on.
In the desperate search for the evil man, all fingers pointed at Bob Gainey; who after all was just a businessman in the business of Hockey.
Now, new questions await the people who did not swear to stop supporting the team once Kovy would be gone; I believe they are called “real fans.”
Who will be the next Captain? Who will be that Defenceman that Uncle Bob wants to sign? Is there a generous, patient, cheap, advising, and giving veteran goalie, willing to warm the bench? Is the price of the beer ever going to decrease at the Bell Center? What will happen to Alex Tanguay?
Moreover, while the Toronto Maple Leafs are slowly giving the impression of growing in size and weight, the Habs “measurements” are still questionable. Only time will tell.
The bids are still open, and we have all summer.