Big day today: I just got my Bleacher Report shirt (yay!) and the Canadiens GM Bob Gainey held the traditional season closing press conference.
It is somehow a bit nostalgic, it seems like it was yesterday that I heard that Brisebois was coming back to Montreal; that I was checking out who the heck was Brian Smolinski and that Carey Price was celebrating the Calder Cup win with the Bulldogs Hamilton.
Now, it is time to look ahead to the next season. It should be interesting to see how this year's rookies will respond with more experience; how Alexei Kovalev will keep up with his level of play; and how Coach Carbonneau will be after two years behind the bench and already a Jack Adams Trophy Nomination.
Looking as calm and poised as usual, the GM started by congratulating his coaching staff and his players. Then, he admitted that the Flyers deserved the win and the ticket to the next round. He kept on going by thanking the fans, for the support especially during the second mid-season.
Now, the summer shopping: "our forwards are a place where we'll focus our attention". The last time I heard something like that, Cristobal Huet was traded to the Capitals and we got a second round pick!
The time before that, everyone was waiting for Daniel Briere to knock on the Bell Center's door, and then we got ourselves two fourth line players, a former Montrealer who is heading to the end of his hockey career, and a top defense-man.
So what should we expect this time around? Of course, hopefully the way the league looks at the Habs is not the same anymore.
Vincent Lecavalier commented on the matter during the season, seeing the Habs looking like an actual Hockey team. "Players will have the Canadiens on their list". Well, I have a question for you Vinny, do you? Recall that the amazing Quebecois player is heading to the final year of his contract with Tampa; however it would not be surprising to see the organization lock him up with an Alex Ovechkin type of deal.
We all heard about these big stories regarding French Canadians talented players (I said talented) who do not want to come to Montreal due to the extreme pressure there is.
So finally, is it the pressure or is it simply that Montreal did not look like a team to play for if you actually want to get something to mark your career.
Talking about the contract signatures, those of you who still expect Ryder to be back, please raise your hands. Going from 30 goals to paper planes, he had the courage to announce Monday "at least I tried". We all did, we all tried and at some point we all thought the good times were back on.
Gainey had a lot of beautiful words for his boys, "We're quick, we're exciting, we're on the attack, we play to score, we're going to play to beat you within the rules". The cliche that sums it best: the future looks bright. For Brunnstrom, he was in town last week. We should hear from him in the upcoming weeks, replied Gainey.
Sitting on his right, Guy Carbonneau had a thought for the fans. The Montreal head coach had received over 400 ties during the playoffs! As for the Hermes ugly blinding one, he will give it for a charity auction that will benefit a foundation for children.
I have one question: why doesn’t he just keep it? Wouldn’t It be fun to see the tie back again for next year’s playoffs? The coach is planning to fly to Dallas, to watch son in law Brendan Morrow and welcome the new member of the Morrow-Carbonneau family. Boy, that child is so lucky!
Carbonneau also declared that he did not know about Carey Price being mentally burnt by the pressure, and the last two years. A little misunderstanding there maybe? But it is all fine I guess. They are heading to the right direction, it should be fun.
In another matter, the medias had another set of weird questions regarding Alexei Kovalev: is there enough place for the Artist and the Captain in the room?
The Captain and his assistant Captain had about the same answers: they get along with each other. Since it was a bit obvious that Kovalev became suddenly silent since the return of the Captain, do you think a change would help? Then, what kind of change?