As the dauntingly long offseason attempts to dwindle down, there isn't much to write about our Montreal Canadiens. The stories have been dominated about Dany Heatley, multiple-team trades, a cab-hating Blackhawk, and even the untimely death of a certain ex-Habs goaltender's son.
Regardless, too much can be written about the Canadiens upcoming season.
A lot of obstacles must be side-stepped for our team to be a contender and make it into the playoffs.
Most people would say, "How can you possibly consider an abysmal performance when we've spent over $100 million in a few days?"
Pretty easily, and for many reasons too!
The first isn't what you'd expect. It all falls on No. 31 Carey Price. The entire season rests pretty much squarely on his shoulders. His performance will be a clear indication of where the team falls when the dust settles.
His only hope is to shrug off last year's performance, and count on the fact that fans in this city have the attention span of goldfish. When we hate, we hate. When we love, we love.
And it's as easy to switch as a light.
The second is chemistry; this team has signed on six significant big names: Scott Gomez (from NYR in a six player trade), Brian Gionta (from NJD), Mike Cammalleri (from CGY), Travis Moen (from SJS), Paul Mara (from NYR), and Hal Gill (from PIT).
So you have to wonder, with so many new pieces from so many different locations, how can these newcomers mix in a city that makes it difficult enough already? Sure, Gomez and Gionta have experience alongside one another, but in New Jersey, playing a trap system.
Montreal is the center of the hockey universe, I don't care what people say about Toronto. We scrutinize and we dig and we bash players, despite their performance. How will they get along, and how long will it take to establish chemistry on and off the ice?
The third is the media. I almost love it while I most hate it.
I love it because there is always something to read about my favorite team that I follow almost religiously. I hate it because of the crap they print.
I quite honestly don't care if the Kostitsyns go out with people of questionable morals and values. Have you looked at either of them lately? They wake up thanking their lucky stars they are hockey players. I mean, they wouldn't exactly get the best looking women on their character.
Quite frankly, I don't care what they do or on what/whom they spend their money. They have a good profession, and they are entitled to do whatever they want to do. These players aren't politicians, and their lives shouldn't be scrutinized as much.
And that's just their personal lives! If Price has two soft games, you couldn't pick up any newspaper, from Le Journal to the Gazette that says how much of a slump he is in, how much the city relies on him and whatnot.
These people play hockey, they don't make a city budget. They didn't put the potholes on the 40 west and they didn't design the cesspool that is Decarie.
It's unbelievable on its own that we manage to have people stay here for the duration of time that they do, which is one of the most significant reasons I admire Koivu; he dealt with too much crap in this city.
Lastly is the fans; do you think for one season (or at least a few weeks) we let these newcomers be for just a little while? Let's not throw them under the limelight (or bus, depending on performance) for just a few weeks?
Expect some bad times in the beginning, and give them a break. These guys don't know what they've gotten themselves into.
I remember reading a piece of an interview with Scott Gomez who said something about learning French and comparing the media and fans of New York to Montreal. Gomez, with respects, you don't read this Web site, but if you do, you have no idea what you're talking about.
Prepare to be thrown women and alcohol, all on Buona Notte or Time SupperClub, prepare to be booed one minute and cheered the next. You're about to go on a roller coast that Six Flags has been trying to mimic for years.
Personally, I wouldn't want to be Bob Gainey for a few weeks into the season. He's not an idiot, by anyone's standards, so he knows tough times are ahead for the first few games. It should be expected that chemistry is built, not bought.
I know this team will click. Whether it is before December or not is anyone's guess.
I hope for the sake of Bob Gainey, the new owners, and new teammates that they can shrug off most of the media, about half of the fans, and a hell of a lot of critics and focus on the simple task at hand that gets lost in all of the above.
Playing hockey for the greatest city in the world.