Every team needs a mastermind.
Montreal has their mastermind. His name is Bob Gainey.
As a former Stanley Cup Champion GM in Dallas with the Stars, Gainey knows what it takes to build a winner: a mixture of veteran leaders with budding young stars.
Remember when Sheldon Souray was having a career year and with his UFA looming that summer? That summer, Gainey didn't deal him and lost him for nothing.
This season, with Cristobal Huet's UFA looming July 1st, Gainey dealt Huet to Washington. Not wanting to get nothing again for a player who could bring in something in a trade, Gainey dealt Huet to Washington. Yes, for nothing much, but it was something.
Gainey has instilled confidence both in the coaching staff and in the players themselves. Giving Carey Price the reins after the Huet deal, Gainey sat down his young starting goalie and told him what confidence he had in Price to lead this team and be the franchise goalie.
Small picks, trades, and signings in his years in Montreal, Gainey has restored the Canadiens into a playoff contender and a Conference and Division champion.
But in hockey-mad Montreal, those achievements do not go onto banners in the Bell Centre rafters. Only 24 Stanley Cup Championship banners hang from the rafters.
In Gainey's game plan, there are more banners to be hung in the Bell Centre rafters.
Off-season acquisitions Bryan Smolinski and Tom Kostopolous have instilled grit and veteran leadership on a team that so desperately needed it. Other acquisitions such as Roman Hamrlik and Josh Gorges give the blue-line that solid defensive aspect.
Gainey has instilled confidence in his younger stars, such as Price, Sergei and Andrei Kostitsyn, Ryan O'Bryne, and others by giving them the chance to play at the big level and succeed under head coach Guy Carbonneau.
Giving the youngsters a chance to play speaks volumes for the Canadiens' future.
With the Canadiens' 100th anniversary up and coming, the Canadiens are looking good for a possible 25th Stanley Cup banner.
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