Of Turkies and Tedium
October 16, 2009, by Homme De Sept-Iles
Six games in and the Montreal Canadiens are two and four. That’s two wins and four losses for those of you who like to track that kind of stuff. On the surface things aren’t lovely or nostalgic for this sometimes team of destiny.
But what did you expect?
In an offseason where the team’s farm subsidiary, Hamilton Bulldogs, saw each staff member get fired, where the parent club hired a new head coach and new goaltender coach, where more than fourteen names changed on the big club’s roster and where the club itself changed ownership, did you expect all to run smoothly? No hiccups? No adjustment period?
Shame on you.
And to those who insist the Canadiens are, in mid-October, done like Thanksgiving dinner; basted before their time, let’s get a better grip of the wishbone.
Chances are, we won’t know how good (or bad) this team can be until well past the twenty games that RDS’ (Réseau des Sports – the French TSN) analyst Jacques Demers says we need in order to make a proper judgement call. He was making this appeal last night following Montreal’s oh-so-close (there were seven guys on the ice?) loss to Colorado Avalanche. He was exhorting some of his compatriots on Anti-Chambre (RDS’ game-night Canadiens post-game show) who, tired of the good smells in Bob Gainey’s kitchen, have decided to enter and open the oven for themselves. The conclusion; this team is half-baked and missing a few ingredients.
Bob Gainey, the team’s general manager and one of the few remaining names one can find after this summer’s Bell Centre cupboard clean-out, is responsible for the groceries and for this recipe. A recipe for disaster according to some.
But before we pull the turkey out (and let’s hope it’s something more noble than a turkey) and get a few more chefs in the kitchen, let’s remember that reheating, er, rebuilding a team takes time.
And yes, this is a rebuild whether the public spin is something else or not. Montreal, very technically could be said to be going the same course. And philosophy-wise, that may be true. But the changes are broad. And deep.
So rebuilding does take time.
And even great teams, defending champions, can have a slow start. Nobody starts October in mid-May form. Yes, the hurts of the past season have healed and the spirit is rested but the chemistry, the mélange on a warm October night is not the same as that of a playoff-bound team, desperate and jelling on a, um, warm May evening.
That chemistry, despite outside-the-arena weather, is dependent on the 82-game Top Chef regular season challenge that each team must face. And, as we know, not everyone is invited to the post-season cook-off.
Montreal Canadiens are a work in progress. And no Canadiens team in recent memory has undergone so much change in an offseason. So the recipe remains the same. The ingredients are a bit different. And patience, once more, dear diners, is required.
We’ll talk more in fourteen games. Bon apétit.