Sunday, 22 February 2015

Montreals A-Team

If you wanted to start a franchise from scratch that could win the cup in five years who else would you pick? Some might say Mike Babcock would be a better coach and a handful of D men might be better than Subban. However this group under the masterful command of Marc Bergevin is a true contender that epitomises team.

My hat is off to the enigmatic coach Therrien. In war or sport Defence wins. The reason is very clear. It is much harder to make something than to prevent something. A great two million a year player can totally frustrate a superstar making four of five times that. Finding, developing and holding on to superstars is very difficult, great defensive checkers about five times as easy. The key to making a team work like a Champion is the coach.

If you look around the NHL its clear that a fish rots at the head.  How many really good GM are there?  Those who have taken their team from the out house to the penthouse in a sustainable way are very rare.  Case in point the Toronto Maple Leaf. The richest team in hockey with a ten cent brain trust. It will take five years just to shake off the bad contracts to start the rebuild.

In the case of Montreal there are two more huge icebergs to navigate. First the French issue must be satisfied. It makes for a good debate if this is really a burden. The Montreal Canadiens are Quebecois culture. At the very least in hockey its a winner. Forceful confinement within ones culture is not always a negative. Secondly Montreal is the worst market for accountability on the ice. The province and fans punish failure and reward excellence like no other franchise in sport can imagine. When Bergevin wins the cup he will have joined a rare breed of hockey men.

Finally we must appreciate what a  wise owner Geoff Molson has been. Sure he had great advice from the Senator and Le Gross Bill, but the loonie stops with him and he has been a brilliant owner so far.

Montreal is back where it belongs at the top of the NHL. Not only that there is a strong foundation that ensures its going to be a long run.

Plan and bookmark the parade route!

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