Sunday, October 30, 2011

Found Objects

Because we need a break between the heavy stuff.

1. Lowetide on the Canadiens- This is the second time in as many weeks I’ve had a prominent Oilers blogger look down from his lofty perch in order to inform me that the Habs suck. Okay, granted, Mr. Lowetide brings up a fair point, and he isn’t trying to make me, personally, sad, but still: one hot start and all y’all getting uppity already. Well, at least the Canadiens have the honor to try every year rather than just playing dumb while hoarding a mass of nubile but slightly dim-witted teenagers in the hopes of reenacting 1982. (Seriously, retro jerseys even? We would like a little more subtlety in our allusions, please.) Unfortunately, in this case, the wise man speaks the truth: firing Pearn at that particular moment was a weird move that lends itself to nothing but unflattering interpretations (panic? personality conflict? crass scapegoating? nepotism-in-the-making?). Just don’t tell the Leafs Nation, okay? They give me enough shit as it is.

2. Benjamin on Booth- One of the major problems I’ve always had with the on-again-off-again search for ‘Moneypuck’ is that I don’t think the hockey player valuation market is all that irrational. Yeah, there’s a few ridiculous UFA overpayments, and the occasional really useful bottom-six player who can be dug out of the AHL, but for the most part the only way anyone’s ever found to get top-level talent for bargain-basement price is the ELC. So how does one go about improving a team, or maintaining an already good team, in a mostly-rational market? By accepting the risk of overpayment, apparently. Tom Benjamin is the smartest hockey guy I don’t consistently agree with, but he’s absolutely right on this one, and that shit needed to be said.

3. ‘The Player’ on Shanahan- I love this concept. Unvarnished opinions from inside The Room! Comments by an active player longer than one sentence! A lot longer than one sentence, actually- this is clearly a man after my own heart. And pretty much everything he says seems pretty reasonable, which is a huge relief. However, there is something a bit presumptuous about calling him ‘The Player’. I mean, really, unless he’s Sidney Crosby or something almost equivalent, he’s more like ‘A Player’. And while I totally get why it’s necessary for him to remain anonymous, it would be helpful to know what manner of player he is. At least, once he starts opining about fighting, which he inevitably will.

4. Desjardins on PDO- Oh, honey, we are not going to understand PDO. We will accept PDO, we will use PDO, we will love and honor and obey PDO, playoffs or no playoffs, in injury and in recovery, for as long as our team shall avoid relocation, but we will never really understand it. Our relationship with PDO is always going to be quietly tempestuous, in that mournful country song way. We watch it sneak out down to the honky tonk every night, and sit up drinkin’ moonshine and waiting to hear the snarl of its pickup pulling back into the driveway, certain in the knowledge that eventually it will, but never knowing exactly when, and never really understanding why.

5. van Steendelaar on Leblanc- Honestly, I just needed an excuse to type ‘van Steendelaar’, which has got to be the most awesome currently active hockey blogger name. And also, I need to link to Eyes on the Prize, which has been getting better and better over the years and is now just about the sanest and smartest Habs analysis anyone is going to find anywhere. But regarding Leblanc, given that I have to be in Toronto for a while, I best be getting my ass on a GO train and heading down to Hamilton. Not to do pre-scouting, but just to see all the baby Canadiens while they’re still young and innocent and full of hope, before they get that hard, fuck-off look in their eyes that comes from being told they suck in two different languages four times a day.

Bonus clip: Bryzgalov on Bryzgalov- So honest, so depressing, and so sophisticated a way of turning potential criticism into immediate sympathy. He’s so self-loathing, the reporters want to give him a hug. Or at least a tenuous excuse.


Lowetide said...

In fairness, I've been uppity right through the losing years.


E said...

perhaps, but i am oblivious to intra-oilogosphere uppity-ness. i have to be, elsewise it'd be a slippery slope indeed.

Stephan Cooper said...

Thanks for the shout out for EOTP. Over there we love you too.

One weird thing about the Pearn firing is that in many ways it wasn't a panic move. Martin kept his job (completely the right decision IMO) and they didn't hire anyone else. The lineup changes were pretty minor, making bringing in a depth center and switching which AHL forward plays on the fourth line in White's absence and Moen's promotion to the 2nd line. Making relatively minor adjustments shows a belief that despite the unfortunate start the basic structure is sound, just needing some tweeks.

I think that perhaps it was an intervention into the coaching dynamics by Gauthier. Pearn was Martin's guy and the word seems to be that he was the one that Martin listened too the most. Removing him from the equation makes Randy Ladouceur more important and elevates the Randys faction vis a vis Martin.

Its as if Gauthier is saying "You're still my guy Martin but I brought Randy 1 and Randy 2 in for a reason and I want you to listen to them." Perhaps this is related to the shift to using the 2 man forecheck more that we saw against Boston.

E said...

you have a point, and that interpretation seems plausible. the thing that i find difficult to understand is the way the whole thing was handled. if it was a carefully considered decision that was a long time coming, then why not make the announcement on an off day, during a period of relatively normal season ups-and-downs, in a proper press conference, big table and prepared notes and all. firing pearn a couple hours before a game, at the very bottom of a losing streak, and talking about it to the press as if you just happened to run into them in the hall on your way to the water cooler makes it look panicky. it's a terrible bit of theater, particularly for a franchise that's usually pretty savvy about optics. if it really was a thoughtfully premeditated move, then the way they did it starts to look a vicious PR decision- hey, everyone says we need to do something, and we were gonna let this dude go anyway, so why not let that be the bone we throw to the angry fanbase?

Chris said...

I agree with E in saying that Stephan's interpretation seems like a plausible scenario, as it's well known that Pearn was the man who had Martin's ear, despite everything--I don't recall where I read it, perhaps it was at EOTP, but someone had said in their blog that Martin listened to Pearn at the cost of excluding Muller's own insights. Considering how well respected by the team and fanbase, as well as how savvy Muller is, that seems to have been a bad call on Martin's part, and I completely understand why Muller would choose to leave the organization.

With that being said, E's right. It definitely looked like a panicky move, even if it was pre-meditated. It's earned Gauthier flak from just about every media outlet which covers the Habs. I'm sure this move will not ingratiate Gauthier with any future potential candidates for positions he may have to fill, and it may hurt the team as a result.

On the other hand, something had to give. The same outlets who decried the move were calling for head(s) and you could practically hear the fanbase chanting for a ritual sacrifice of Martin in order to elevate St. Patrick.

Was this the right move? Who knows, only time will tell.