When you think about Montreal Sports media,the last thing that would come to mind is "The Enquirer", "Star" or even "Perez Hilton", but really, how far are they from being exactly that, a tabloid. I have come to realize recently, just how much power Montreal media has over the fan base and possibly the Habs organization itself.
We all know that the most important criteria when hiring a coach is hiring a winner. Wrong. In Montreal, the major concern is hiring a coach that speaks French, in order to communicate with the "fans", so says the French media. I heard Francois Gagnon, Norman Flynn, Benoit Brunet and many others say that. I ask you this, when does a coach talk to the fans? I do know coaches talk to their players (the most important), assistants, other members of the organization and the media. But fans? Personally, I don't care if the coach speaks Aramaic, as long as he can communicate with his players, and get the best out of every single one of them and I'm sure you all agree. Some might argue that the coach speaks to the fans through the media. Oh, I see, I'm sure the coach wanted the media to forward the following message to the fans in Montreal.
The more I think of the events surrounding the Habs over the past few years, the more things are getting clearer and it's making me queasy. First thing that comes to mind is the whole "Saku Koivu has been in Montreal for 13 years and he doesn't speak French" debacle. Saku Koivu was constantly being attacked by the French media because he refused to speak French. It was always a huge issue for them and they constantly criticized him for that "fault". With Koivu returning to Montreal today after being let go by the Habs, RDS was first occupied with the return of Maxime Lapierre, then concentrated on a possible return of Alex Kovalev as a Hab and then it was about Koivu. We see their priorities. Last I checked, Alex Kovalev doesn't speak french either, never did, but they loved him. He was never attacked my the french media, hell, they gave him nicknames like "l'artiste, and le magicien". Why was there such a difference in the respect they showed Koivu and that which they gave to Kovalev? Was it because they wanted Koivu out of Montreal before he broke Jean Beliveau's record as the longest serving captain of the Montreal Canadiens? Was it because Kovalev was charismatic and comedic and made the media laugh and feel more comfortable? I don't know either. One thing I do know is that Kovalev was offered a contract extension by the Montreal Canadiens organization and Koivu was told "thanks, but no thanks". Could it be that the media liked Kovalev because he was different and didn't give standard answers, hence "a good interview"?
I remember an e-mail exchange I had with someone from Team990 last year. The host was going on and on,on air, about how Koivu was not a good leader and that he was selfish in the locker room. How Koivu only cared if he had points and scored goals. So I e-mailed said host asking: If Koivu was so bad,why was he given a letter in Anaheim and Kovalev doesn't have one in Ottawa? The quick response was: talk to me in a year from now,you'll see. Well a year and a half has passed, Koivu still has his letter and a new contract, while Ottawa can't wait for Kovalev to leave...and he never wore a letter. Could it be that Montreal media bases their opinion of a player on his "interview" qualities? If he makes you laugh he's a good interview, therefore you like him and praise him, hence the Canadiens organization should keep him? Is that what it's all about?
I have come to realize that the media in Montreal, namely the french media,will support a Habs player if he smiles, meets with them, irregardless of whether he is a good player or not. If he talks to them, he's a keeper. If he gives standard answers,has trouble with the language (hence NOT a good interview) and isn't pretty on camera, they will do their damnedest to make the fans hate them, poke fun at them and eventually make the Canadiens organization trade them or just let them go for nothing.
I for one have a serious problem with this. Does the Habs organization follow the footprints of the biased media when deciding who to keep or trade in Montreal?
Thanks. Please leave a comment on your thoughts.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Instead of writing a whole blog on each of the following issues, I've decided to bundle recent events affecting the Habs and media, in what I will try to make a weekly entry.
- Pierre McGuire, stop talking about your coaching days with the Penguins.That was over 18 years ago, your "coaching" skills are irrelevant, as are your GM abilities. (that's why no team will hire you)
- RDS seems to have missed the boat on what's exciting about the Ducks coming to the Bell Centre on Saturday. WE DON'T CARE ABOUT MAXIME LAPIERRE. It's SAKU KOIVU'S return to Montreal, it's his night. ACCEPT IT.
- For Benoit Brunet all I have to say is there are many cities you can move to,take your pick between Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and now Anaheim. Buh Bye.
- Francois Gagnon, if you call Andrei Kostitsyn a mule again, I will tie you up and make you watch YOUTUBE tributes to him and Sergei over and over. How old are you? 12? Grow up already.
- Randy Tieman's prejudice towards European players is as profound, if not, worse than Mike Milbury's. Your opinion of Alexei Kovalev and Andrei Kostitsyn doesn't count. You're a Red Wings fan, move to Detroit already.
- Regarding PK Subban, don't change. Be who YOU are always. We love you.
- For Jacques Martin, I would like to ONCE see you stick up for your players, be it to the media or the refs.You might be surprised with the outcome when you show you have a heart and feelings. Look at Lindy Ruff and how he changed the game last night.
- Regarding the NHL refs, if you are going to put your whistles away, keep them equally disposed of for both teams. Don't call a penalty against the Habs with under a minute left in a tie game....especially after you've missed four penalties against the other team. Fair is fair, no?
- On the PK celebration, anyone who has a problem with it, stop watching hockey, it's not for you. I hear Lacrosse is a great sport to follow.
- To the Antichambre guys who dissected the "Gomez snub", let it go. We did not need to see it in slow motion over and over and over again. You don't know WHY it happened, you don't know the circumstances, so LET IT GO. PLEASE.