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The Chicoutimi Cucumber

Boivin on the 'French' fact

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If the best players available happen to be french it should be viewed as a bonus...not the criteria.

Same goes for GM's and coaches. I don't see what difference your first language makes on the ice, on the bench or in the office.

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If the best players available happen to be french it should be viewed as a bonus...not the criteria.

Same goes for GM's and coaches. I don't see what difference your first language makes on the ice, on the bench or in the office.

+1

I'd also add that MOST fans don't care either - they just want a winning team.

It's just the damn segment of the media with their political agenda that makes it an issue. Members like the idiots on RDS act like guys like Lapierre are franchise players. It hasn't helped when the Canadians get sucked into this nonsense by building their marketing around guys like Laps and Lats and turn then into rockstars before they even prove they are full time NHLers.

On the other hand, they cpaign to run consistent 20+ goal guys like AK46 out of town.

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I have to admit that I was strongly opposed to the idea of privileging local players a few years back. I thought that it would mean having to pay a premium to opposite GMs in trades or giving an advantage to Quebecers in UFAs negociations. I thought that this would limit our GM's ability to make beneficial moves.

However, especially since the parity was installed in the league, we have to acknowledge that the most important thing in hockey is not the mere addition of one team's players skills. Hockey is a real "team sport" and one very important thing is team bonding and a dedicated group mindset to play in the same direction and to follow a well-articulated gameplan. Individual skill is just not enough.

The Habs have a rich tradition and management can take advantage of it to boost a sentiment of pride and dedication within the team. And in that vein, this sense of belonging and pride is more naturally embodied and carried on by local players, while skilled imports "complement" it (not the opposite). I think you'd have higher odds to communicate the passion and the desire to succeed around a gameplan to a group of young locals who have always been dreaming to play for the hometown team, rather than to a group of imported mercenaries. There is no tradition comparable to the Habs around the league, and they should better put to profit this comparative advantage.

I'm not saying only locals can play with passion for the hometeam. But it's just logical that those locals who have always cherished the hometown team are more likely to play with that extra dedication and edge. They identify with the team and its tradition, and in return, homefans identify with them.

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I have to admit that I was strongly opposed to the idea of privileging local players a few years back. I thought that it would mean having to pay a premium to opposite GMs in trades or giving an advantage to Quebecers in UFAs negociations. I thought that this would limit our GM's ability to make beneficial moves.

However, especially since the parity was installed in the league, we have to acknowledge that the most important thing in hockey is not the mere addition of one team's players skills. Hockey is a real "team sport" and one very important thing is team bonding and a dedicated group mindset to play in the same direction and to follow a well-articulated gameplan. Individual skill is just not enough.

The Habs have a rich tradition and management can take advantage of it to boost a sentiment of pride and dedication within the team. And in that vein, this sense of belonging and pride is more naturally embodied and carried on by local players, while skilled imports "complement" it (not the opposite). I think you'd have higher odds to communicate the passion and the desire to succeed around a gameplan to a group of young locals who have always been dreaming to play for the hometown team, rather than to a group of imported mercenaries. There is no tradition comparable to the Habs around the league, and they should better put to profit this comparative advantage.

I'm not saying only locals can play with passion for the hometeam. But it's just logical that those locals who have always cherished the hometown team are more likely to play with that extra dedication and edge. They identify with the team and its tradition, and in return, homefans identify with them.

While your argument may sound good in theory, in reality it doesn't hold water. Have we been watching the same team for the past decade???

How well did the most recent local boys - Lats and Laps - fare in demonstrating a sentiment of pride and dedication to the team and what was asked of them??? Did they play as directed and try to follow the gameplan they were given??? The pillsbury doughboy Lats tended to out of shape during most of his stay in Montreal and then when he bought into getting in shape, he generally didn't put forth much effort and try to follow the game plan. Even after breaking out after his trade to Minny, he should up at this past year's training camp in Minny out of shape and ended up being injured. In Lats case part of the issue was he should have spent a couple of years in hamilton to learn what it takes to be a professional.

In fact i think its more important for the Habs to FORCE the local boys to spend time in the minors to learn to be professional in order to insulate them to the media when they are still kids. I hope they FORCE Lebanc to spend the entire year next year in Hamilton regardless of how well he plays.

In any event, Lats, Laps, Ribeiro, really didn't show much hometown pride or dedication to play a as a group or within a game plan. All acted like Prima-donnas and certainly didn't play with the passion and extra dedication you are hoping for.

Lastly, most Quebecors that are actually worth having that are Elite players (i.e. Lecavalier/Briere/Gagne/Bergeron), don't really want to play in Montreal. Its the scrubs that want to be here and in the case of many, they probably wouldn't have gotten a chance by any other team and would be out of the league by now (i.e. Darche), had to wait around a long time to get a chance by another team (MAB) or are longshots (Desharnais), who didn't get a chance by anyone but the habs.

Briere turned down more money from the habs to play for Philly and strung Montreal along to maximize what he could get out of Philly. Gagne and Bergeron are on record saying they don't want to play for Montreal. Both were Nordiques fans (but then so was Roy), and Gagne in particular when his name came up in rumours a few years back was very vocal in not wanting anything to do with Montreal.

Vinny was a year away from being a UFA and if he really wanted to fullfill his childhood dream, he could have waited and signed with the hometown habs he supposedly idolized. Bottom line is even after signing the contract, with all the nonsense going in on in Tampa, from his interviews, it was pretty obvious he was hoping a deal wouldn't go down and he sounded pretty relieved when the deal fell through. He would much rather be walking in flip-flops unrecognized in Tampa then dealing with the snow and rabid media in Montreal.

Going back further, most local kids couldn't handle either the pressure that comes from playing in Montreal (i.e. Thibault couldn't handle the expectations to replace Roy), or conducted themselves as prima-donnas and really lacked the dedication you are talking about (Theadore, Ribeiro, Lats, Laps, Dagenuis).

So, like I said, while in theory your argument may have some merit, in reality it doesn't hold water.

Even if you go further back, a lot of French players had more success and stabalized as being good team players, or developed better after leaving Montreal (i.e. Lemieux, Lebeau, Beauchaman, Robidas), while others couldn't handle the pressure on a long-term basis, or when they were brought into Montreal (Richer, the Turgeon brothers). Even guys that were pretty solid like Desjardins became better players and leaders after getting out of the Montreal pressure cooker. Although, I think Desjardins would have been just fine in Montreal (boy that was a crappy deal, Leclair AND Desjardins for Dr. Recchi).

So essentially, while the media and fans may pine for a local Quebec hero, bottom line is most Quebec born players don't want anything to do with Montreal.

This team is going to be successful by going after the best players available and guys that want to be here. Subban grow up in Toronto, but his family grew up a habs fan. Higgins and his family were habs fans - I hated to see him go, a heck a lot more then seeing Richer, Turgeon, Ribeiro, Laps, Lats go (was pissed at the returns for their spoilt asses, but not that sorry to see them go). Higgins on the other hand, was mainly at fault for putting more pressure on himself to be something he wasn't capable of being. this past trade deadline, I was hoping the habs would take a flyer on him at the trade deadline.

Montreal isn't an easy place play, for french or english players - particularly young players and I was really concerned about Price's desire to be a hab long-term given his comments last year, but with his improved play and his relationship with Gorges and Subban, hopefully, he will want to be hear long-term.

Anyway, bottom line, like Dryden wrote over 30 years ago, the habs are going to have to make a decision to be more french, or be a winner. The elite french players really don't want to play in Montreal because of the pressure and attention that goes with Montreal and I really don't want a team of French scrub players that want to be here and perhaps get more of a chance to player here, because they are French Canadian. Nothing irritates me more then media build up the 3rd/4th line French players like they are superstars.

If the habs are going to be a cup champion again, they have to go after the most talented and character players and not select players to appease the French media or the some segments of the fan base.

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I have to admit that I was strongly opposed to the idea of privileging local players a few years back. I thought that it would mean having to pay a premium to opposite GMs in trades or giving an advantage to Quebecers in UFAs negociations. I thought that this would limit our GM's ability to make beneficial moves.

However, especially since the parity was installed in the league, we have to acknowledge that the most important thing in hockey is not the mere addition of one team's players skills. Hockey is a real "team sport" and one very important thing is team bonding and a dedicated group mindset to play in the same direction and to follow a well-articulated gameplan. Individual skill is just not enough.

The Habs have a rich tradition and management can take advantage of it to boost a sentiment of pride and dedication within the team. And in that vein, this sense of belonging and pride is more naturally embodied and carried on by local players, while skilled imports "complement" it (not the opposite). I think you'd have higher odds to communicate the passion and the desire to succeed around a gameplan to a group of young locals who have always been dreaming to play for the hometown team, rather than to a group of imported mercenaries. There is no tradition comparable to the Habs around the league, and they should better put to profit this comparative advantage.

I'm not saying only locals can play with passion for the hometeam. But it's just logical that those locals who have always cherished the hometown team are more likely to play with that extra dedication and edge. They identify with the team and its tradition, and in return, homefans identify with them.

I think a lot of what you're saying is probably true, and not being from Quebec, I don't think I can fully appreciate the cultural significance of the Habs, especially in the early days.

A significance that has obviously filtered down through generations.

But...

Hockey in the NHL is no longer the provincial or regional sport it once was. The glory days of having a mostly French Canadian roster, full of the best of the best, seems to have past.

Management could focus on having more french players in the line up, but to what end?

Does a fan base relating lingually to it's players really make a difference on the ice?

I'm sure it wouldn't hurt, but with 29 other teams trying to assemble a cup contender, Montreal would be better served by doing what needs to be done to bring the cup home for the 25th time.

I can almost guarantee that when the cup is being hoisted, no one will care where the players came from.

Price, Plekanec, Pacioretty, Gionta, Cammalleri etc etc. I would be shocked if they don't fully understand the great legacy of the Canadiens and feel proud to play for the most legendary team in hockey history.

That legacy and sense of pride, I don't think, is exclusive to kids from Quebec.

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I think a lot of what you're saying is probably true, and not being from Quebec, I don't think I can fully appreciate the cultural significance of the Habs, especially in the early days.

A significance that has obviously filtered down through generations.

But...

Hockey in the NHL is no longer the provincial or regional sport it once was. The glory days of having a mostly French Canadian roster, full of the best of the best, seem to have past.

Management could focus on having more french players in the line up, but to what end?

Does a fan base relating lingually to it's players really make a difference on the ice?

I'm sure it wouldn't hurt, but with 29 other teams trying to assemble a cup contender, Montreal would be better served by doing what needs to be done to bring the cup home for the 25th time.

I can almost guarantee that when the cup is being hoisted, no one will care where the players came from.

Price, Plekanec, Pacioretty, Gionta, Cammalleri etc etc. I would be shocked if they don't fully understand the great legacy of the Canadiens and feel proud to play for the most legendary team in hockey history.

That legacy and sense of pride, I don't think, is exclusive to kids from Quebec.

Pleks gets the legacy, Gionta and Cammy signed here because of it, Subban grow up a habs fan and Price/MaxPac after some tough times early in their careers hopefully will appreciate the legacy more each year and want to be part of that legacy long-term.

Bottom line is that with influx of Europeans and decline in the amount of elite players out of Quebec (with the exception at goaltending), it doesn't make sense to even TRY to build a team of French Canadians.

Looking at the top ten players of the last cup winning habs powerhouse team of the 70's: Lafleur, Dryden, Robinson, Savard, Lapointe, Gainey, Shutt, Lemaire, Cournayer, Langway), half of that core was not french. Moreover, is there any French Canadian forward today that is as good as Lafleur, or holds the same stature as Lafleur??? And no, I don't consider Vinny even close - Lafleur for 6 years was one of the top 3 players in the league. Can you say that about Vinny?? Maybe for a two or three of his career. Name me two French Canadian defencemen today who are as good as Savard or Lapointe?? Letang, MAY one day prove to be as good as Lapointe was. But its too early to see if he will be as good or effective as long as Lapointe was. I certainly can't thinks of a Dman that was as good as Savard. The last true superstar French Dman was Bourque.

I'm hoping things will change in fan/media expectations with guys like Subban, Price, MaxPac, Eller coming up and the desire and effort shown by Pleks and Gionta.

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The habs were always built on getting the best available be it player or management. And in todays nhl it is even more important. Other than Al Mcniel who was promoted off the team :rolleyes: I believe that we have followed that course. In the last 20 years with the advent of seperatism and the bloc I think things got a little skewed. The hockey team is about winning cups, not pleasing the media or any political agenda. If it is not about winning cups it is pointless. I disagree with Boivin about having to hire a french coach or general manager just because they are french, or we cant have another Dick Irvin or Scotty Bowman, and many others toe blake (terribly french name) just cause they are not french. It is a language not a religion and that shouldn't matter either. The russians and many european teams hire canadians to coach or gm their teams cause they know we know hockey. It has a language all its own. If boivin made the rule that we must hire a french canadian period no matter talent level then I am glad he is gone. Bob gainey is not french canadian but fluent, and he hired him so I take the french canadian issue with a grain of salt. However if french it must be then maybe I can put my name in the hat my name is Maurice Robert Pelletier so that must qualify me for some position. No I never lived in Quebec, can't speak much french ( watch the hockey games ok). My family has been in this country for over 300 years, that in itself should get me asst gm at least, No? Hey do you guys think the Mahovolichs could speak french. Come on guys we want to be the best period not best french canadian team cause there is only one at this time. And I hated the nordiques but was very sad to see them go. That rivalry was awesome.

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I would not agree. Would not reeeeaaaaaly bug me, but a little bit. My argument is all about to seperate politic and PRO sport. I just can't stand it. National anthems, yelling USA USA in the crowd, the composition of a team with Quebecers or Americans or whatever.

For me, the cultural aspect of PRO sports (any pro sport) should be about how the local population enjoy/react/get involved with the game. IMHO, there is NO WAY (zero) the politic should have anything to do with PRO sport, at any place, any moment.

On the other hand, I enjoy the patriotism associated with INTERNATIONAL competitions (Olympics, World Cup, etc) but when it comes to PRO sport, I just can't stand it.

But I enjoy it cuz it brings so much passion, not because countries can bramg about being the best (AKA people at Vancouver Games with their sign "Hockey is Canada's sport" how pathetic was that).

If you think that pride is about nationality, you're wrong. - NOFX

I totally agree with every word in this post.

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I have to admit that I was strongly opposed to the idea of privileging local players a few years back. I thought that it would mean having to pay a premium to opposite GMs in trades or giving an advantage to Quebecers in UFAs negociations. I thought that this would limit our GM's ability to make beneficial moves.

However, especially since the parity was installed in the league, we have to acknowledge that the most important thing in hockey is not the mere addition of one team's players skills. Hockey is a real "team sport" and one very important thing is team bonding and a dedicated group mindset to play in the same direction and to follow a well-articulated gameplan. Individual skill is just not enough.

The Habs have a rich tradition and management can take advantage of it to boost a sentiment of pride and dedication within the team. And in that vein, this sense of belonging and pride is more naturally embodied and carried on by local players, while skilled imports "complement" it (not the opposite). I think you'd have higher odds to communicate the passion and the desire to succeed around a gameplan to a group of young locals who have always been dreaming to play for the hometown team, rather than to a group of imported mercenaries. There is no tradition comparable to the Habs around the league, and they should better put to profit this comparative advantage.

I'm not saying only locals can play with passion for the hometeam. But it's just logical that those locals who have always cherished the hometown team are more likely to play with that extra dedication and edge. They identify with the team and its tradition, and in return, homefans identify with them.

You mention it's not all about individual skill and I agree. But, if the player doesn't have any or enough individual skill, going to Montreal isn't going to change that, at least not enough to the extent of being meaningful. Pascal Dupuis over his career is more or less a 30-35 point player. If he signs with the Habs, he's not going to turn into a 50-60 point guy. Bruno Gervais can't crack the regular lineup for the biggest laughingstock in the East (the Islanders). Is a trade to the Habs going to turn him into a productive NHL'er? I don't see how. Sure, they may try a little harder but in the end, it largely comes down to talent. Bad or mediocre players born in Quebec will not turn into significantly better players by joining the Habs which means as a fan of team success, I don't want them.

As has been mentioned earlier in this thread, it bugs me to no end the treatment that players like Lapierre got, he wasn't any good and if he was on any other team, wouldn't get interviewed on a weekly let alone daily basis. Heck, even Picard got way more attention than he deserved. For every other team he played for, the fact he was scratched was considered a non-story. With the Habs, it's a daily topic and sadly, the argument for his return to the lineup more often than not wasn't based on his hockey skills. If every little thing in Montreal is going to be blown out of proportion to the extent of more or less becoming a distraction, is it not better to try and prevent some of these? That's why even signing the token depth Quebecers like a Picard or Darche can be problematic. I'm not saying stay away at all costs but if you bring in a depth guy, it may be a feel good story for a few days, but as soon as you demote/bench him, look out regardless of whether it's deserved or not. If the Habs sign a local, he better be able to play on a regular basis based on merit alone. That, to me, is the priority.

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