Institutional Irrelevance

Last Saturday, the Montreal Canadiens announced the firing of Jacques Martin as head coach, and the promotion of Randy Cunneyworth as his interim replacement. Martin’s release was hardly a surprise; the hockey team has struggled this year, never truly owning a playoff berth and looking as though they might not by the end of the season. Whether you agree or disagree with the philosophy, when a team struggles the coach usually takes the blame for it. Martin’s fate was sealed as the team entered the holiday stretch stumbling and inconsistent, at best.

The anglophone Cunneyworth’s appointment has been met by a massive backlash of criticism from francophone fans, community and media. The Montreal Canadiens, they say, are an institution that represents French culture, and appointing a unilingual anglophone to lead the institution is tantamount to sacrilege. Some would say this is all a symptom of the religious devotion people have to a team with an incredibly long history, and some would say that even a sports team can be a part of a people’s identity when that lengthy history overlaps the prevailing currents that shaped the heritage of those people. Others would say they are just a team, and Cunneyworth just a coach, and winning is the only standard he should be held to. Nobody, however, would deny that Quebec has a habit of deconstructing every topic down to the level of language in the focused, self-involved defence of their “distinct culture,” whether the habit itself is ridiculous or not.
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Learning, the Hard Way

I swear that this is not becoming a hockey blog.

That said, I can’t help but feel a little motivated to vent my opinion when stupidity, hockey related or otherwise, becomes the ruling media story of the day. Apparently, Max Pacioretty “embellished” his inuries in a failed conspiracy to get Zdeno Chara suspended. This master plan reached as high as the team owner, and possibly involved a shady deal with sponsors, all directed at bringing down the lilly white innocent Boston Bruins during their possible run to the Stanley Cup.

And, the worst part of all this is that it’s going to take that much more credibility and seriousness away from the issue of player safety, which has already fallen dreadfully on deaf ears.
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Lip Service

In sunny Boca Raton, Florida, Gary Bettman became a teacher for the rest of us unwashed heathens and came to the rescue of all those lilly white players who keep getting their brains scrambled. Thank god for intelligent midgets like Bettman.

Speaking to reporters from the scene of the NHL GM meeting in Florida, Bettman first gave the media a lesson on the real causes of concussions in the league (hint: it has nothing to do with a 6’9″ giant taking your head in his palm and smashing it into a post,) then proceeded to outline an ambitious plan of action to address the issue. And, if any single one of you are stupid enough to believe his line of tripe, you should probably be watching another sport.
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