It's Picard's fault. Two weeks ago we had a grand time at Hotel Nelligan celebrating The Team 990's 2nd Sports Personality Of The Year luncheon. Robin Burns told dirty Irish jokes. Donald K Donald told a dirty Bo Diddley story. Shayne Murphy played dirty guitar. And Bob Gainey dropped an F bomb on live radio. And then we partied.
I'm still not sure what happened between the time I headed home for a quick nap and the following Monday but I do know that Picard lost his voice. Rod Francis lost his dinner. Scott Saxon lost his way (again). Connor McKenna lost his good sense. And Marco Polo almost lost his license.
I should have insisted that Francis stay away form the office because when he finally returned mid-week he sounded like Dave Manson. Looked like Marilyn Manson. And bled from the nose like Charles Manson (I have no idea what the connection is but it sounds right). Three days later I felt like I had been hit by a train. No way was I going to miss back to back concerts by Steve Earle and Bruce Springsteen. So into my box of medicine I checked and out came these huge music notes with words from "Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again"
Now the rainman gave me two cures,
Then he said, "Jump right in."
The one was Texas medicine,
The other was just railroad gin.
An' like a fool I mixed them
An' it strangled up my mind,
An' now people just get uglier
An' I have no sense of time.
Back to the stage in just a few minutes...
What I had planned to say before I was knocked off my feet was that Bob Gainey was doing a terrific job as GM of the Habs. Even before he questioned which language Noel Butler spoke.
Not to re-hash trade deadline day but you could see the Huet trade coming from a season away. No way Gainey was about to lock up seven figures for a back up. Au revoir Cristobal et merci. Where exactly is the playoff experience that Gainey's detractors keep poitning to? Six games for Huet, with four losses. Carey Price meantime...ah, you know his story by now.
Heres what you really need to know about Gainey and the Habs:
That's the roster of the Canadiens and Hamilton Bulldogs when Gainey began work in Montreal in May of 2003. Now check out the draft, in the seasons just prior to Gainey's arrival and-just as important-when Trevor Timmins replaced Pierre Dorion as chief scout:
Gainey also hired Guy Carbonneau. And-vital for a team that had to re-build-hired Doug Jarvis then Don Lever and Ron Wilson to coach in Hamilton.
Now anybody who looks back four seasons (five years including the lockout) and doesn't see significant progress is simply not paying attention. Or choosing to ignore the obvious.
What's even scarier for opponents is that in addition to being about "a year ahead of the curve" (according to Carbonneau) is that Gainey has positioned himself to strike dramatically in the off season. For example, if I'm the Florida Panthers and looking to trade Olli Jokinen (actually I would keep Jokinen and fire Jacques Martin), is there a better group of cheap, talented players than the ones held by Gainey? NHL ready, almost NHL ready and just drafted?
If patience is a virtue than Canadiens fans have themselves a virtuoso. So what if he didn't get Marian Hossa.
Now back to the show.........
Steve Earle and Allison Moorer played (almost) solo acoustic at Theatre Outremont last Saturday night. I love the place. I'm certain Earle does too after the old palace lost complete power about one third of the way through his set. After telling fans to settle down, Earle correctly pointed out that most old theatres have great acoustics, so he stepped to the front of the stage with no light or microphone and sang and strummedd two long beautiful songs including "Goodbye" which earned him a standing ovation. 10 minutes of a true troubadour.
Then came the power and the beats, courtesy of DJ Neil MacDonald which went over a lot better than I thought it would. It gave Earle the opportunity to play almost his entire new album-Washington Square Serenade-without a band.
Other highlights included Moorer's own set of female covers from her gorgeous new album "Mockingbird"...Earle shaking his head after his newest wife left the stage muttering "I am seriously over-married"....and dedicating a song he hasn't played in years "Little Rock 'N Roller" to his now 26 year old son Justin Townes Earle (also a recording artist) and his recently deceased dad. Yes Copperhead Road sent everybody home happy. Except one or two heard muttering about the fact that there was no band.
Sunday morning and I felt like I had been hammered all over my body as I slept. But Springsteen and the E Street band were back in town. And I had an early date with Little Steven.