Tuesday February 27th 9:30 PM
.....As I was saying....veteran players on the team, following the loss of Craig Rivet, with opponents above and below them all arming up for the stretch drive, and with nobody added to the mix, save for a 4th string goaltender, have to wonder if the front office has packed it in. So they followed that lead tonight in New York. A performance against a depleted Rangers team that has to go down as their worst effort of the year. Coincidence? No way San Jose Rivet. Don't blame the players for this one.
On the one hand they're told that Rivet was expendable (check comments from Souray, Koivu, Higgins and others who feel differently) but the younger defenseman they got in return can be a valuable NHL player. So where the heck is he while Steve Begin tries to play with a foot that's as mashed up as my late Bubby's potato pancakes, and Sergei Samsanov and Chris Higgins are going through more kleenex than a 12 year old Pamela Anderson wanna be?
I thought when he made the deal with San Jose on sunday that Bob Gainey was loading up for another move. It would be nice to know if he came close. The fact that he refused to talk today, while the NHL sells the day as a marketing tool (in Canada anyway) should result in a fine. Perhaps not Lindy Ruff fine territory but a fine nonetheless. Even simple "Yes" or "No" answers would at least tell part of the story.
So, if Gainey couldn't add to the mix, while everybody around him did, it's no surprise that the players responded as if they had been told their work for the season was meaningless. And of all the people around the Canadiens family, none more so than Gainey himself, along with Carbonneau and Muller, should know the ripple down effect of losing a valuable, popular leader at this time of the year. Craig Rivet never wore the 'C' but he was at the least a co-captain.
Maybe by Friday in Buffalo the players will channel their disappointment into anger. Gainey? Maybe by Friday he'll have something to say.