Not really surprised about that. Some elements of the press have never been happy with the idea of a European captain from day 1.
Reading Dave Stubbs article on the topic, I was surprised to see this:
The issue of tongue at Koivu's locker might be a rug less beaten this season, with five or more francophone voices in the dressing room - Laraque and Alex Tanguay joining Steve Bégin, Guillaume Latendresse, Mathieu Dandenault and possibly Patrice Brisebois.
My first shock was that Dave (who has the luxury of being paid to cover one hockey team with 23 players) completely forgot Maxim Lapierre and Francis Bouillon in his list of "five or more" francophone voices in the locker room. Incidentally, it will actually be less French speaking players than last year where the same 3 players he managed to recall, plus Lapierre and Bouillon, were joined by Streit, Huet and Brisebois. So his theory on numbers deflecting attention form Koivu is hole-ridden from the start. Mind you, Georges Laraque is one talkative guy.
A second shock is seeing Brisebois' name come up in his list. This marks the second time in as many days that I have come across this insidious little rumour. And just because it's being mentioned more and more off the cuff doesn't mean I will accept it gracefully.
While Brisebois is a better 6th defenseman than powerplay quarterback and highest-paid player, he is still mostly useless. When he's not making mistakes, he is what I would call serviceable, but when he is, he is a detriment to the team. Before you think I would pay Brisebois a compliment by calling him serviceable, I should clarify that any player who can play a game and not make mistakes is serviceable (anyone). That is the point really, if serviceable is all they're after, the extra defenceman could be almost anyone.
But why should the Canadiens place their bets on serviceable at best?
For the extra D, why not serviceable rookie who might benefit from the experience? Or, former offensive star who shines only once in a while, but is dependable the rest of the time (Hamrlik, anyone?). I, for one, would be happy with giving Shawn belle a try. Maybe even Mathieu Carle or Valentenko. That is for the 6th position.
And then there's the issue of replacing Streit – a key to puck possession and zone maintenance on the PP, and essentially our 4th defenceman last year before the emergence of Gorges. We all know this is asking far too much of Patrice. He's audtitioned for this position for most of the last decade and a half and never convinced anyone. From within, there is no new Streit. Gorges could do more, but he isn't quick enough to turn around the PP like Streit did. The rookies on the farm are not ready. Maybe an addition here rather than bringing in our old friend Patrice to save money for Liverpool FC's next transfer kitty.
So, good luck to Saku for another season of inane questioning form people out to get him. Good luck to Lapierre and Bouillon on making more of an impression on the people who are paid to watch them. And, here's to hope for the next three weeks that the Canadiens' final contracts of summer 2008 will be more judicious than summer 2007.
Maybe I'm overreacting, is anyone else worried about this Brisebois rumour floating around?