Monday, March 09, 2009

Carbo Fired

GM's Late Act Smells Of Management

Guy Carbonneau has been let go from the Canadiens. This according to RDS.

I am stunned by the move really, as I think we all thought Carbonneau had escaped. I will go out on a limb here (with pure wild speculation) and propose that it could have something to do with one of three possible issues:

1) Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak


Carbonneau and Gainey are known to have disagreed about Halak and Price in the first place. Halak was finally playing, and then suddenly (boom) Golden Glove is back in. I don't know if it was the coach's decision (I'm guessing not) or the GM's. I suspect we will find out when the starter for the Edmonton game is announced. Is this enough for dismissal. If the rift has been going on ever since it started, and the GM is tired - then quite possibly, yes.

2) Alexei Kovalev
I say Kovalev because we all know he and Gainey had a heart to heart. It is known that Gainey respects Alex and vice versa. In my imaginary world, it is possible that a player of his stature would be listened to on matters of coaching and even strategy. After all, Alex has well over 1000 games experience as a player just as Carbo did. This could equally be Saku. Or Hamrlik. Or even Gainey's best friend Jarvis for that matter. Anyone or group. If you don't think so, ask Lou Lamoriello or the Devils core players who ousted Claude Julien for his total lack of tactical nous on the eve of the playoffs.

3) His communication in these or other cases
I think we all know this to be a factor. His handling of Kovalev was an embarassment. I can't imagine he's doing better with the goalies. Problems doon't suit him. Nor it seems do problem children. Gainey, on the other hand has tried to build a team and knows (from as recently as a week ago) that you can't overhaul a group of players quickly. Communication in sport is tantamount to success. Communication on the ice, communication off it. Communication outside of the job is a bonus, but one that pays big dividends too. Carbo stunk at communication.


What have we lost?
We've lost (for the second time) a heck of a man. A heck of a Canadien. Probably the best of those not in the rafters.

But, we haven't lost much of a coach. I've been lamenting his lack of imagination, his lack of adaptability, his lack of tactical awareness. He stumbles onto lines, but can't seem to predict or even recognise chemistry.

I say not much of a coach -- that is misleading. Carbonneau is qualified to coach 25 of the teams in the NHL, just like Michel Therrien and Claude Julien, but he has nothing in his coaching that would help put a team over the top, so to speak. No new ideas, just a re-tread of the trap. No new system for a pretty unique group of players assembled.

This was probably the end of Carbonneau. His press conferences lately were laughable, and a worthy precursor to dismissal. How can a serious coach be baffled by what happened on the ice? How can he declare that to a press corps that runs 10 stories on the same soundclip? It's not permissable. The coach must be analysing and planning for the next round. He never seemed to be willing or able to do just that.


If it ain't Price and it ain't Kovalev, I can smell the meddling from above here. Boivin? Possibly. Gillett? Maybe -- he's a known meddler from the Premiership. Management meddling in hockey is something we haven't seen in a while. It would be a promise broken from George. But broken promises are nothing to the man, ask Anfield supporters about that. Missing the playoffs not an option? Of course to us fans, we'd always say that. but then we'd say not winning the Cup is not an option. When a man in position to mandate that order says it, people get fired. Credit crunch, crushing debt, how does loss of $4 million easy money sound?


And Gainey?
Unless Gainey has been hiding something during all his other campaigns, I don't see that he is the tactical genius that will take us over the top either. I like to believe he'll at least try something more.

I suppose on that issue we will see.


Farewell Carbo. Will you be there for Breezer whose 1000th you staked your reputation?

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