Thursday, August 13, 2009

Scott Gomez

Setting His Place At The Table

The first news or interview of note to come out of RDS in a long while, and wouldn't you just know it, the headline deals with French language courses.

I don't want to dismiss the story, because it's actually a very good bit of news on many levels. They certainly clipped up all the interviews nicely. But should we be worried that no more than ten seconds into his interview, Gomez was asked the question: Do you speak French? Do have any connection with the French players? In this case it works out nicely because Gomez has a response in pocket, but will Spacek, Gill, Moen and Cammalleri have to ready themselves for this opening salvo?

I'm not going to question the situation anymore than that. In the end, it was a great question by the reporter because it gave Scott a great opportunity to talk about all the efforts he is making to come and be accepted in this town.

Speaking of which. Though it's been rather overshadowed by the quote and response to that, it must be noted that Scott Gomez was the only new member of the Canadiens to even attend this charity golf event in August. I think that on its own is worth applauding. Clearly Scott Gomez is committed and very excited for his new opportunity in Montreal. Moving to the city (almost as soon as the trade happened), making friends with the guys that are in town and just getting adjusted to life and the media here. It's encouraging to see his commitment. People have jokingly suggested he be made captain on the spot for his enrollment with a French language tutor, but you know what it's not so daft. Commitment to this team, so early, before anyone else – it's quite an example to set.

Maxim Lapierre golf tournament

Was anyone else surprised to see a golf tournament named for Maxim Lapierre? I haven't been keeping a tab on what the August charity golf event has been called year on year, but I do know that last year it was named for Guy Carbonneau.

I don't mean it as a slight to Max, who's clearly taking on a bigger role in the community here, but it certainly says a lot about how the lay of the land in Montreal has changed when they're naming their golf tournament fundraiser for a second-year fourth line player, doesn't it?

Incidentally, reports are that they made a very respectable sum on the day for their charity and exceeded expectation. The golden egg was apparently the chance to play hockey with Scott Gomez and his new best buddies Lapierre and Latendresse at the Habs facility in Brossard. The generous donor paid $18,000 for the privilege.

If I was paying $18,000 for a hockey game, I'd leave out NHLers for fear I'd never touch the puck. Though, I might leave in Latendresse to help my footspeed look a little better than it is...

Tanguay loses it

The other interesting interview to come out of RDS was the Alex Tanguay bit.

From the outset, Tanguay looked riled. Clearly his ego has taken a few massive hits this summer and he's put out about the whole situation.

Now, we don't know why Tanguay hasn't been signed anywhere or why no one floated him an offer ahead of Brian Gionta or even Hal Gill (with that money) in Montreal. There probably is a reason. I don't know if I've ever seen Tanguay so animated before, but one thing that was coming across to me today as I watched his interview was that he's one of those lucky people in this world who can go through life without anything ever being their own fault.

His sensitivity about treatment from the media is probably right on. I just feel that you get to this point of the summer without a contract, maybe some reflection on what you've done and what you may change in the future could be in order. Maybe he has been doing that – it just didn't come across that way.

I'll tell you what I remember vividly from the season though. Without ever for a moment considering that any player in the dressing room other than Kovalev and Koivu were organising people to stand against Carbonneau in February, i saw a Tanguay interview. It was after the firing of Guy, and I tell you something clicked for me then. It must have been what he said, or how he said it, but it immediately gelled that he was a guy who was not happy with Carbonneau.

This is what I wrote at the time:
We all spoke about communication, but yesterday was a revelation to me. Dandenault complained about communication. Begin complained. Carbonneau never spoke to Tanguay? The gist of what the reporters were saying was that almost to a man, every Canadien was dissatisfied with how their coach treated them.

Tnaguay's a very good player. I'd suggest he calm himself down and let the past transgresisons of the past fade away. Whether rightly or wrongly he may saddle himself with the label of bad attitude if he's not careful.

Where's Georges Laraque?

Conspicuous in his absence from the Maxim Lapierre event was BGL. To a man, every other French Canadian player from the Habs last season was at the event. That included Lapierre and Latendresse, of course, a jilted Tanguay and cast-offs Bouillon, Dandenault and Brisebois.

Of the latter 2 groups, Tanguay, Bouillon and Dandenault had every reason not to be there, if you ask me. Voluntarily putting yourself out to face the media after the July they've had would be like having dinner with your ex's parents the weekend she dumped you for another guy. They've all been shown up to one degree or another, yet all trot up because they've made a commitment and because a good cause trumps even avoiding humiliation.

But Laraque? He's still on the Canadiens. He lives in the Montreal area. He says he cares about charity work. Where was he?

Maybe he wasn't invited. Maybe he turned it down. Maybe he had prior commitments. Who knows? Just strange that's all.

Anyway, whatever it is, it gives me a good segue to a recommendation for an article for all of you from The H Does Not Stand For Habs about "The 260 Pound Elephant in the Room". From earlier in the week, it's a brilliant article on Laraque and the exchanges JT has had with him. Read it if you have 5 minutes.

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