Hockey Crunch – By Jamie Gilcig – Kent Hughes Hiring Reflects on Quebecois Culture & Nordiques Expos Reality

January 23, 2022 – Kudos to Geoff Molson. The Jeff Gorton & Kent Hughes hires feel good. As someone that was the Habs first Analytics guy and video statographer back in the 90’s it’s great to see the team finally take some strong steps forward with a clear focus to winning.

As this scribbler has noted previously there is no cap on management. Hughes and Gorton should be a strong team.

Sadly though there is a too large minority of bigots, (yes bigots) that don’t consider Mr. Hughes a Quebecois.

As many from la belle province know, it really doesn’t matter to some if you actually speak French. If you’re name isn’t French you don’t count. I had a friend whose last name was Labelle. Couldn’t speak a word of French and joked about getting a job driving a forklift for le Journal. For too long the team has been hampered by linguistic political correctness. Of course the francophone majority utterly deserve to be communicated with in French. No questions. The team should focus on having French stars too.

This column though isn’t about the great strangeness that is Quebec politics.

This is a cross roads. There’s huge pressure on the Gorton/Hughes tandem to do well. If they fail the bigots will spout the ol canards about anglos not understanding Quebec. Some have already compared it to the old Fat Lady at Eaton’s.

Luckily not all have in the francophone world, because the one truth, and I write this as a born and bred Montrealer, is that the only thing that counts to real Hab fans is winning. And winning Lord Stanley’s Cup is what brings us all together. That’s the challenge for the Habs. Not making the playoffs, but the parade.

This season is a wash out, and with the draft in Montreal next season the team should have a pretty good pick.

There is a new design needed. The team really needs to get rid of Carey Price. For whatever reason he’s been the poster boy for failure for this squad. There is no rebuild if Price stays in Montreal. And as this writer wrote about a decade ago, Price was never a real Montreal goalie. Patrick Roy was. Jaro Halak was. Price…not so much. Talented yes, but not a real Hab goalie. I truly wish him the best wherever he lands up.

Same for Stumpy Gallagher. He needs a change. Hopefully he gets to go hang with Phil and Bergy in LA. His old bones deserve the warm waves and smog.

There are some great pieces for the Habs to move out. There are some good pieces to keep (that’s for another column).

But for today Geoff Molson is building a great new page in Hab history that I have a hunch will lead to a much stronger franchise.

As for Quebec; it needs to collectively make some real decisions. It’s silly language and cultural laws are costing it it’s youth, and leaving holes in things like healthcare. There will be no NHL team in Quebec City (and there should be) because the NHL doesn’t need the drama and grief. Neither does MLB, or the NBA.

Quebecers ultimately have to decide one day if they want to live in their own xenophobic bubble or move forward. It is their choice to make, but it’s a choice they have to make, and own, if they want to play with the neighbors that surround them.

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