Bob Gainey is not the worst thing ever…

Montreal is on the bubble for a playoff spot and everyone is pretty certain that they won’t get it. A lot of people are blaming Bob Gainey. I’m not sure why this is, because it’s not like he’s the one on the ice taking bad penalties. I’m pretty sure it’s also not him having trouble keeping the puck out of the net. Let’s just settle down a bit here. You’d think he were in a secluded castle being stalked by angry villagers with pitchforks and torches. Let’s just review some of what he’s done so we can see how ridiculous this is.
I know it’s very much part of being a Habs fan that people dump on the team. But I can’t help but find it incredibly hypocritical that people are blaming Bob Gainey for moves they applauded when they originally happened.

Remember last summer when everyone said “we need to get rid of RIBEIRO!!” Well, Bob Gainey got rid of Ribeiro. And now you’re all sore that he’s having a pretty good season with Dallas. Guess what? Dallas isn’t Montreal. It’s not a team with the same players. If we still had Ribeiro I would say it’s a pretty safe bet that he would still be playing poorly, and you’d be complaining that Gainey never got rid of him. Oh yeah, and Niinimaa. I know he’s not great… but when you have a player who was as disliked in his conference (after his playoff dive and general douchebaggery) as Ribeiro was, not to mention his lackluster season, you’re not going to get a lot for him (certainly not Marleau, who many of you thought was some sort of fantasy possibility). Getting contingency D was pretty good on Gainey’s part. And who knows, maybe Niinimaa could have been better here. Who knows?

Oh hey, remember that Theodore guy we hated so much. That lame duck with the giant salary. Well Bob got rid of him for Aebischer. Say what you want about Aebischer, but he’s actually a good goaltender. He may not be playing well right now, but he certainly has this season. Oh, and that Huet fella we all love so much, that was Gainey’s doing too. Try to tell me Garon was better. It could be a lot worse, you know. We could have Esche and Nittimaki. Oh, and Bonk, who has flourished as a defensive forward being coached by some of the NHL’s all time best defensive forwards. I know he’s not scoring 400 goals a game like everyone expects every player on Montreal to do, but he and Johnson are the linchpin of this team.

Most importantly, people are going absolutely insane over Gainey not making a move on the deadline. He got Leighton, but that’s because Yann Danis is injured in Hamilton and he needs extra protection just in case anything, god forbid, happens to Aebischer or Halak. People go crazy saying that Halak is too young and you can’t trust a young goalie going into the playoffs. I’d remind those people that Cam Ward won the Conn Smythe last year. He was 23, and a rookie. That’s young for a goalie. Halak is the same age this year. So you can pretty much just discount that argument right now.

Furthermore, this Souray business is ridiculous. In the post (possibly below this one) that complains about moves Gainey has made, the fellow argues that Gainey kept Souray and he’s going to walk this year and we won’t get anything for him. Then he complains that we lost Rivet (for, realistically, something similar to what we might have gotten for Souray) and that we needed Rivet’s leadership. Let’s think about this for a minute. Sell Souray, the only person on our team who consistently gets points while we’re trying to get a playoff spot, who is one of the teams most important leaders. Keep Rivet, who does not score, who might be a better defensive defenseman, who is also a leader. We have defensive defensemen. They might not be as good as Rivet, but we certainly can’t replace the points Souray has.

Also, can someone give me some proof that we’re not signing Souray in the offseason? I just want to know where he declared he wasn’t coming back… or where the organization said they were letting him go. A number of you seem so certain he isn’t returning but I can’t tell if it’s because you know something I don’t, or because you’re so unbelievably down on your team and rife with pessimism that you automatically assume that the worst things that can happen to your team will. Why don’t we wait until the offseason and see what happens before we cry bloody murder?

The most important thing to remember here is that this team is rebuilding. Bob Gainey is not an idiot. He is NOT going to let players go for nothing, and he’s especially NOT going to trade away our future in order to just make the playoffs and go out in the first round. The whole point here, is that Bob Gainey is not reactionary like fans are. He doesn’t constantly push the panic button when the team loses a game. He knows that you build a team over years. You don’t fashion a championship team as a fluke. You build within your organization. Look at Buffalo. They didn’t just trade their way into being a dominant force. A lot of those guys were brought up through the Buffalo organization with good scouting and good coaching, not knee-jerk reactions to moves made that didn’t pan out.

As so many people have said on the post below: Hindsight is 20-20. It’s easy to say, now, that Samsonov was a poor decision. But Gainey didn’t know he’d have a bad season. I’m sure if Gainey had your crystal ball, he’d have not made the deal. But wait, you didn’t have a crystal ball either! Because a lot of Habs fans loved the idea of Samsonov coming to Montreal. I know I did! I thought he’d be a perfect fit. And he wasn’t. So what? You surely cannot blame a man for not reading the future. He’s not superhuman, you know. He doesn’t have superpowers. He cannot bend space and time like I guess so many other Habs fans can. I don’t know if you were expecting him to build a championship team in like 2 seasons or what. I wish there was some sort of realistic simulation where you could be the GM of an NHL franchise for a year so that people could understand that it’s not something that’s easy. People won’t just sign with your team because you think they’re good players. And you won’t always sign people who play well.

That said, why don’t we wait a few more years before we decide whether or not Bob Gainey was a good GM. Too many people are judging him before he’s even made a real impact. As far as I’m concerned, that impact has been good. I have a lot more faith in him leading the team than I would any reactionary and insane habs fan. We’d have traded 90% of our team for old guys by now if that was the case.

Thanks for reading… and settle the ***** down.