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.

21 Responses to Bob Gainey is not the worst thing ever…

  1. sheam316 says:

    I agree dude. People should remember that when gainey took over he said His plan is for 4-5 years down the road. So far its been his second year and people are expecting moronic trades for rental players to maybe get a 2nd round elimination in the playoffs. Who knows if NYI make the playoffs. even with smyth. Owners are too worried about 08-09 to sell everything now and try to win a cup. Anyone that thought gainey would sell the team are obvisously stupid. I think its because of all the rumors that people are sore about gainey. expecting something so long.
    Also people tend to forget whenever people expect us to do something like miss playoffs, or get eliminated from the playoffs we usually come threw. examples againist boston both years. and another examples againist tampa in 04. People thought we would woop ass and go to the 3rd round. I'd rather have the media againist the habs then with them.

    P.S. Abby may have played horrible in the 3rd but he still got the win. Save all the aawesome games when we need it, as long as we win.and againist the Rangers. The offense lost that game, NOT HALAK. He did his job.

  2. habs_forever says:

    Nobody is saying that Gainey is the worst ever but we as fans have every right to question his MANY questionable decisions he has made so far.  You do bring up some valid points but I don't think you are looking at the overall picture. 

    You mentioned Ribeiro first.  Well, I was not his biggest fan but this guy was our leading goal scorer and one of the most gifted offensively on the team.  The problem is that people are not crying that he is gone, it's what we got in return which was a total joke.  Especially since Niinima has not played most of the games and costs a lot.

    Next up is Theo. Again, not a bad move getting rid of him and his contract but then you need to ask yourself…who signed him to that nice big contract?  That's right…it was Gainey.  So while the trade was good, Gainey was repairing his initial mistake of giving Theo all that money.  I will cut Gainey a little slack on this one though since he was under immense pressure to sign him from the media and fans.  You can say what you want about Huet but there is no doubt in most peoples minds that Gainey got very lucky with him…again though I will give Gainey some points on that one since luck counts for something.

    Next up is Souray.  This is a big test for Gainey.  He made the commitment to not trade a guy who's value will probably never be close to what it was at the deadline.  The question is, will he be able to sign him this summer.  If he does, most people will be content as long as Markov is signed as well.  If he doesn't, people will call for his head.  Personally, I am not a big Souray fan.  Sure, he is great on the PP but a "defenceman" with 53 points and a nice juicy -15 is pretty sad if you ask me.  Either way, I can see Gainey overpaying to keep him but again, time will tell on this one.

    As far as Samsonov is concerned, when the trade was announced, I wasn't very happy seeing as it was more of what we already had.  His salary was also quite high.  Crystal ball or not, this is Gainey's job.  He is paid to make the right choices and while I do expect occasional mistakes, I also expect good decisions more often than not.  Unforntunately, for Gainey, the situation is the opposite in my opinion.

    You said that Montreal is a team rebuilding and I of course agree with that.  The problem that many people have noted and I see as well is that generally, a rebuilding team will get better and better every year, something that I do not see happening with the Habs.

  3. Komic-J says:


    Gainey traded Ribeiro because he was a cancer in the lockeroom. And I don’t think you can find a soul in Montreal who disagree with the idea of trading Ribeiro, no matter how good he is in Dallas this season. But the thing is…if you’re moving our second centerman, a position we were already weak at, you have to make sure you’re getting a player who will fit in our team, and fill one of our holes. We had a hole on defense because injuries. Then, all you need is a seventh defenseman, who can play for a couple of weeks…you don’t need to trade Ribeiro for that. And even if you do, at least, don’t bring in even more salaries. There were rumors that Dallas were about to waive him anyway.

    The same thing can be said about the deal that sent Theodore to Colorado. Who’s complaining about that ? Nobody ! However…when you’re trading someone like Theodore, you have to get something in return that will actually help the team. And at that time, we didn’t need a goaltender. Was Theodore overpaid ? Of course he was, big time. But the general feeling back then was that Theodore only needed a change of scenery. Was Colorado the only destination for him ? And Aebischer the only player available in return ?

    The thing that pisses a lot of fans about these trades is that Bob Gainey traded two players who, at one point, were the leading scorer of the team, and our number one goaltender…and that a year and a half later, we’ll have nothing to show for it. That’s not good…

    Now, the Souray part…

    Trading Rivet was a good decision, and what Gainey got in return is actually pretty good. However, after reading Burke’s diary, I wonder if Gainey made sure he was getting the best deal. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe we won that trade hands down…but Burke’s reaction when he learned that Rivet was traded to San Jose makes me think that maybe he would’ve been ready to, at least, place a bid…maybe not, we’ll never know. But Gainey had to at least try, which he didn’t.

    Gainey lost a lot of fans when he decided not to deal Souray. Let’s put aside the fact that his ex-wife and his daughter are now living in LA…let’s forget about the fact that he never clearly said he would like to be back in Montreal next season, eventough he’s been asked the question by the media like a gazillion times…let’s forget the comments he made when Rivet got traded to San Jose. Right now, he’s rumored to be looking for a $5.0m deal, which a lot of fans think is way too much for defenseman who can surely score on the Power Play, but is also not very reliable on defense. And he’s gonna get it…from Montreal or another team. But now that Gainey decided not to deal him, he has no choice but to sign him.

    Why ?!? Because not trading Souray is sending a message to the fans that he is not only important for today, he is important for tomorrow. Especially with the pricetag attached to upcoming UFA’s this season at the deadline. There’s no way Gainey can send that message to the fans, and then let him walk away; how could he go from being “indispensable” to “expendable” in a few weeks ?

    Personally, and I think I’m not alone on this one, I don’t care about making the playoffs this season. In fact, I even care about making the playoffs next year. I’m just tired to see the Canadiens fighting for a playoffs spot each and every year. I don’t care if you have to fire every player, and build from scratch. But at least, do it right this time ! Stop bringing in some B-Level players, and get a vision !

    You’re right, there’s no way Gainey could have known how much of a bust Samsonov would turn out to be. But…we didn’t need Samsonov in the first place. We didn’t need another small forward…we didn’t need another winger. We had Zednik and Bulis, and traded them…and we have a bunch of players on the team and in the minors who are in the same mold (Perezhogin, Kostitsyn, Plekanec, Grabovsky).

    All I’m saying, and what a lot of fans are saying, is…we need a plan, and we need to stick to it. You wanna build for the future, which I agree with, then do whatever it takes to make sure we’ll have a great team in the future. Unfortunately, dealing Souray at the deadline would’ve been the first step.

  4. Komic-J says:

    Sorry, this is not at all how I wrote it…

  5. robinson19 says:

    One thing that's funny is all the people who want Gainey's head on a platter keep trotting out the old Newendyk for Iginla trade.

    Thing is, who won the cup, the Stars or the Flames? The Stars! So even if now it looks like a weird trade, it was the right one.

  6. Roadrunner12 says:

    I believe that Gainey's strength is that he is very patient but sometimes that can backfire. 

    Ironically he was not that patient when he dealt Ribeiro and I still stand by my comment that it was a very poor trade.  I never had a problem dealing him but lets face it, we are paying 2.5 million for a guy sitting in the press box. 

    He made a nice move getting rid of Theodore but once again who was the one that signed him to the big contract?  Bob!

    I believe Johnson has been as asset to the team this year, but Bonk deserves all the abuse he gets.  2.4 million to check?! He was horrible last year and now that he will be unrestricted has turned it around somewhat, go figure.

    As for trades at the deadline, I'm not surprised or really disappointed that none happened.  I would not give up prospects or picks or rental players, especially since this team is not a threat to win the cup.

    I hope we try and re-sign Souray but I wouldn't pay him crazy money.  I hope I eat my words but I don't see hime re-signing in Montreal.

    I like Bob Gainey but he has yet to impress me with what he has done in Montreal.  His tenure is still early and my verdict is still out on him.  I hope that he has a plan in place for the offseason and the near future.

    The last time we have had something to cheer about was in 93 and lets face it, it as a bit of a Cinderella story.  Since then we have not been much of a threat, missing the playoffs 5 times, being knocked out in the first round 4 times and 3 times in the second.

    I don't know how muck longer I will be able to remain settled down.

    Lets keep our fingers crossed.

  7. cristowall39 says:

    i like bob gainey he is an amazing gm hes won a cup as a gm but one thing he hasnt done is bring a star to montreal. no offense to him but the only thing hes done is sign players to big contracts and than the next season trade them. if u look at the habs the first two lines are basically the same. small scorers. no big players. no playmakers. no people that play with grit. i think gainey should get a player like guerin and smyth. big players that can score, put some trafic infront and play with a lot of leadership. and i think he can afford to sign both of them if smyth goe for 5.5 and guerin 2mil. 7.5 mil on them and we can actually be a better team.


    (m)kositsyn, Grabovski, chipchura




    (m) price

  8. Komic-J says:

    One thing I don't get…

    Is there anyone really angry at Bob for not being a buyer ?!? Seems like everyone I'm talking to is kinda disapointed…that we weren't sellers at the deadline.

    I think we all agree that keeping our young players and draft picks was the good decision here. That trading our young assets or part of the future wasn't an option at this point. I don't think any of us wanted to package a Higgins or a Latendresse to get a Guerin or a Smyth.

    The only reason why Gainey is takin' a lot of heat right now is for his decision not to deal Souray, which could have helped the club to get back on track in a couple of years. I think that's the real debate here.

  9. wingsfan13 says:

    wow, not only is samsonov a big waste but so is kovalev, he is horrible for a 4 million dollar player.

  10. rojoke says:

    When was Ribeiro ever the team's leading goal scorer?  He had one 20-goal season.  Ryder had 25 that season, 2003-04.  The following year he had 16, sixth on the team.

    Next up is Theo.  Gainey didn't sign Theo to that contract, Andre Savard did, in the summer of 2002.  Gainey came aboard the following summer.  And who would have thought that Theo would win both the Vezina AND the Hart that season?  What the hell was he supposed to do, let him sit out a season?  He would have been strung up to the rafters next to a Stanley Cup banner.

  11. RealisticNick says:

    What do you mean at that time we didn't need a goalie?  Huet was on the first hot streak of his career and you are going to have Yann Danis who has played about 3 NHL games lifetime as the Back-up?

    How was trading Souray going to be the first step?  Having a player that wants to be in the city and is the #2 scorer on our team, why is he so important?  How about even when he doesn't score on the powerplay other players have more room because they play one man high, it turns into a 4 on 3 which opens up quite a bit of space.  We already have a system stocked full of prospects, hell we are ranked 6th in the NHL in that, why do we need 3 late first round picks?  Can likely get the same players in the 2nd round this year.  So bob is building for the future, have you followed the bulldogs?  I know I have and they are a very good team and most are 23 years old or younger.  Why not keep the team together and allow them to continue on the path they are now, why do we need to sell constantly for this to happen?  Right now it is possible for the team to stay intact and finish rebuilding at the same time.  This is why Bob is th GM and not all of these armchair GM's, did you build a championship team in Dallas?  No I didn't think so.  Let the man do his job, if you think he's that bad go be a Leafs fan, JFJ will give you something to complain about.

  12. RealisticNick says:

    So you are not going to sign your #1 goalie who won the Vezina?  You make it seem like it was his fault, Jose was a good goalie right up until after the lockout. 

  13. Komic-J says:

    The only reason why Gainey could even afford to trade Theodore in the first place was because he had faith in Huet, no matter if it was his first hot streak or not. There's no way in hell he could have done that move if it wasn't the case.

    By not trading Souray, he just gave him the cards for his future negociation. Gainey just told all the fans that Souray is important for the team, not only now, but in the future. And there's no way he can let him walk away for nothing now. Which means, Souray can ask now for a big paycheck…Gainey just handcuffed himself.

    Yeah, he has 20+ powerplay goals…and yeah, he gives a lot of room to the otehr players on the ice. And I'm the first one to cheer when he does it. But for everything he brings to the team, there are some downsides. And signing him, mid or long term, to a very lucrative contract would be a waste of money in my book. The chances that Souray puts the same kind of numbers next year, and the year after that, are somewhat slim…and eventually, he'll just become another one of those "non-tradable" player, which we'll let go for, yet, another player that we don't need.

    I didn't build a championship team in Dallas…Bob Gainey did. However, he didn't do it in Montreal yet…so until he does, I feel it is my right to question his vision.

    …because any fans that care should do it when the team doesn't progress after 4 years !

  14. RealisticNick says:

    Why would his production go down?  It was good last year and went up this year, why would it not continue or go up more?  He traded Jose because Huet was hot and he was getting a similar goalie yet cheaper to be the back-up, if he did not get abby in that deal he leaves himself wide open to be without a starter if Huet falters or is injured, I.e right now, what if that would have happened then?

  15. Komic-J says:

    Believe me…if Souray posts the same kind of numbers next season, I'll be the first one to admit that I was wrong. But that's not the point anyway.

    I just think Gainey gambled a lot by not trading him at the deadline. Not only because we don't know if he wants to stay with the team, but also because we have no idea what kind of money we can afford to spend on someone like him. Sure, he has 23 goals and creates a lot of room on the ice for the other players on the Power Play…but personally, I'm not ready to spend five millions for that. I just think it would have been a better idea to deal him, and keep on building the team, focussing on the 08-09 campaign.

    True, we have a lot of good young talent on the team, and in the minors. But we're still missing that franchise player. I'm not saying we could have gotten that kind of player in return of Souray alone, but let's say Gainey finds a wa to acquire another decent prospect and another first round pick. That's three first rounders…which could maybe be dealt for a first pick overall…which could give us a franchise-type of player.

    Then again, that's my opinion, you don't have to agree with it. You're saying Souray is too valuable to the team to be traded, hell Gainey thinks that too. And I'm okay with being "wrong" here. But Gainey better sign Souray this summer, cause if he don't, then he clearly missed a chance to help the team. Buyers were giving a lot this year, especially for defensemen…and if we end up losing Souray for nothing, then I'll blame Gainey.

    The other point I was trying to make regarding Souray is that Gainey just gave him all the cards for his contract negociation. He made a commitment, and Souray and his new agent Don Meehan will surely take advantage of that. Gainey knows he'll look pretty bad if Souray leaves as a free agent…and Souray and Meehan know it too. And knowing Meehan, he will go for the big bucks, and won't sign a deal unless he gets the money he wants…ask Kevin Lowe !

    Now, the Theodore part.

    It's always good to have a proven back-up…but at that time, and still today, the Canadiens had other needs. Having two potential starters is a luxury that the Canadiens just couldn't afford, not with the holes they have in the lineup. I mean before even looking at backup players, you have to look at your starters.

    I don't know if you're a football fan, but it's the best way I can explain it. It would be like the Falcons trading one of their starter on defense for a quarterback…when they still have Matt Schaub in the line-up, waiting for some playing time. It just wouldn't make sense.

    When it became quite clear that Theodore wasn't our number one, and that he was going to be shipped somewhere else, everybody thought that Danis would be brought up and finally get a shot at being the number two. And it would have been just fine…Aebischer played 7 games for Montreal that season. The Canadiens had their number one in Huet, they just didn't need Aebischer…well, at least not as much as a right-handed center or a big winger.

    The bottom line is that we traded our former number one, who a lot of people thought only needed a change of scenery to be back in shape, and a playmaking center, which we are kinda lacking of right now…and a year and half later, we'll have nothing to show up for these trades. I'm not blaming Gainey for moving these two…but I'm blaming him for not getting any players the Canadiens needed (and still need) in return…no matter how overpaid, or how much of a cancer they were in the lockeroom, when you trade a former Vezina and Hart winner, and the former leading scorer of your team, you have to at least get something that will help your team. And Aebischer and Niinimaa aren't helping, and never will.

  16. RealisticNick says:

    Ok, I do like how you responded with a legitimate answer instead of just name calling like most on the site, good debate.  I just think Souray also gave Gainey some leverage when he claimed he has "unfinished" business in Montreal.

  17. habsoverserver says:

    Stop praising Gainey for trading guys that HE signed to contracts.  Gainey has handed out more albotross contracts than almost any other GM.  Gainey signed Ribiero then traded him. Same with Theodore.  If you want to make Gainey king of the do-overs be my guest. 

    You notice he's paying 4.5 and 4.75 to Kovalev and Koivu while Smyth who is an a different league from them will get 5 to 5.5. 

    As far as wanting to dump Ribiero, I think very few intelligent fans thought that an offensively lacking team should trade its former team leading scorer for a $2.5 million healthy scratch.  With regard to Samsonov, fans like myself (and you can go check the HTR archives for my note on this)  noted that Samsonov and Johnson combined did not have more even strength goals last season than the guys they replaced.  It was pretty friggin obvious that without powerplay time, Samsonov would have an off year.  It was also painfully obvious from the very first practice that they had no linemates for him.

    I don't need a crystal ball, I just need to analyze the stats and watch the practices. 

  18. rojoke says:

    Savard signed Theodore.  Summer of 2002.  Gainey took the GM job in July 2003.

  19. habsoverserver says:

    Gainey resigned him to a 3 year contract on Sept. 2, 2005. 

  20. nychabfan says:

    Very well put, I totally agree with everything. Just might add that GM' ineptitude at the trade dead line will probably cost what could have been received for other pending UFA's as well. If Washington got a good return for Zubrus and Zednik, then Mtl would get something for Bonk,Johnson, Markov, Niinimaa etc. Nothing now, and they will probably walk away on July 1.   

  21. rojoke says:

    Which was $500k less than the deal Savard signed him to, after his Vezina/Hart wins.

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