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Sports Brownstein: Montreal Canadiens brand takes seismic blast

08:01  28 july  2021
08:01  28 july  2021 Source:   montrealgazette.com

Stu Cowan: Unflappable Ducharme reaps reward for Canadiens' Cup run

  Stu Cowan: Unflappable Ducharme reaps reward for Canadiens' Cup run Calm, cool and confident. Those are the three things that impressed me the most about Dominique Ducharme from the first day he took over as interim head coach of the Canadiens on Feb. 25, replacing Claude Julien when the team had a 9-5-4 record. Associate coach Kirk Muller was fired at the same time. “If I had written a script, maybe it would have been different today,” Ducharme said during his first video conference with the media after getting the job. “But I’m losing two colleagues and two great people. Claude is a great man and I got to know Kirk. To see them leave, obviously, it’s a mixed feeling. Yes, I’m proud to be here. It was a long road for me.

One-time Montreal Gazette sports columnist Michael Farber put it best years ago with this analogy: “Only two institutions in Western civilization truly grasp ceremony: the House of Windsor and the Montreal Canadiens.”

a group of people posing for the camera: The Canadiens united the city with their run to the Stanley Cup final, but threw away that good will by drafting a player who admitted to sharing an intimate photo of a woman without her consent. © Provided by The Gazette The Canadiens united the city with their run to the Stanley Cup final, but threw away that good will by drafting a player who admitted to sharing an intimate photo of a woman without her consent.

Times change — on both sides of the pond.

But by ceremony on this side, Farber was referencing truly top-tier events, with polish and panache and all available state-of-the-art tech, at the old Forum and Bell Centre to mark anniversaries, jersey and player retirements and feats of glory — like winning Stanley Cups. The team would then trot out a Who’s Who of Habs icons on to the ice to help celebrate and leave fans of Les Glorieux in a frenzied state.

Kent Nagano still holds Montreal — and the Habs — close to his heart

  Kent Nagano still holds Montreal — and the Habs — close to his heart We must not underestimate the reach of Les Glorieux. Still, it is a fair bet that few members of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, on tour in Italy, set their alarms for 1 a.m. to watch the National Hockey League playoffs in real time. Not like their conductor, Kent Nagano. “The most important thing is that the Canadiens made it to the finals,” the inveterate lover of all things Montreal — including, most certainly, the symphony orchestra named after the city — said this week from a downtown hotel. “OK, they didn’t bring back the Stanley Cup. But to see them fighting their hearts out, I think that was really a moving moment.

Ceremony also implied class of the highest order, and few professional sports teams have been as synonymous with class as the Canadiens have. It was all about image for this organization.

The Habs would somehow manage to bring the city together through economic, political and social tensions. Regardless of rampant societal divisions, a Stanley Cup here trumped nearly everything.

Up until a week ago, there had been massive frenzy surrounding the team as it made a Cinderella-like run to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 28 years. Even in losing in the end to Tampa Bay Lightning, all seemed to be good again in our worlds after we had undergone a sort of hell dealing with COVID-19 and being largely cloistered for more than a year.

Stu Cowan: Canadiens can move forward with Carey Price and Jake Allen

  Stu Cowan: Canadiens can move forward with Carey Price and Jake Allen Cale Fleury will have a fun story to tell his kids and grandkids in the future about how he was selected over Carey Price at the 2021 NHL expansion draft. There was a lot of excitement and anticipation the day before the expansion draft that officially started at 8 p.m. Wednesday, but the names of players selected by Seattle started to be leaked by hockey insiders shortly after the 10 a.m. deadline for the Kraken to submit their list to the NHL. Shortly after TV coverage of the draft began it was made official the Kraken had taken Fleury, a 22-year-old defenceman who spent this season with the AHL’s Laval Rocket, and not Price, who was also left unprotected by the Canadiens.

Yeah, it’s only a bloody game, but our collective spirits were lifted to an exalted station once more.

There is now more massive frenzy surrounding the team. But not the kind the brass is currently experiencing and should certainly have seen coming in this day and age.

Could this be hitting the same Montreal Canadiens, once so squeaky clean about its brand? In days gone by, if there was even the slightest whiff of controversy regarding a player’s off-ice improprieties, be they sexual or lifestyle, they would be shipped out of town faster than you could say “Boom Boom Geoffrion”. Even flipping a middle digit to a photographer — hello Guy Carbonneau — could have trade consequences.

And these were in the days prior to the #MeToo movement, when social media was in an embryonic stage.


Video: Trudeau 'deeply disappointed' by Habs' draft pick Logan Mailloux (The Canadian Press)

According to the Mensas behind the Oxford Languages group, a brain fart is defined as “a temporary mental lapse or failure to reason correctly.”

Canadiens will open 2021-22 season on Oct. 13 against Leafs in Toronto

  Canadiens will open 2021-22 season on Oct. 13 against Leafs in Toronto The NHL released its 2021-22 schedule on Thursday evening and the Canadiens will open with a two-game road trip to Toronto and Buffalo. The Canadiens will start the season on Wednesday, Oct. 13 against the Maple Leafs and then play the Sabres the next night. The Canadiens’ home opener at the Bell Centre will be on Saturday, Oct. 16, against the New York Rangers. That will be the start of a four-game home stand and then a four-game West Coast road trip including its first game against the expansion Seattle Kraken on Oct. 26. The Kraken will play their first ever game at the Bell Centre on March 12. The schedule includes two five-game road trips — Jan. 17-24 and Feb.

That would seem to sum up perfectly the lapse in thinking that went into the daft and irresponsible decision to make 18-year-old defenceman Logan Mailloux the team’s first-round pick and 31st overall in last week’s NHL draft .

By now, much of the Western world is aware that Mailloux had been charged in Sweden with defamation and offensive photography and was fined over $2,000 after secretly taking a photo of an 18-year-old woman with whom he was having sex last year and sharing it along with her identity with his Swedish hockey teammates.

Even Mailloux asked not to be drafted into the NHL this year , citing — correctly — reasons of immaturity and lack of worthiness on his part. He claimed to be surprised when the Habs did draft him .

Mailloux has apologized for his actions and will be undergoing psychological counselling.

Regardless, all the good vibes built up by the team over the playoffs and its return to prominence appear to have come undone in this one bizarre, ill-conceived move. Condemnation of that move has come from all quarters, from the highest levels of government to women’s support groups to the street .

Four of Canadiens' nine picks at NHL Draft are from the QMJHL

  Four of Canadiens' nine picks at NHL Draft are from the QMJHL After selecting only two players from the QMJHL in the previous five NHL Drafts, the Canadiens picked four of them on Saturday. The Canadiens had nine picks overall at this year’s draft. The Canadiens picked Riley Kidney, a centre with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the second round; William Trudeau, a defenceman with the Charlottetown Islanders in the fourth round; Joshua Roy, a right-winger with the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the fifth round; and Xavier Simoneau, a centre with Charlottetown in the sixth round. “They fell into place,” Canadiens assistant GM Trevor Timmins said when asked why the team drafted so many players from the Quebec junior league.

Not to suggest Mailloux doesn’t deserve a chance to redeem himself, but not now. Not as the world has become so embroiled with cases of sexual assaults and malfeasance. As the NHL is dealing with horrific sexual assault allegations, going back to 2010, involving former Chicago Blackhawks video coach Bradley Aldrich and two unnamed players.

So what could Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin — who was with the Blackhawks in 2010, in charge of player personnel — and head of scouting Trevor Timmins have possibly been thinking?

And what about Geoff Molson, who had to have been privy to the decision? Molson, with all his brewery dynasty insights, surely knows about the vicissitudes of branding and marketing as it can impact sales. Nor can he be amused to hear that team advertisers like St-Hubert BBQ might now have second thoughts about being associated with the team.

The Habs have one colossal public relations nightmare on their hands — and other body parts. And getting from under it could be as daunting as anything the team has ever faced, on or off the ice.

bbrownstein@postmedia.com

twitter.com/billbrownstein

Related

Canadiens owner Geoff Molson finally addresses Mailloux draft pick .
It took five days, but Canadiens owner/president Geoff Molson finally came forward Wednesday and addressed his team’s decision to select Logan Mailloux in the first round of the NHL Draft last Friday. The 18-year-old defenceman had released a statement last Tuesday saying he had renounced himself from the draft, adding he hadn’t earned and didn’t deserve the privilege of being selected after secretly photographing an 18-year-old woman engaged in a sexual act with him while in Sweden last year and sharing the picture and her identity with his SK Lejon teammates. Mailloux was charged with defamation and offensive photography and was fined approximately US$1,650.

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