Evolution is Selling Its Soul To The Devil

By JD Lagrange – The iconic Montreal Canadiens’ jersey, a symbol of purity, glory and history, has officially become an advertising billboard. Yes folks, we are one step closer to those atrocious European leagues’ jerseys. We predicted it would happen when the NHL used the lost revenues due to COVID to justify putting advertising on the helmets. And here we are…

For this traditionalist, a five decades proud fan of of this league, but mostly this team’s history, it is a sad, sad day. You see, I love the cleanliness of the NHL jerseys. They represent NHL hockey, the cities where those teams play. And I have always hated (I know, it’s a strong word) European jerseys only because of their multicoloured patches all over.

Oh but it’s only one logo, some say. They must keep up with the times, others claim. No. No they don’t have to. And like I’ve predicted when they flinched for the helmet publicities, they will have two sponsors in the near future… then three… and four… Why? Money.

Some claim that Gary Bettman has taken this league to another level, by increasing revenues. Yes, yes he has. But he has done so at the expense of the game itself. Over-expansion with expansion fees inflating league revenues has diluted the talent and forced incompetent referees to be promoted at a level too fast for them. That is just one example. This league will sell its soul to the devil for a buck, and it’s painful to see that Canadiens’ President Geoff Molson has accepted that, even encouraged it by folding to what he calls “evolution”.

But you see, how I feel doesn’t matter to this league. Those rule changes, the over-expansion, the rigged refereeing and “Players Safety” (yeah, right)… They do what they want as they know that fans are like sheep and will go along with whatever they do or say.

But not this guy. In fact, I make this promise: I will do anything in my power to never, ever buy any products from the sponsors on the Canadiens’ jerseys.

I can’t do it, you think? It will blow over, you say? Think again, as you don’t know this stubborn old man! The last time I made such promise was back in 2012, based on if Gary Bettman and the NHL went through yet another lockout. That’s when I swore not to buy any NHL products, including tickets to games, merchandise, NHL Center Ice, etc, for a period of five years. Guess what? I stood by my words. And I will do the same again on this. You want to look like clowns for a buck? Not at my expenses.

Now this is simply one man’s opinion. You may agree or disagree, there is no right or wrong. Just as I will respect your opinion on the topic, I’m hoping that you can do the same for mine. I’m expecting the fan base to be quite divided on this. Can we drop the puck already!

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Alternative Option to Jersey Retirement

By JD Lagrange – The debate on social media to know if Carey Price’s number should be retired or not is long, repetitive and, quite frankly, painful to read. But as we’ve already build what we consider a solid case for his to be raised to the rafters, we won’t get deeper into that. Instead, let’s focus on a related issue: no other players being able to wear the retired number.

When a player joins the Montreal Canadiens’ organization, he obviously can’t take any number that he wants. Young players are often assigned numbers to start. Veterans acquired in a trade or signing through free agency have to picks numbers that are not already assigned… unless they want to buy a Rolex to the player who has their favourite number, that is.

But in addition to that, That’s by far the most amongst NHL teams and it’s almost an entire team of numbers. Granted, it’s due to the Canadiens’ great history since being created in 1909, and a result of the 24 Stanley Cup banners also hanging in the rafters.

A different era

It’s time to get with the times. Back in the days, your odds of winning the Stanley Cup were much better than they are today… nowhere close. Here’s an example showing how much more difficult it is for a player like Carey Price to win the Stanley Cup, compared to Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy even.

Jacques Plante53-54 to 62-631060
Ken Dryden71-72 to 1978-79716.90
Patrick Roy85-86 to 94-951021.70
Carey Price07-08 to 21-221530.415

Let’s say that teams consist of 21 players, for arguments sake. It means that the correlation between number of teams raises the number of players in the league, and lowers the odds of winning. The same goes for winning a NHL Award. When there were six teams, you would have had less than 200 players in the NHL. Today, there is over 700, going from six teams to 32.

Also, the salary cap prevents teams from staying together longer, making it very difficult to have the success teams and players from the past to have comparable success.

New approach

Saku Koivu

Instead of retiring the numbers, teams should retire the player’s jersey. The difference? The jerseys (or banners) would still be hanging in the rafters of the Bell Centre as they are today. However, the number could be worn by another player.

The honour, the notoriety, the recognition for what the player has done would remain the exact same. But new players could choose to wear number 12 if they wish. But it would obviously not be Moore or Cournoyer’s #12.

Perhaps this way, fans might find it easier to justify recognizing what Saku Koivu or Carey Price have represented to this organization and to be honoured by the Montreal Canadiens, by having their banner being raised to the rafters. Then and only then, can we get with the times…

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