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04-19-2008, 05:23 PM
Stanley Foobrick
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Originally Posted by Blind Gardien View Post
I really can't understand that perspective, particularly coming as it does in the wake of last year's tremendous success. I don't think it can be under-emphasised that the AHL is a development league, and the interests of the development team MUST be subordinate to those of the big league team. But that being said, it should also be obvious that success of the development team is still an interest of the big league team. It may not be a "major one", but it's certainly one that I'm sure Bob Gainey would nevertheless invest some serious work in. I'm sure he's thrilled with the Calder Cup run and what that has meant to the development of the Habs prospects, and he would repeat that experience every year if he had the choice.

And in fact, Gainey _has_ put more than a fair amount of work outside of the developmental box into keeping the Dogs competitive IMHO. This year, probably not all of it worked out the way the team had hoped, that's all. Jamie Rivers ran off, Biron was hurt, Manlow and Baines are decent grinders but that's about it, Corso and Degon came in, the experiments with Lahti and Bouchard didn't really pan out, etc. The veteran presences were in evidence. It will be interesting (to me anyway) to see to what extent the Habs are able to convince the new class of former-but-now-nonprospects like Ferland, Locke, Milroy, Danis, Cote to stick around. Because to me, they certainly could help the team. Yet Montreal of course has no obligation to keep them around. And the players themselves may still harbour enough NHL aspiration to want to take a crack in another organization first. I'm not the least bit convinced that the Bulldogs could find better veterans than those on the open market.

And whether they do or don't find better veterans on the open market, I still think it's incumbent on the fan of an AHL team to understand that they're subordinate. That means some years the cupboard will be full up and you'll go on a run, other years might be something of an organizational transition year where more players go up to the NHL and fewer are coming in. It's not as predictably cyclical as, say, junior hockey, but it's still part of the package. And then whether a fan wants to invest in that package with their hard-earned money is of course up to them.

Hopefully if the Habs are an ascendant power in the NHL over the next few years, the Hamilton affiliation will manage to draw a bit of extra attention on that basis, rather than have to fight against it (or at least operate in spite of it) as they sometimes have had to in the past. And perhaps that will help sell the package to the public adequately, even with the development model and inherently subordinate role understood.
Missing the playoff 2 out of the last 3 have not been fun to watch. Even the year they did win Gainey decided that Price getting experience was more important than the AHL's, argueably, best goalie sticking around for the playoffs. Yes it worked but please don't tell me Gainey is a genius and knew Price would lead them to the championship, I'm not buying it.
Ask anyone in the Dogs front office from Glenn Stanford on down they were pissed when Halak was sent away and Price was brought in. But that old news.

There are several other reasons not to renew this season, as example, economy of this area, getting to busy, schedule (sometimes 3 games in 4 nights), same teams over and over, and lastly the refs.

It has gotten so freaken bad that I find myself getting frustrated watching these players have to deal with the inconsistent crap these guys call. If I'm getting frustrated as a fan, I can only imagine what the players must be going through. I really fear for the NHL in a few seasons, if you think the refs are bad now, wait till the NHL vets retire in the next few seasons, you're really gonna love the replacements.

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