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09-05-2008, 09:09 AM
  #1
Newhabfan
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Bob Gainey's secret weapon.....

This is something I was thinking about for a long time and I never read or heard about anything similar. I know I'll get insightfull comments here so here it is.

Have you wondered how come Markov and AKost signed contracts that were obviusly under their market value ? Home discount ? That hardly works with other teams in the league - and these guys are russian (and belorussian to be precise) not Montrealers. And let's not mention taxes...

Or why did Cristobal Huet and Michael Grabovski get traded for peanuts ? Many people saw the Huet trade as a GM failure, while in fact it was a stroke of genius - you will see later why.

Why Bob Gainey made so few trades involving roster/established players ? He always prefers offering picks and prospects.

Or why did the team backup 100% all of its players everytime they got attacked for one reason or another? O'Byrne's purse, Grabovski's plane, Kovalev's russian interview's, Koivu's french etc.

Or why did guys like Samsonov, Ryder and Grabovski get so many "second" chances ? To our exasperation?

The answer is simple - Bob Gainey is a nice guy and/or a brilliant psychologist. He knows (first hand) that unlike in NHL08, players are human beings that want to be treated as such.

Two weeks after the Huet trade I heard Pierre Boivin saying on CKAC "Cristobal did a lot for the Canadiens - We owed him this one". In other words, the Huet trade was done for Cristobal Huet's interest and not for the team (who got close to nothing in exchange). It was a "thank you" gesture - instead of keeping you as a second goalie behind Price and barely playing you for the rest of the season, we will put you in a position where you can actually earn a 1st goalie spot and raise your market value for the future contract. Seems it worked for him.

After the Grabovsky trade Gainey said (though it went unnoticed) that "Michael asked to be traded". And he was put in a team where he has a good chance of performing well. Like Mike Ribeiro, Theo and Rivet.

My interpretation of all this is that Gainey respects the players - he knows that what players hate the most is being treated as Pokemon cards (the reason for all the NTCs). He probably never trades an established player against his will. This explains a lot of "Gainey's inertia" at trade deadlines - the best trades are the one you do not do.

Even the failed Hossa trade gets another meaning now - Gainey could have got it by addng some 3rd-4th liner to the initial deal but the message he sent to his team by refusing to do that was "we respect you and we won't trade you like pieces of meat, even for someone like Hossa". A winner in the long run.

The real value of the Huet trade is seen in the Akost signing. And in the future signings (with important home discounts) of Komisarek, Higgins, Plekanec and others.

What looked like a failure at some moments from him as a GM was in fact a master move. When you join the Montreal Canadiens you do not need an NTC clause - you get a (verbal) one by default.

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09-05-2008, 09:17 AM
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I was surprised by Andrei Kost.'s contract but I don't believe Markov's contract was below market value when he signed. His salary is justified if he plays like he did in the regular season but he's way overpaid if he plays like he did in the playoffs.

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09-05-2008, 09:17 AM
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Interesting post Newhabfan, welcome to the Habs board.

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09-05-2008, 09:22 AM
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Gainey knows what he's doing in this respect. The guy is a former player and he knows how players want/deserve to be treated. He's building a team. A real team. Not a group of players, but a team.

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09-05-2008, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waffledave View Post
Gainey knows what he's doing in this respect. The guy is a former player and he knows how players want/deserve to be treated. He's building a team. A real team. Not a group of players, but a team.
Amen, BK.

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09-05-2008, 09:28 AM
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Detroit does the same thing, I've heard people saying how well they treat their players, again like a family.

I agree with you that this is very important. Some players will chase big money no matter what but when you're spending over 200 days of the year on a roadshow with a team you gotta rationalize that maybe enjoying that huge amount of the year is worth giving up a potential chunk of dough for.

Komisarek's gotta be thinking about this, as much as he would want to play for his hometown, is it really worth joining the gongshow that is Charles Wangs'/Garth Snow's organization? Factoring in how well he's treated by the Habs' front office and ownership, and having so many friends on the team, smart money's gotta be on him staying with the CH.

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09-05-2008, 09:30 AM
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I don't disagree with you for one second. The organization is treating their players well and it does show. The Habs have become a classy organization again under Pierre Boivin.. And there's a reason he hired Bob.

I get the same feeling as you. The snow, taxes and media are a negative in Montreal, but the Team is trying to make up for those bad things by making the hockey experience good here. But treating you well and building a good team chemistry is also a really good way to attract player here and keep the ones already here happy...

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09-05-2008, 09:33 AM
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I thought he was gonna say St. Hubert chicken wings.

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09-05-2008, 09:34 AM
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I wish Carbonneau were as considerate of players' feelings as Gainey.

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09-05-2008, 09:36 AM
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Always nice to see new poster actually capable using punctuation, capital letters and whole sentences.

And I agree, Gainey has been making his own work much easier the way he handles his players.

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09-05-2008, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teufelsdreck View Post
I wish Carbonneau were as considerate of players' feelings as Gainey.
I'm sure that Carbonneau only "mistreats" people Gainey gave up on. It's probably not as simple as Gainey giving orders to Carbs, but the two men have a common vision and work closely together in order to achieve it. I doubt that Carbonneau could (I know he wouldn't) pull a Tremblay on one of our players

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09-05-2008, 09:44 AM
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I really think that what will make the Habs contenders for a long time is exactly this "long term" plan that the organization has put in place. I firmly believe it all comes down from Mr. Gillett himself, through Pierre Boivin and down to Gainey, the rest of the admin staff, hockey operations/scouting people and finally to the coaching staff and the players.

The idea is that short term success will not take precedence over being solid in all areas and the relationships with the players is an extremely important part of this entire culture of success. It simply says to them "you are important to this organization". Who know if, after he's done playing, Huet might become one of the best goalie coaches? He will then know that this team is a great place for him and will gladly come back. Success breeds success and respect brings commitment.

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09-05-2008, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teufelsdreck View Post
I wish Carbonneau were as considerate of players' feelings as Gainey.
Maybe they have some sort of bad cop/good cop thing going there?

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09-05-2008, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Teufelsdreck View Post
I wish Carbonneau were as considerate of players' feelings as Gainey.
Carbonneau is one of the best coaches in the league because he doesn't play nice with the players. Coaches start to fail when they become friends with players, because then they don't give as much pressure. That's what happened in Tampa with Torts.

Pierre McGuire, a failed coach himself, once tried to comment that the reason Carbo's Habs weren't doing as well as Tort's Lightning (This was November of last season), was because Tort was everyones friend and Carbo simply worked the players hard, letting Muller do the nice stuff. He said that was what separated a good coach from a bad coach. Then the Habs started winning

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09-05-2008, 09:53 AM
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Gainey is treating his players like human beings and not like pieces on a chess board, and thats always good. But in the end, a lot if not most players are in it for the moolah, the cash. And they know that they will be well treated by any other club thats willing to pay them 7 to 9 million bucks a year. I wonder if this approach by Gainey is going to work...

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09-05-2008, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CastroLeRobot View Post
I'm sure that Carbonneau only "mistreats" people Gainey gave up on. It's probably not as simple as Gainey giving orders to Carbs, but the two men have a common vision and work closely together in order to achieve it. I doubt that Carbonneau could (I know he wouldn't) pull a Tremblay on one of our players
Gainey has to make players comfortable in the long run and attract other players. Carbonneau has to make them productive in this night's game. Their objective is different and I suspect at some points they are playing a "good cop, bad cop" game.

As for Huet, he was not happy during the interviews, but his unhappiness was not about the trade - it was about losing what he (and many, me included) considered a well earn n1 goalie spot. Gainey probably told him something like: "We are sorry - you are a great goalie, probably nr.1 material and you did a lot for us. However, in the current context we cannot offer you this summer what you deserve as a contract so we are going to lose you. Therefore we would prefer to play Price as nr 1 for the rest of the season. He might lose us some games but he will be back here next year."

There are two sides in the Huet transaction - first is the decision that he will lose the net to Price, despite playing better and second - since we cannot offer you what you deserve we will put you in a position where you can get that.

Huet was unhappy with part 1 - losing the net. But once you accept it as done - the trade to Washington was the best thing that could happen to him.

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09-05-2008, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by gillyguzzler View Post
I was surprised by Andrei Kost.'s contract but I don't believe Markov's contract was below market value when he signed. His salary is justified if he plays like he did in the regular season but he's way overpaid if he plays like he did in the playoffs.
How would he be overpaid for the playoffs? He played hurt and still contributed. The defense was still solid even with Komi and Markov banged up. Would you rather have guys with no heart that opt out of the lineup when they have an injury?

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09-05-2008, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Lone Rogue View Post
Carbonneau is one of the best coaches in the league because he doesn't play nice with the players. Coaches start to fail when they become friends with players, because then they don't give as much pressure. That's what happened in Tampa with Torts.

Pierre McGuire, a failed coach himself, once tried to comment that the reason Carbo's Habs weren't doing as well as Tort's Lightning (This was November of last season), was because Tort was everyones friend and Carbo simply worked the players hard, letting Muller do the nice stuff. He said that was what separated a good coach from a bad coach. Then the Habs started winning

I actually thought it was the opposite. That most of the Bolt players thought Torts was an ass and had stopped listening to him.

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09-05-2008, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newhabfan View Post
This is something I was thinking about for a long time and I never read or heard about anything similar. I know I'll get insightfull comments here so here it is.

Have you wondered how come Markov and AKost signed contracts that were obviusly under their market value ? Home discount ? That hardly works with other teams in the league - and these guys are russian (and belorussian to be precise) not Montrealers. And let's not mention taxes...

Or why did Cristobal Huet and Michael Grabovski get traded for peanuts ? Many people saw the Huet trade as a GM failure, while in fact it was a stroke of genius - you will see later why.

Why Bob Gainey made so few trades involving roster/established players ? He always prefers offering picks and prospects.

Or why did the team backup 100% all of its players everytime they got attacked for one reason or another? O'Byrne's purse, Grabovski's plane, Kovalev's russian interview's, Koivu's french etc.

Or why did guys like Samsonov, Ryder and Grabovski get so many "second" chances ? To our exasperation?

The answer is simple - Bob Gainey is a nice guy and/or a brilliant psychologist. He knows (first hand) that unlike in NHL08, players are human beings that want to be treated as such.

Two weeks after the Huet trade I heard Pierre Boivin saying on CKAC "Cristobal did a lot for the Canadiens - We owed him this one". In other words, the Huet trade was done for Cristobal Huet's interest and not for the team (who got close to nothing in exchange). It was a "thank you" gesture - instead of keeping you as a second goalie behind Price and barely playing you for the rest of the season, we will put you in a position where you can actually earn a 1st goalie spot and raise your market value for the future contract. Seems it worked for him.

After the Grabovsky trade Gainey said (though it went unnoticed) that "Michael asked to be traded". And he was put in a team where he has a good chance of performing well. Like Mike Ribeiro, Theo and Rivet.

My interpretation of all this is that Gainey respects the players - he knows that what players hate the most is being treated as Pokemon cards (the reason for all the NTCs). He probably never trades an established player against his will. This explains a lot of "Gainey's inertia" at trade deadlines - the best trades are the one you do not do.

Even the failed Hossa trade gets another meaning now - Gainey could have got it by addng some 3rd-4th liner to the initial deal but the message he sent to his team by refusing to do that was "we respect you and we won't trade you like pieces of meat, even for someone like Hossa". A winner in the long run.

The real value of the Huet trade is seen in the Akost signing. And in the future signings (with important home discounts) of Komisarek, Higgins, Plekanec and others.

What looked like a failure at some moments from him as a GM was in fact a master move. When you join the Montreal Canadiens you do not need an NTC clause - you get a (verbal) one by default.
Very good points

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09-05-2008, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Newhabfan View Post
Gainey has to make players comfortable in the long run and attract other players. Carbonneau has to make them productive in this night's game. Their objective is different and I suspect at some points they are playing a "good cop, bad cop" game.

As for Huet, he was not happy during the interviews, but his unhappiness was not about the trade - it was about losing what he (and many, me included) considered a well earn n1 goalie spot. Gainey probably told him something like: "We are sorry - you are a great goalie, probably nr.1 material and you did a lot for us. However, in the current context we cannot offer you this summer what you deserve as a contract so we are going to lose you. Therefore we would prefer to play Price as nr 1 for the rest of the season. He might lose us some games but he will be back here next year."

There are two sides in the Huet transaction - first is the decision that he will lose the net to Price, despite playing better and second - since we cannot offer you what you deserve we will put you in a position where you can get that.

Huet was unhappy with part 1 - losing the net. But once you accept it as done - the trade to Washington was the best thing that could happen to him.
I totally agree. Huet was traded because of the context (Price, Pending UFA status). No doubt Huet was not happy about losing the net, but I'm sure he understood. Ans the habs made the best possible trade for Huet's interests.

Hey mods, I don't think this guy should wait the 90 days before becoming a regular member of the boards. He's making some 1000+ posters look like rookies

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Old
09-05-2008, 10:15 AM
  #21
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Maybe BG is a very nice guy/psychologist/WIZARD

Gainey is a rebel by breaking all the rules and being nice to his employees and all. What a pioneer..

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09-05-2008, 10:19 AM
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Great post OP. Gainey is well respected because he respects other people and treats them well. He also traded Traverse back to San Jose's affiliate when we had him back a while ago, and gave Murray a shot in Florida. He also tried to work with Samsonov but he was a little bich so no one wanted him on waivers. Montreal is gaining a better reputation as evidenced by Tanguays comments, saying they are back on the map for free agents and actually a place players want to play. Gainey is a huge reason for this.

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09-05-2008, 10:31 AM
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You're wrong.
I agree to some degree...Ribeiro and Rivet were traded against their will. We didn't trade Grabovski for peanuts. We didn't do any favour to Huet by trading him to a team that was not even sure of making the playoffs while we were competing for the first seed. We also traded quite a few roster players during the past few years. Also, we wouldn't have had Hossa by adding 3rd and 4th liners, but by adding young players with potential.

Sure Gainey is a nice guy, but he won't keep a player just to make him happy.


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09-05-2008, 10:31 AM
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In reference to Markov, he definately played like he was hurt and that's what I thought for sure at the time but then he played for Russia a couple of days later (not very well either). If his injury was bad enough to hamper his play that much, why was he permitted to play for Russia?


Last edited by gillyguzzler: 09-05-2008 at 10:33 AM. Reason: forgot to quote
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09-05-2008, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gillyguzzler View Post
In reference to Markov, he definately played like he was hurt and that's what I thought for sure at the time but then he played for Russia a couple of days later (not very well either). If his injury was bad enough to hamper his play that much, why was he permitted to play for Russia?
Because Russia threatened to keep him off the Olympic roster if he did not suit up for them at the WC's?

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