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07-06-2004, 09:53 PM
  #1
Joe Malone
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Chris Simon

Hey guys, I live in Wawa, Northern Ontario, which is Chris Simon's hometown. (Population 3500) I don't claim to be a close friend of Chris Simon's; I first met him in 1996, and have spoken with him occasionally over the years. Although Chris has built a big beautiful home here, and plans to retire in Wawa, he actually doesn't spend much time here. He trains in L.A. each summer; in fact he's there now. But he was in Wawa from the time the playoffs ended up until yesterday.

The news of Chris' signing with Calgary was made public on Friday, July 1st. But anybody at the Wawa golf course was aware of the signing the previous evening of Thursday, June 30th. Thursday is Men's Night at the Wawa Golf Course, and about 150 Wawa males hacked, hooked and sliced their way around our lovely 9-hole course. Chris Simon was there, and fielded about 30 calls on his cell phone to his agent that night, talking to teams interested in signing him to a contract. Buddies of mine were in the clubhouse that evening, and told me there were 5 or 6 teams in the hunt, with Ottawa and Calgary being the two finalists.

I ran into Chris over the weekend, and had to ask if Montreal had been interested. The conversation went something like this:

"So Chris, were the Canadiens one of the teams calling you the other night?"
"They never called us, but we called them." he replied.
"Really?" I said, "What happened, couldn't come to terms?"
Chris answered "Gainey said no. Told us he was going with the young guys."
"But you were interested in playing in Montreal?" I asked.
"Oh yeah." he said, "I love the province and I love the city, and I would have enjoyed playing there."
"What about the tax situation? I've often read that it's a deterrant for some players." I continued.
Chris just dismissed that with a wave of his hand. "It's no big deal" he said.

At that point, my wife and Chris began to talk about family, kids, etc. (My wife and Chris are born and raised in Wawa. I first came here in 1988, the year Chris left to play junior hockey.) Then a group of people approached Chris, and we felt it best to give him some space. Before I left I said "A two-year contract with Calgary....you'll get to know big Georges Laraque pretty good over the next couple of seasons." He just laughed and said "Ah, my buddy Oliwa will look after me." (Of course Oliwa has yet to be signed...)

I know the validity of what people write here is often questioned, and rightfully so. These HF forums are God's gift to hockey fans, and should be kept honest. I have been coming here for almost two years, and I don't write junk. (Actually, I don't write much of anything any more.) But what I do write is fact. You can take it or leave it, or the powers that be can delete it. Chris Simon told me that he and his agent approached Bob Gainey, expressing an interest in playing in Montreal. Gainey declined with these words "We're going with the young guys."

Just thought you hab fanatics would like to know that.

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07-06-2004, 10:00 PM
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That's pretty cool, I'll be making my way through Wawa in 2 weeks to goto Schreiber. ONT

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07-06-2004, 10:04 PM
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THX for the great read Joe Malone , but I am very mad now why Gainey said we're going with youngs ?!?! I know it's true but Chris Simon would be a great fit in Montreal we truly lack of an enforcer like Chris !!! But Chris is not a 1st or 2nd line material but a 3rd line or 4th great liner who can also drop the gloves ! And I don't see him disturb the yougns or steal the spot of a youngs but the opposite ! IMAGINE a
Simon-Begin-Ward line !!!

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07-06-2004, 10:04 PM
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Our "young guys" won't be the ones going into a fight with Peter Worrell...

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07-06-2004, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zednik
Our "young guys" won't be the ones going into a fight with Peter Worrell...
EXACTLY with Simon we're be gonna a more complete team IMO ,he is the guy we're truly lack for now ,Begin is not enough he's a true pest but we need at least a another enforcer like Chris.

WHAT B.G is thinking at this time ???


Last edited by CH Wizard: 07-06-2004 at 10:09 PM.
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07-06-2004, 10:08 PM
  #6
Bill McNeal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zednik
Our "young guys" won't be the ones going into a fight with Peter Worrell...
Nobody fights Worrell.

I'd like to have had Simon here, but at least our management is sticking with their guns. They're not getting excited about last year's success and saying "Hey, we're close, we made it past the first round against a good Boston team." We're still rebuilding. We had a 5 year plan like what, 2 years ago? We're not suddenly a contender and we don't need grit guys for the playoffs over developing our future talent.

If no Chris Simon means Chris Higgins gets a chance with the big club, then sign me up.

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07-06-2004, 10:11 PM
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Thanks for the info Joe Malone, I don't question what you write, I've never seen you make bogus claims to seek attention.

Frankly I'm not surprised at all. If we signed Simon, a LWer, that would have meant 4th line duty or worse for Hossa and Higgins.

It's always nice to hear your GM say he's commited to the youth movement. We have so many talented youngsters, no need to fill every gap with a UFA. Gainey stating he wants to go with youth only confirms what most of us already know, that our prospects have progressed nicely and are ready to make the jump. Gainey must have liked what he saw in Hamilton last year.

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07-06-2004, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munchausen
Thanks for the info Joe Malone, I don't question what you write, I've never seen you make bogus claims to seek attention.

Frankly I'm not surprised at all. If we signed Simon, a LWer, that would have meant 4th line duty or worse for Hossa and Higgins.

It's always nice to hear your GM say he's commited to the youth movement. We have so many talented youngsters, no need to fill every gap with a UFA. Gainey stating he wants to go with youth only confirms what most of us already know, that our prospects have progressed nicely and are ready to make the jump. Gainey must have liked what he saw in Hamilton last year.
Gotta agree. For years people here have been screaming for the youth movement, we got the 1st wave last year and now the 2nd wave is gonna arrive whenever hockey starts. It's nice to see management sticking to the ''plan'' while still building a pretty good team in the process. There are not a ton of holes up front to fill on this team if we do re-sign Kovalev or sign another top 6 winger, so letting the kids fight it out for the remaining spots(2nd line LW? A spot on the 4th line? and of course the 7th D spot) is the way to go. The only thing I hope BG gets for the bottom lines is a physical/tough/gritty winger, preferably a RW for the 4th line. Someone who doesn't cost much (remember Simon did get 1.6 million). A Grant Marshall type would be nice, since the Higgins/Hossa/Plekanec group simply can not play that role and we don't have a prospect who is ready and can play that role. Zednik-Koivu-Kovalev/other top 6 winger, a kids/Dagenais battle-Ribeiro-Ryder, Bulis-Bonk-Ward, Begin-Pleks/Higgins-tough RW pickup..I would have no problem with lines that look like this.

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07-06-2004, 10:36 PM
  #9
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Like it or not, BG will have to sign an enforcer...

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07-06-2004, 10:44 PM
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Stop playing Gold B.G it's realy weird that he even didn't knew that Langdon signs elsewhere ,he's far from the action that's not very good IMO but maybe he's a quiet person and he don't like the rumors !

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07-06-2004, 10:53 PM
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WHAT? He refused Chris Simon? Urgh...well, he has a good reason.

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07-06-2004, 11:34 PM
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So why the hell did he trade Balej for Kovalev then?

GRRR! He better sign Kovy or else I'm going to... well nothing but I'll be damn mad!

:mad:

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07-07-2004, 07:24 AM
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INteresting storey but also frustrating I would have loved to have Simon, he's be a great enforcer and he actual has some have decent skills to go along with it. o well, I hope BG has somthing else already planned or sumthin.

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07-07-2004, 07:44 AM
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Joe, if you say something, we can put it in the bank. Thanks for the info. I suspect Gainey will try to add 1 forward and let the rookies tell their own story in camp. In case of lockout,they'll get even more AHL time, so it stands to reason if a few of these guys are going to make it, the time is here. There will be guys avail. at waiver time, or some ufa's still around if he needs to fill the roster. I guess the Higgins and Pleks can't have their potential jobs given away before they get there.

Also, if Worrell has no one to fight, does he hurt you ? Have the Habs been in too deep against Edm. because no one fought Big Georges ? I think there is a fallacy about having to matchup tough guys sometimes.

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07-07-2004, 08:18 AM
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So now UFAs call Mtl and want to play here ? Nice. Just goes to show what a credible management staff can do for a team.

Quintal also said that Gainey was going with the youth. With CJ's comments at that golf course about giving more responsabilities to the youth it's becoming more and more obvious we aren't going to see any big signing. I think it's a safe bet to say guys like Selanne, Recchi, Palffy, Demitra, Kariya and Shanahan aren't going to wear the bleu-blanc-rouge jersey next season. Kovalev is still a possibility but I just don't see it anymore. All things being equal (money and lenght of contract) I just don't see him back.

Like Marc I'd like to see a player brought in for the 4th line. Wether it is an enforcer or a grinder. But there's still plenty of time for this and those guys are rather easy to find.

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07-07-2004, 10:27 AM
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Thanks Joe...I was hoping BG would sign Simon before he signed with Calgary, but if BG says he wants to go with youth, then I absolutely trust him, and I won't even question it twice, Simon would of been nice, but like he's said, the team and management is comitted to the youth movement, we have the luxury of having several young players dress up for our team next year, if BG manages to sign Kovalev, IMO, it would of been a great off season for the Habs, they would of managed to sign they're biggest offensive threat, they acquired that ever elusive big center and also acquired a very good backup to off set the loss of Garon, he knows what he's doing folks...

My take on BG not looking like he's very active in the free agent department is, he offered a very competitive contract offer to Kovalev, he probably knows that teams may likely not offer him the same amount, so IMO, he's pretty confident that Kovalev is coming back, at least that's how it looked to me when he was interviewed on RDS, and if ever Kovalev dosen't resign, BG is more than comfortable with the team we have in place, remember we would of made the playoffs without Kovalev...

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07-07-2004, 11:14 AM
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Munchausen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcphee
Also, if Worrell has no one to fight, does he hurt you ? Have the Habs been in too deep against Edm. because no one fought Big Georges ? I think there is a fallacy about having to matchup tough guys sometimes.
I feel the same way. There's something profoundly ridiculous about 2 tough guys jumping on the ice at the same time and looking for each other to start a fight.

To me an enforcer should be there to stick up for his teammates when the other team takes two many liberties on them. But 2 goons fighting each other just for the sake of it? Meh, I know it serves a purpose, like bringing some energy to your team, but I still find it amusing.

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07-07-2004, 12:09 PM
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Very interesting. I understand people ageeing that we should go with the youth movement and I agree with it myself. Keeping Dagenais around at half a million gives us a top 6 forward position that we can rotate some of our young scorers through. However, the 2nd line died in the playoffs because of a combination of being small and playing small. Simon would've cured that problem and made it a much more effective line. Also, though I liked Langdon, I prefer having players, like Simon, who can both fight and play. I guess my bottom line is that the 2nd line is going to continue to suffer because of the lack of toughness and size as this will not change since none of our "close to the NHL prospects" combine size, skill and toughness. However, for the long term we need to play the young guys and the 2nd line situation is the place for it as the youngsters earn it and move up from the 4th line to see some spot duty. Besides, if we are aiming for Kovalev I don't see that we could afford both of them.

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07-07-2004, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjk27
However, the 2nd line died in the playoffs because of a combination of being small and playing small. Simon would've cured that problem and made it a much more effective line.
Players like Simon will be available at the deadline if we really need one. After last season I have no fear BG will do what it takes to get one of them if the need arise.

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07-09-2004, 12:42 PM
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First of all, thanks for the vote of confidence from you guys. I have been away since I posted the Simon story, and envisioned replies doubting its credibility. Chris has a 10-year old son in Ottawa from a previous relationship, which might explain his interest in playing in the Montreal/Ottawa area.

One thing...I got the days and dates confused. Thursday was July 1st, not Friday. If things went down the way I wrote it, Chris would have been in discussion with teams prior to him entering free agency. That was pointed out on Habfans.com, as someone cut and pasted the story over there. (Geez, I'd hate to think those boys over there are sharper than we are... )

I was disappointed to hear Gainey refused interest in Simon. (Mainly because it would have meant a hometown boy on the Habs.) I still think he could have made a nice addition to our team. Calgary doesn't hesitate to play him with Iginla; he could have had spot duty on our top two lines to keep other teams honest. But Gainey is sticking to his guns, which is good to see. He's not abandoning his plan.

So "In Gainey We Trust". I'm sure he has an ace up his sleeve to meet our need for toughness. It seems that successful Hab's teams have always had a skilled enforcer in their lineup. (From Nilan to Ferguson to Butch Bouchard) It's also nice to hear that other players would like to come to Montreal. (Laperriere, Simon, maybe Kovalev) That's a change from recent years.

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07-09-2004, 12:51 PM
  #21
Joe Malone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prevail77
That's pretty cool, I'll be making my way through Wawa in 2 weeks to goto Schreiber. ONT
I'm gone from July 17th to Aug 1st. But if you're passing through when I'm here, we could meet for a coffee. (And talk about hockey....)

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07-09-2004, 01:38 PM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munchausen
I feel the same way. There's something profoundly ridiculous about 2 tough guys jumping on the ice at the same time and looking for each other to start a fight.

To me an enforcer should be there to stick up for his teammates when the other team takes two many liberties on them. But 2 goons fighting each other just for the sake of it? Meh, I know it serves a purpose, like bringing some energy to your team, but I still find it amusing.
Yeah, I agree too. I think an enforcer would be more valuable to a team if the league got rid of the instigator rule. Then, he could go out a clue in guys who make runs at our star players. For him to do that now, it would just result in an additional 2 mins and possibly hurt the team.

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