Monday, December 19, 2011

Nativism On Parade In Quebec

I'll never forget the sight of Confederate battle flags flying in rural Quebec, back in 1998. I was floored... until it dawned on me why Quebecois might do so: separatism. They weren't flown for racism, but solidarity with the idea of breaking away. Folks in rural Quebec were very serious about wanting to leave Canada to form their own nation.

Well, if not racism, bigotry still. Get a load of this! The Montreal Canadiens committed a foul offense in the eyes of some in Quebec, and not just armchair powerplay quarterbacks. From ESPN:
The Quebec government isn't pleased about the hiring of a Montreal Canadiens coach who can't speak French.

The province's culture minister says she expects the Habs to correct the situation.

Christine St-Pierre isn't quite calling for the firing of new coach Randy Cunneyworth, who was just hired over the weekend.

But she says the Habs have given the impression his hiring is temporary, and she takes them at their word. The former NHL forward's title is interim coach.

The hiring has created a frenzy of media reaction, including calls for a boycott of products associated with the Canadiens.

Culture minister? This is the sort of Soviet bloc officialdom that I used to make radio satire for. Here's an idea, Christine St-Pierre: How about let the team hire a coach because they think it will lead to winning hockey!

Whoops! The Canadiens have a history of sacrificing things like success, and shit, in exchange for nativist political correctness.
The Habs have not had an only English-speaking coach since the 1970-71 season, when Al MacNeil coached them. They won a Stanley Cup that year but MacNeil had a poor relationship with some players and was demoted to the minors after the season.
Can you believe that nonsense? Hey coach! Yeah, you won the Stanley Cup and all, but off to the AHL with you! Well, MacNeil won the AHL championship next year with Nova Scotia.

As for Cunneyworth, I liked him as a player. He played tough hockey, which was par for his era. But even then, he stood out as a lunch pail kinda player that I favored- like Mike Ricci or Owen Nolan. Coaches are often craft teams like their own on-ice persona. This is why I was a big fan of the Daryl Sutter-coached San Jose Sharks. Sutter had players like Ricci, Nolan, Stephane Matteau, Ronnie Stern, Dave Lowry- real grinders that had heart to spare. If talent didn't get it done, willpower could. If Cunneyworth brings that essence to the Canadiens, Montreal's hockey fans should love him for it. I'd start to like the Canadiens, at least. Right now, I couldn't name more than 6 or 7 of their players, the Canadiens being one of the softest teams in a soft NHL.

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