Friday, November 2, 2007

Briere gets just deserts

The fans gave it to him good last night and rightly so as the boos rained down from the rafters from the first moment Daniel Briere stepped onto the ice until the very end of the game. And what a game it was with the speed of the Habs running the Flyers into the ground. Some might be tempted to claim the phantom penalty on Briere was the turning point of the game but it wasn't as lousy reffing affected both teams. A makeup call on Hamrlik was made less than four minutes later but once the Habs went up 4-1 the Flyers lost their composure and then the game.

Some personalities like TSNs Glenn Healy or Team 990s P.J. Stock have openly suggested that the French speaking refs might be giving the Habs a helping hand though the stats totally disprove this baseless claim. The Habs are ranked 11th in PP advantages at home and have just 10 more powerplay opportunities overall than their opposition so far this season.

Briere turned down the Habs offer to accept a massive front-loaded contract in Philadelphia over the summer with $10 Million going to him this season alone, $6.5 Million counting towards the Cap. Supposedly the Habs offered more but Briere turned it down to avoid the pressure of playing in Montreal and more specifically the pressure created by the vicious and tabloid French media that has a well deserved reputation for eating their own.

That same media quickly attacked Bob Gainey for failing to land an impact French speaking player without taking any responsibility for the real reason why Briere wouldn't sign with Montreal. Them. It's very well known now that Bob Gainey has been trying very hard since he came to Montreal to sign that impact player the Habs need to become legitimate Cup contenders. And Gainey knows exactly what the team needs with major efforts to sign character players like Brendan Shanahan & Jason Arnott. Signing Sergei Samsonov was Plan D for Gainey last year but you take what you can and thankfully it was just a two year contract.

After last night's game it was predictable that the media would claim the boos which cascaded onto Briere would somehow make is even harder to attract impact free agents and French players specifically in the future. Nonsense. It's not the fans that are keeping UFAs away, it's the tabloid stories the French media constantly try to outdo each other with that's the problem and until the French media changes the way it treats "their" celebrities the problem won't go away. Even the New York media isn't nearly as bad and that's saying something.