Mr. Molson; you should consider yourself the luckiest man in pro sports.
That of course, is a reference to Geoff Molson who owns the Montreal Canadiens. After reading the NY Times story on Derek Boogaard, I keep asking myself “how can the league still allow fighting?” The answer, whether people like it or not, is quite simple, because the fans find it entertaining. People pay good money to attend NHL games because they want to and expect to be entertained.
The NHL, at the end of the day, is in the entertainment business…for the most part.
In Montreal, the mindset is different. People wait for years on waiting lists for season tickets. People spend a fortune to go to a game because the Bell Centre is the place to be on game nights. People buy team merchandise and apparel because everyone else does. Hockey is a religion in Montreal, and Mr. Molson should thank god for that.
I’ve been to a few Canadiens games this year and I’ve watched almost all on TV. I’m a little different than most because I’ll watch any game on TV when I have the time, it doesn’t matter who is playing. As someone who has watched all 30 teams play multiple times this season, I can tell you that I find it more unbearable watching Montreal than any other team. It’s not even because they are bad, in fact, they have played a number of great games this year. It’s because they are passive, overly defensive, they don’t hit, they lack top end offensive players (even though they pay more money to their top 5 forwards than every team in the league except for Pittsburgh and Washington) and they are unbelievably predictable.
But why should Geoff Molson care? He knows he has 21,273 paying customers every night, so why should he change anything?
Put this exact Montreal Canadiens team in a non-traditional hockey market and see what happens. I would be willing to bet every dime that I have that there is no way this group would be able to sell out an arena night after night like they do in Montreal. The team is just sinfully boring and incredibly frustrating to watch.
Last night’s game vs. Columbus at the Bell Centre, Montreal’s first home game in a while, illustrates exactly what I’m talking about. Not to re-live the whole game but to sum it up – they registered 20 shots in 3 periods + overtime against the worst team in the NHL. If not for a lucky bounce in the third period that led to the tying goal by Brian Gionta, they lose 2-1 in regulation on home ice.
Those same fans that have witnessed their club win 4 of 14 games at home this year are screaming for changes. The most common cries are for a new GM and a new coach to replace Pierre Gauthier and Jacques Martin. A piece of advice; don’t waste your time or count on that happening, simply because YOU (the fans) are to blame. You are like abused dogs that keep going back to their owner. You want change? Stop going to games. That’s the best way to get the organization’s attention. Until then, Geoff Molson will continue to be the luckiest owner in the NHL.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.