Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

A new normal in Montreal: the Bergevin era really begins

Marc Bergevin made quite a splash this morning, at the start of Montreal Canadiens training camp. As you've no doubt heard by now, Bergevin announced that he had sent Scott Gomez home, cheque in hand, to wait out the season, bubble wrapped to ensure his perfect health. This ensures that Gomez can be bought out come July 1st, when the first opportunity arises. I was surprised - after all, the word out of Montreal had been that Gomez was a welcome part of the Canadiens team, and a recent article in the Gazette had him fit, focused and ready for the shortened playoff sprint. 

What does no Gomez, or GoHomez as the announcement was termed, mean for the Canadiens? It means a lot of things. It means a new regime is in charge. No more Pierre Gauthier-led mystique. No more lack of quotes and silence. Marc Bergevin was candid and humourous at his briefing this morning, laying the facts out straight as he made the announcement. No holds barred. This is a refreshing change for fans of Les Canadiens.

It also adds intrigue to training camp. Gomez had been slotted in by most on the third line. Does his absence mean Alex Galchenyuk is on the team? More interestingly, it puts added pressure on Tomas Kaberle and Rene Bourque. One of them is going to be the other buy out. The additional motivation can't hurt, and I expect to see, especially in Bourque's case, a renewed focus as the season gets underway.

Lots to think about, and lots to debate. One player I am concerned about is Louis Leblanc. He played 42 games last season for the Habs, and in my mind never looked out of place. However, an early season ankle injury has led to dismal AHL results, and cost Leblanc an invite to training camp - quite a shock to most, who expected Leblanc to be in contention to crack the roster. Is the AHL, and the rookie coaching staff there, really the best place for Leblanc to be? The small bits of his play I've seen this year make me worry that he's languishing, and another wasted draft pick in the making.

It's a five day fight for roster spots. Michel Therrien looks and sounds like a new man in his second go around as Habs coach. The players sound committed. If Bergevin can sort out the PK Subban situation, this could be a great beginning to the season for Habs fans.

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About The Upper Canadien

The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.

I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

Questions or comments? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com