Have you noticed a theme in the photos accompanying the series of three articles featuring the thoughts of Brian Wilde? It’s not normally the image of a guy that we see at the Bell Sports Complex or the one presenting the sports report on our televisions. It’s summer which means it’s a relaxed time for fans, writers in the new media and even familiar-faced journalists.
But even though we are all a little more laid back, and dress differently, raise the topic of the Montreal Canadiens and our senses once again become keen. In the concluding portion of the interview with Brian conducted by Iain Carnegie, you will hear that concerning the Habs, Wilde’s opinions are sharp, passionate and direct. For media who cover the Canadiens and supporters who follow them, there is no offseason.
MONTREAL, QC — After some deep discussion regarding the forward lines, the defensive corps, and the prospects that are in the pipeline of the Canadiens organization, I decided to get Brian’s thoughts on two of the key young players held by the franchise.
It’s one thing to bring in existing talent from around the league (such as Erik Cole), but it’s entirely something else to groom players from the farm, nurture them, coach them, and turn them into franchise players.
Such is the case with two young superstars that wear the Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge.
Both Carey Price and P.K. Subban will become restricted free agents (RFA) at the end of this season, and I wanted to get Brian’s take on how far the Habs franchise should go to ensure that they both stay with the team well into the future. There was great discussion around the maturity of Price as he’s grown from a kid to a man. The most clear evidence of this is the fact that he’s seen all types of adversity and stood up to it every step of the way.
I, for one, was not on the Price train a year ago when Gauthier decided to fore-go re-signing Jaroslav Halak, but instead opted to put his faith in the young goalie. I’ve happily eaten crow over the past 12 months when it came to my opinion on that deal, as Price has shown not only skill, but character inside and outside of the blue paint.
As you’ll hear in the audio segment in the player below, Brian Wilde feels very strongly about the signing of this young star. He clearly has faith in Price being the number one goaltender for the franchise for a very long time, and questions why anyone would want to put that to the test after what we’ve witnessed in his growth over the past two years.
I had a real genuine laugh when Brian spoke about Subban and his chances of becoming a Norris trophy winner – if Nicklas Lidström decides to retire in the next 15 years! The style, talent and charisma of PK clearly rings true with Brian, and he feels as I do, that this champion should remain a franchise player for the Montreal Canadiens.
When I listen back over the past 60 minutes that I spent with Brian, there is one thing that clearly rings true for me. He has a belief in the intangibles of any given roster within the NHL, and feels that the Canadiens franchise stands out in this category.
As we wound to a close we discussed the cap era of the NHL, and how that makes differentials between teams throughout the league. There is something deeper than just skill sets on the ice. Brian made that point quite eloquently when he discussed the Washington Capitals from last seasons playoffs. Here was a team with plenty of skill that lacked the character of a championship team. A team that just “laid it down” after their first round victory because they were quite proud of themselves. It proved once again that it takes more than talent to win a Stanley Cup.
The future of the Montreal Canadiens looks very bright. Yes, there are things like health of the roster that can’t be taken out of the equation. But both Brian and I feel that given a healthy roster, and the return of Scott Gomez to the skill set that he can achieve, La Flanelle can go deep into the playoffs this coming season — deep enough to possibly bring the Cup back home to Montreal.
It was a true pleasure having this opportunity to listen in on Brian’s thoughts about the team – past, present, and future. He has such depth and experience, and I’ll forever be impressed with the passion that he exudes when he speaks about the sport and franchise which he loves. I hope that you too enjoyed this experience, and I’m looking forward to some great hockey discussions with each and every one of you throughout this coming season!
You’ll find today’s audio segment labelled “BW6″ in the player below. You may also take the opportunity to listen to any of the clips that you missed.