As the last significant date of the long, hockeyless off-season approaches, the Canadiens still have some very important positions available. A look at the Habs job board reveals the following ads for employment:
WANTED: One backup goalie. Must have degree from School of Hard Knocks or recognized alternative. At least five years of experience with a minimum of five different teams preferred. Successful candidate should have an uncanny ability to show absolutely no rust after sitting for fifteen straight games. Should also exhibit an ability to talk the starter off a ledge if required. Compensation to be discussed, but bargains preferred. No ambition necessary.
ARE YOU HUGE? Would Benoit Brunet describe you as "un gros bonhomme?" Do you play on the wing on an NHL team's top-two lines, or did you in your prime? If you answered "yes" to those questions, and you can put the puck in the net more often than Andrei Kostitsyn, the Montreal Canadiens have a job for you! The successful candidate should have a mean streak, but brains enough to avoid suspension, and enjoy standing directly in front of the opposing goalie. You should have been referred to as "a big body presence" by Pierre McGuire at least once, preferably with a lascivious glint in his eye. Leadership without ego and a willingness to sign for market value or less also appreciated. Centreman to be determined, but employer is open to discussing a "No Gomez" clause.
SEEKING: Assistant coach for storied NHL franchise. Prerequisties include actually having played a game of pro hockey, ever, and the ability to feel and exhibit emotion. Among the successful candidate's duties will be planning the powerplay, encouraging the team's youth and talking strategy during time-outs. In-game interviews with RDS, with the ability to deliver a convincing "merci" also required. Unilingual English-speakers who pose no threat to current boss preferred. Stanley Cup-winning experience, a playing connection to the team and a deep passion for the game are optional.
CALLING ALL UFAs: If you're a centreman from Prince Edward Island, and if you've won the Conn Smythe trophy at some point in your career, we'll overpay you to come to Montreal! Successful candidate should expect tremendous opportunities to play the best hockey of his life every night while getting skewered by the pundits on RDS. Optional chances to see himself burned in effigy by dissatisfied fans also available. French lessons not required, but recommended. An "I'm taking lessons but you'll never hear me actually speak French out loud" package is, in most cases, sufficient. Position contingent on successful disposal of current employee.
AVAILABLE: One smallish, slightly overused centreman with attitude. Average on faceoffs and the equal of a decent fourth-liner in point production, but still useful for achieving cap-floor status. Well-liked in the room and quite able to provide sarcastic, devil-may-care comments to the media. If you're in the market for a veteran presence who can take an ill-advised retaliation penalty at the most inopportune moments, then this guy is for you! Cost is minimal and may include late-round draft picks, promissory notes and/or bags of pucks. Shipping from Alaska will be at buyer's expense.
FOR HIRE: One cuddly Czech defenceman, love handles and quizzical expression included. Former Olympic gold medalist and Stanley Cup finalist. A vintage model, this D is still prepared to score up to five goals a season, and comes with a great attitude. Available as is, where is, for the low cost of "future considerations." Not recommended for teams who list "speed" or "value for money" as priorities.
NEEDED: French Canadian hockey player. Any skill level acceptable. Quebec-born candidates preferred, as Franco-Ontarians are often considered imposters in this role. Also, skaters preferred over goaltenders in order to minimize demands for the locally-born backup to take the net the minute the starter has two bad games in a row. If no stars available, a warm body who can fight and help Desharnais and Darche with post-game interviews will be considered. Interested parties please contact Pierre Boivin before Friday.