Visiting with Guy A. Lepage on Tout le monde en parle is one thing. In fact, it's almost a must, and more than expected.
But Leafs Lunch? Really, Guy?
When Guy Carbonneau agreed to an interview Tuesday with Darren Dreger and Bill Watters on AM 640 in Toronto, it became clear that his campaign to find a job elsewhere in the NHL is in full swing. Off the Record with Michael Landsberg can't be too much further down Carbonneau's agent's list.
Having watched/listened to both interviews, I must say it is one of the few times that Carbonneau said pretty much the exact same thing in English as he did in French. And in the case of both interviews, it wasn't a whole lot.
I mean, Carbonneau answered all the questions that were asked of him, but the ones we really wanted the answers to were the ones he lacked the information to answer. Power to him for not going with his gut feeling and saying he at least suspected that the order for his firing came from the owner's office, and not the general manager's.
I was pretty surprised that he stuck with his original answer from Tout le monde en parle by re-stating that he would be open to a return with the Canadiens. Now, Lepage framed his question by saying that if Bob Gainey wasn't there and the ownership was changed and a few bad apples were removed, then would he consider it. But Lepage didn't have the benefit of knowing that Carbonneau would actually say yes. In fact, he had to assume he would say no, so he must have added those conditions to coax a yes out of him.
Also, in front of a live audience, on a show watched by legions of Quebecers, it was only natural for Carbonneau to say yes. There couldn't have been a more crowd-pleasing answer, and let me assure you after two years of attending his press conferences every day, this man aims to please.
But today, sitting in the comfort of his own home with the perception of anonymity that comes with speaking on radio, and also reaching an audience that couldn't care less whether he came back to coach the Canadiens or not, Carbonneau didn't budge. That means the answer must have some degree of sincerity to it. The only problem I have is that Dreger didn't remove those conditions Lepage used when asking the question, and I'd be interested to know if Carbonneau would come back to coach under Gainey again.
Let's just say that Gainey was indeed told to fire Carbonneau specifically by George Gillett because he saw potential playoff revenue slipping away with each passing loss. If Gillett sells his interest in the team, would that be enough for Carbonneau to consider coming back to work for a man who supposedly betrayed him, who reportedly told him two weeks before firing him that he himself would step down before putting his friend out on the street?
"We had a good relationship, a trust. But I understand the business of hockey," Carbonneau told Dreger and Watters when asked if he and Gainey were close friends. "I didn't expect to be immune from anything, just not that early. Sometimes you have to go through tough times to find out who you are and what you have in front of you. But I didn't expect the first time we faced adversity I was going to get fired."
I don't think Gainey expected it either, which is why I don't feel it's such an implausible scenario to have Gainey reach out to his friend to take his old job back. That's assuming, of course, that Gainey would survive the impending ownership change, one that looks more and more like a foregone conclusion these days.
If that scenario were to come to pass, I'd be very interested to know how long it will take the same people who were chanting his name at the Bell Centre to start booing Carbonneau. I'd say the over/under on that one is about a month.