Randy Cunneyworth;

Quebec-based nationalist group blasts Montreal’s decision to hire Cunneyworth


Impératif Français, a Quebec-based nationalistic group, is denouncing the Montreal Canadiens’ decision to hire Randy Cunneyworth as interim head coach.

They’ve called the hiring of Cunneyworth — who, unlike many his Habs coaching predecessors, cannot speak French — a “bodycheck to Quebec,” and a “gross misconduct.”

“Being unable to speak French is a severe handicap for someone in that position,” the group wrote in a statement. “Knowing the French language is a pre-requisite for leading the Montreal Canadiens hockey team.”

The group has also called for a boycott of all Molson products. (The Molson family owns the Canadiens.)

Cunneyworth took over from Jacques Martin just prior to Montreal’s game against New Jersey, which the Habs would go on to lose 5-3. In doing so, he became Montreal’s first non-French speaking head coach since Bob Berry, who was behind the Canadiens bench from 1981-84.

Even with that history in place, many Quebeckers are still questioning the move.

“The coach of the Canadiens is the most scrutinized personality in Quebec, even more than the prime minister, Celine Dion and even [Quebec City mayor] Regis Labeaume,” wrote Denis Poissant of the Journal de Montreal. “And Cunneyworth can’t answer questions in French. It doesn’t make any sense.”

The decision to name Cunneyworth head coach has also come under fire from former NHLer Robert Sirois, best known as the author of Discrimination in the NHL: Quebec Hockey Players Sidelined.

“The Canadiens should be a source of national pride for all Quebeckers,” Sirois said. “Not an agent of anglicisation.”

Avs unveil new third jerseys

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The Avalanche will be throwing a bunch of different looks at us this season.

Having already released specialized “Mile High” jerseys for February’s Stadium Series game, the Avs unveiled new third sweaters on Friday — less than 24 hours after a bitter 5-4 home loss to Minnesota in their season opener.

(Guess Colorado wanted to send out some good vibes after blowing a 4-1 third-period lead.)

While undoubtedly exciting for the organization, the release of these new thirds isn’t taking anybody by surprise. Last month, several websites published leaked images of Colorado’s and Anaheim’s third jerseys, so the design has been in the public eye for several weeks.

The Avs will debut these new thirds on Oct. 24, in a Saturday night tilt against Columbus.

Related: Roy explains why he didn’t call time out

Report: Escrow set at 16 percent

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Hey, remember in June when the NHLPA voted to keep the five-percent growth factor in spite of increasing worries about escrow?

Well, here’s why that decision was a significant one, via TSN’s Frank Seravalli:

With early revenue projections in place, the NHL and NHLPA set the escrow withholding rate for players at 16 per cent for the first quarter of the season on Thursday.

That means every player will have 16 per cent of earnings deducted from their paycheque and put aside until after all of this season’s hockey-related revenue is counted to ensure a perfect 50-50 revenue split with owners.

Now, this doesn’t mean that the players will definitely lose 16 percent of their salaries. Typically, they receive refunds when all the accounting is done.

Still, 16 percent is a good-sized chunk to withhold. They won’t be thrilled about it.

Related: To understand escrow, consider Duncan Keith