Archive for May, 2011


Is Habs Management Prejiduce Against Quebec players?

The Montreal Canadiens are one of the most storied franchises in the NHL (or in all of sports for that matter) with a league leading 24 Stanley Cup Championships. Their teams throughout history have been equipped with some of the greatest home grown local talent ever to have played the game. When you look in recent years many of the teams put out each season by the Habs, it becomes rarer that you will find a Quebec player dawning the jersey. Why is that? To understand the answer to this question we have to take a quick look back some decades ago in franchise history to outline what happened.

Ken Dryden wrote a line in his book the Game about his latter years playing for the Habs in the 1970’s (before retiring from his career as one of the great Canadiens’ netminders). Dryden basically commented on what was happening to the franchise in general with the change in ownership in the 1970’s where players like Michel Bossy whom previously would have been drafted by the Canadiens were being passed up in the draft. At one time, the Montreal Canadiens had a contract with the NHL that they would have first crack at any Quebec player in the NHL before any team in the draft. How things have changed.

Today if you look for all the top Quebec born skaters currently playing in the NHL namely Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St Louis, Simon Gagne, Daniel Briere, Marc-Andre Fleury, Kris Letang, Martin Brodeur, Alex Tanguay, Francois Beauchemin, Patrice Bergeron, Johnathan Bernier, Jason Pominville, Paul Stastny, Antoine Vermette, Derick Brassard, Mike Ribeiro, Stephane Robidas, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, JP Dumont, P.A. Parenteau, Eric Belanger, Max Talbot, David Perron, Marc-Andre Bergeron, JS Giguere and  Roberto Luongo you will find that although some of them played
briefly for the Habs, none of them currently play for the Montreal Canadiens.

The Habs have turned away from the historical values of selecting local players (many whose names are engraved on the Stanley Cup winning teams of yester-year). The same players who would thrive on the pressure of playing in front of the home town crowd, dreamt of playing for the Montreal Canadiens their whole youth and helped shaped the dynasties of the team in bleu-rouge-et-blanc have disappeared.

Habs brass (as well as their scouting) have opted for players born outside of La Belle Province. Is that why the last Hab’s 50 goal scorer was Stephan Richer nearly 24 years ago or their last Stanley Cup Championship was in 1993 or their last 90+point scorers were Vincent Damphousse and Pierre Turgeon or multi-award winning superstar goalie was Patrick Roy or Frank Selke Trophy winner was Guy Carbonneau or winningst goalie was Jacques Plante or Art Ross and multi Hart Trophy winner was Guy Lafleur?

What if the Habs reverted to their old days of scouting and swallowed up all the Elite native Quebec players? Would they return to their dynasty ways with such levels of skill, speed, finesse and most importantly chemistry? Do the Habs management want this? Are the Habs management prejiduce against Quebec players?


Is a Great Recession Coming to China?

With the majority of the media and analysts permanently bullish on the prospects of China (much like those of Japan’s in the late 1980’s, remember that?) you start to see some similarities as well as differences to previous economic cycles in the past Economies of Power. The expression ghost cities is starting to surface recently, referring to rural towns within the China where real estate developers have cranked up the supply of residential housing as well as commercial buildings to “prepare” for great expectations of people flocking to these newly built cities in the near future. How big are these projects? In many cases the amount of housing capacity available is ten times that of the population of the newly built city. In one case a town with a population of 30,000 boasts capacity for 1,000,000+ people.

What is wrong with this picture? With inflation fairly high in China (not to mention the actual number being much higher than what the government has reported), as well as the income levels way out of whack with the affordability to live in such areas, how can this economic growth plan be feasible? As well as how much of this over-building has contributed to China’s monsterous GDP growth of recent times? When you look at the recent problems in Dubai, they seemed to be dwarfed by the Chinese real estate conundrum of build, overbuild and then overbuild on top. The money supply in China has grown substantially since the 2008 US financial crisis at rates never seen before or perhaps have they been seen before?

When you compare past economic boom bust cycles, China’s current situation parallels that of America in the 1920’s (with China’s being to a much greater degree though). The free money credit system of the Roaring 1920’s made all Americans at that time feel like prosperity was boundless. Although poverty had reached record levels in the 1920’s but so had the number of wealthy individuals who had amassed fortunes via real estate and financial markets. Companies over-produced with high expectations for future demand. Leveraged Borrowing to invest in the real estate and capital markets had reached record highs in the 1920’s in America much like now in China and people paid premiums for luxury goods as well as high-end houses. Will the outcome for China become like that of America after the 1920’s or like Japan in the 1990’s or Dubai in recent times or much worse? How much would it’s economy fared had not it been reliant on over-production and over-consumption as well as over-building within the real estate sector? With the vacancy rate sky-rocketing in the thousands of skyscrapers built in this latest boom from Beijing to Shangai will the excessive gap between supply and demand cause a correction that will last for decades? Is the end of the Chinese economy coming?