Better Know A Blogger: Oliver Bouchard of En Attendant des Nordiques

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Blogger Questionnaire

Why follow the Habs?

I always loved hockey but was an orphan since the nords moved away. When I moved in Montréal (in 2001) I had already switched my interest to Baseball. The Expos were about to move, but I had stumbled upon Bill James, SABR, Baseball Prospectus and other things. Once in MTL, you can’t really ignore hockey, and I got hooked again.

Favourite Montreal Canadiens moment?

Playoff runs like the one in 2010 are fun but also gruelling. “Emotional” moments are too often amped up to freak show level and this annoys me. It’s a blip in the franchise’s history, but the 6-5 victory against the Rangers a few years back was a sight to behold. That team had some strength (goaltending, PP) and weaknesses (puck possession) but it had a load of guys with outsized personalities and that was a game where they all found a way to contribute. You never expect that kind of show right in the middle of the season and it’s the unexpected, statistical aberration of the thing that make it so dear to my heart.

Favourite Habs player?

Kovalev. Because he was a drama queen, because often we often couldn’t understand what, in the name of all that is good in the world, he was trying to do and most importantly because every single time he hit the ice you had to watch, just in case he’d unleash a back-handed, one hand on the stick, cross-ice, on the tape saucer pass while being checked along the board. We watch hockey because we like a good show and Kovalev could make a show of the most ordinary situation.

What’s the best article you’ve ever written?

Quite frankly, I have no idea. My basic outlook on blogging is: write a blurb on every single game, every blog post then becoming a fragment of the larger story that is the season. It’s a peculiar approach and it means most of my more analytical stuff is often buried somewhere in there. So that’s why I can’t really tell you which one.

Best person to read about hockey? Or if you like, worst person to read about hockey?

Tyler Dellows. He has a unique (and vindictive) approach and I especially like his forays on the business / legal side of the game.

Do the Habs make the playoffs next year, yes or no and why?

If Markov is healthy, yes. Up front, they have 3 top-9 centers who complement each other and 4 high quality wingers (people really underestimate Gionta). On the back end, they have a very nice top-4 and more than enough bodies to make a very good 3rd pairing, with guys such as Bouillon, Diaz and even Kaberle who can fill-in in case of injuries. And they have a killer goalie. But if Markov can’t hold it together, Emelin can’t make up for him and our forward depth will be sorely exposed, unless Leblanc or Gallagher pulls a Pacioretty (hint: they are good, but they won’t).

If you could interview one figure from Habs history, who would it be?

Sam Pollock.

Who is Hab player you’d most want to hang out with and why?

Some old dude. He’s not with the team anymore, but Gill sounds like an interesting guy. I’d love to sit down with him and a bunch of data about the 2010 playoffs run.

Which is the best Habs rivalry, Leafs, Bruins or other?

The Bruins, the Leafs, seriously? C’mon. Those “rivalries” you speak of are all pathetic placebo (placebii?) for the One True Rivalry: Canadiens-Nordiques.

What do you think the Habs need to do to win their 25th Stanley Cup?

Stop overpaying for plumbers and get more good players. Really.

What’s your boldest prediction about the Habs upcoming season?

This where I resort to the cheapest trick in the book of “Habs Blogger say something just to make sure we get a debate ending with people beating each other up”: Scott Gomez will push Desharnais on the wing.

Bonus Question: Have you ever blogged from your mother’s basement in your underwear?

Yes sir. Many times. And I will do it again. Oh yeah.

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