Canadiens players irked at Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre
Criticism of forward Desharnais raises eyebrows
Montreal's newly elected mayor, who has a proven knack for getting in the news, has already had his first public spat with the local hockey team.
Denis Coderre, the former federal MP who was elected mayor on Nov. 3, has drawn the ire of some Montreal Canadiens.
During Sunday night's game he tweeted: "Hello? Can we get a one-way ticket to [American Hockey League] Hamilton for David Desharnais please ..."
It was a rather run-of-the-mill remark for a regular hockey fan. Countless numbers of them tweet running commentary on Habs games and many have criticized the play of the struggling forward, who has one assist and a minus-2 rating in 17 games this season.
But this one drew a little more attention, coming from the mayor.
The team was pushing back at Coderre on Monday.
Max Pacioretty, a longtime linemate of Desharnais, was particularly fuming and when asked about the remark he unloaded on the mayor.
"I'm very, very upset about that," Pacioretty said.
"What, do you think he's gonna coach our team tomorrow? That's embarrassing ...
"To bring down a player -- such a great person, such a great player, such a hard worker ... Davey's a true competitor and he's a great player and a great teammate, and that's just so uncalled for ... It's only going to make matters worse."
Defenceman Josh Gorges said it's wrong to kick someone when they're down.
And coach Michel Therrien may quietly agree with Coderre's assessment of Desharnais's play, given that he's been handing him less ice time lately.
But he doesn't welcome the remark.
"I really believe this is inappropriate from our mayor," said Therrien, weighing his words carefully.
Coderre's outspokenness and penchant for grabbing the spotlight is a distant cry from the city's last elected mayor – the understated, Harvard-educated Gerald Tremblay, who was eventually felled by a controversy over corruption at city hall.
The first week alone has demonstrated that in abundance.
Since Coderre won the election, he has already had a run-in with the Parti Quebecois provincial government over its religion charter; with the powerful mayor of Quebec City over a perceived slight to him; and now with the Canadiens.
He also encouraged embattled Toronto mayor Rob Ford last week to switch to "Diet Coke."