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How to explain the stupidity (of some) in relation to the rebuilding of the habs?

It’s always like that when a new session approaches, my philosophical neurons get excited and want to get back to work, trying to answer the great questions of the universe.

Today on the menu: human stupidity (in connection with our shared passion for the Canadiens)!

We’ve all – without exception – been stupid at one time or another in our lives.

But why?

Because no one is completely immune to what causes stupidity, which can be associated with irrationality, stupidity or even madness!

All social classes, all professions, all genders, all ethnocultural groups and all ages are affected.

No one escapes!

And you can easily include the author of these lines!

Whether René Descartes or a certain Pierre Poilièvre like it or not, we have to admit that stupidity (and no, not “common sense”) is the most widely shared thing in the world!

Or as Einstein would have put it:

“Two things are infinite: the Universe and human stupidity. But, as far as the Universe is concerned, I haven’t yet acquired absolute certainty.”

So we’re all potentially “caves”… at least part-time!

In this respect, the Canadiens’ rebuilding process offers us many opportunities to witness comments where the level of rationality is often “very low” at best!

Yes, of course, the Habs had a pretty good week, moving from a 2.7% probability of making the playoffs to… 2.9%!

Above all, the young players – Slaf, Caufield and Roy in particular – played a direct part in the club’s victories, which is very encouraging.

This means that Hughes and Gorton’s reconstruction is working, that we’re “heading in the right direction”, as they keep saying.

And it also means that Bergevin and Timmins had done a lot of good things between 2018 and 2021, let’s not forget…

But that doesn’t mean the rebuilding is over! Que nenni!

If we want to better circumscribe the latter, let’s simply say that the Habs must start, like all the last Cup-winning clubs – excluding Vegas, of course, an exceptional case – by getting rid of their deadwood while accumulating high draft picks (or the equivalent, like the Bruins and Blues) for a few seasons, i.e. minimally from 2022 to 2024 for the Tricolore.

But let’s note once again, as the Bruins did from 2003 to 2006 and the Blues from 2007 to 2012, that the Tricolore has already been accumulating top-10 equivalent picks for some time: Suzuki (2017), Dach and Caufield (2019), Guhle (2020), thus join Slafkovsky and Reinbacher and we’ll see very soon about Hutson and Mailloux.

So it would be absolute nonsense to wish for the opposite of a rebuild, and for the club to do everything in its power to win right away, including playing Montembeault more and keeping all the veterans.

What is stupidity and what causes it?

Why is this rebuilding process, so clearly necessary to victory in the salary cap era, so difficult for some to understand?

What are the causes of stupidity, irrationality and even madness in this area? That’s the question I’ll try to answer!

Let’s start by defining our key concepts: stupidity and its synonyms.

A famous phrase still attributed to Einstein about madness would be a good place to start:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result!”

Thus, the Habs management would be outright crazy to patch things up again, as has been done here and elsewhere for several years without much success. The same goes, of course, for those who want the Habs to put an immediate end to the rebuilding process (which is already well underway) by opting for short-term solutions! And no, the Habs haven’t been rebuilding for 30 years!

A little more recently, in 1976, in his book The Fundamental Laws of Human Stupidity, Carlo Cipolla, professor of economic history at the University of California at Berkeley, defined the stupid person in this way:

“a person who causes problems for others without any clear benefit for himself.”

Seen in this light, the people who express epidermal opposition to the Habs rebuild with their radio and social network rants could be seen as complete idiots.

Indeed, being against the idea of rebuilding (and its potential benefits, which have been proven time and time again) won’t bring them – or the rest of Quebec/Canadian society – anything but endless sterile comments/quarrels combined with frustrating support for a club that would oscillate from “lousy” to “passable” over a very long period of time…

Finally,irrationality could generally be defined as thinking certain things or acting a certain way in the absence of good reason, or against proven facts and serious studies on a subject.

In this sense, we might, for example, say that smoking cigarettes in 2024 is irrational behavior, as is believing and defending that the Earth is flat, or, more relevant to our subject, “going bear hunting with a butter knife” as illustrated by the colorful, late Pat Burns.

But then again, what causes stupidity?

Another major study conducted jointly by researchers from Eotvos Lorand University in Hungary and Baylor University in the USA identifies three main causes:

  1. Distraction
  2. Lack of control and the search for immediate gratification
  3. Ignorance accompanied by overconfidence

We’ll skip over the first cause (the smarter the phone, the less human…. ah pis laissez faire) and focus on the last two, not so far apart, in an attempt to understand the irrationality of some Tricolore fans towards the rebuilding process, as seen recently.

The “thesis” of last week ‘s article wasn’t rocket science, nor was it very original: the Habs need to lose more this year (in particular, by not playing Montembeault too much) in the hope of drafting a highly desirable player in June.

At the very least, we need to avoid going outside the top-11, after which there’s not even a chance of Celebrini…

(Credit: Tankathon)

Yes, I know, Mathias Brunet reminds us – and he’s not wrong to do so – that the margin between 6th and 12th can be slim. Dobson (12th), Suzuki (13th) and Caufield (15th) can even be better than Kotkaniemi (3rd), Glass (6th) and Kakko (2nd).

There are indeed years when the top-15, or even the top-20, are full of good players (e.g., 2020), and some “late” teams will benefit, while others “early” will be sorely mistaken.

But, as a general rule, earlier is better. The top-5 is better than the top-15, the top-15 better than the top-32, and so on.

(Source: Dobber Prospects)

Drafting early is all the more interesting when organizational needs become clearer after a few seasons, I’d say. This may be the Habs’ last (golden) chance to find the raw material they really need in the short, medium and long term, just as they did with Slafkovsky and Reinbacher.

In the case of the Habs, if they want to, say, add another talented forward, there’s nothing like selecting early to make sure they can pick the player who best fits that profile without risking having him stolen from under their noses.

We’re thinking of Celibrini, of course, but also Lindstrom, Demidov and Brandsegg-Nygard . These are four talented and relatively strong players who, in our eyes, are already very close to the NHL.

Of the lot, only Brandsegg-Nygard might still be available outside the top-10. But, personally, I see him more in the top-8, at least for now. À suirrrrrrrrre

In other words, to have a better chance of getting your hands on the player you want this season, you’d better postpone the gratification until later. A bit like the children in Walter Mischel‘s 1972 Stanford psychological study, who were promised two marshmallows instead of one if they could wait 15 minutes.

In our opinion, the four players mentioned (and perhaps others) are all worth at least a couple more marshmallows to the Habs than a few more wins in 2023-2024 that could exclude the team from the top-11 at the draft.


In short, you’d have to be stupid or irrational not to admit to well-established facts and probabilities: although it requires a good dose of patience and doesn’t guarantee the Stanley Cup, a well-done rebuild remains the best way to achieve it, and often leads to success over a fairly long period.

It’s as simple as that.

Wanting to win every game and hoping one day to win the Stanley Cup with a team as “green” and incomplete as the Habs – a team “not yet ready”, in the words of its general manager – is exactly like “going bear hunting with a butter knife”.

It’s the very definition of stupidity, caused here by a quest for immediate gratification coupled with a crass ignorance of the evidence and a blind trust in the titanic task at hand.

According to Cipolla, who feared that an “idiocracy” was taking hold in the West, “the only way for a society not to be swept away by the weight of these idiots is for those who aren’t to work harder and smarter.”

So, Messrs Hughes and Gorton, don’t give up, eh!

I’d like to leave you with a nice school opening, just the way we like it.

Are the people who are a little too focused on immediate gratification and who oppose rebuilding – and who would therefore be prepared to go on a bear hunt with butter knives – the same impatient people who shout ” shooooooooot ” from the heights of the Bell Centre after a few seconds of approximate puck control on the power play?

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