Wednesday, February 03, 2016

A playoff run or a run at the #1 draft pick?

When Montreal lost it's second game in a row to Columbus (5-2) this time at home, my review of the game was scathing.  For the life of me, I couldn't pick 6 players for the dome after that abysmal effort.  To be quite frank, if the Montreal Canadiens who skated that night were all I had to choose from, I don't think I'd bother playing.  I'd probably just take the loss, and save myself the agony of trying to miraculously come up with a win with that lot.  Despite what Therrien says, despite what Pacioretty says, despite what Bergevin says, that is a team that has quit.  It is tough to get motivated to write about a team that can't get motivated to play.  It is tough to write about a team when the GM is betraying you as a fan and with that said I can understand why the players are finding it tough to continue playing under this regime.

I had hoped the all star break would reinvigorate us all.  The beautiful story that was John Scott did that, at least for my writing.  Unfortunately the same can't be said for the play of our beloved Habs.  With a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers last night, from what I saw it was more of the same.  I didn't see the whole game though and that's why I didn't put up a game report.  I was actually busy getting the final preparations ready for a trip.  A very important trip.  As a forty year old (almost) Habs fan living in St. John's, Newfoundland I was ecstatic when the farm team came to visit us this year.  I have seen as many games as I can, and despite their record, I have yet to see them lose.  To see De La Rose, Andrighetto, and Carr, to name a few, down here has been a real treat.  They're not the best team, but the novelty of seeing the future of my team in action live, has me blinded to some mediocre play.  Again, they've never lost when I've watched them live so I've always left Mile One Centre with a smile on my face.

Couple the arrival of the baby Habs with the tremendous start the big club had and around the beginning of December I did two things.  I approached the Lions of Winter and asked if I could help get this blog back up and running.  It was always my favourite blog to read and debate on and I hated seeing it inactive for so long.  I felt that a run like the Canadiens were having deserved to be written about on as many forums as possible and so the Lions in Winter was reborn.

I also decided to treat myself.  Having been, for the duration of my membership in Canadien fandom, been a fan from afar, I booked a ticket to Montreal and bought tickets to see the Canadiens this weekend, live.  With the way they were playing I figured we'd be partying in the streets, singing "Ole" until the wee hours of the morning, wondering what awards Subban and Price would take home, and taking about who Montreal matches up better going into the playoffs... and then the arse came out of her (that's a Newfoundland expression that accurately describes Montreal since December 2).

It is in preparation for that trip that I was busy last night and thus won't be doing a blog about the game versus the Flyers.  I'm starting to wonder, though, if perhaps I jinxed the Habs.  In early December I did two things, I started up this blog again and I bought that ticket and since then they have stunk.  Maybe  it has nothing to do with the lack of scoring, the terrible own zone giveaways, or inconsistent, sometimes subpar goaltending.  Perhaps Therrien's lack of creativity is more minor than we think it is.  Bergevin might be a brilliant GM after all.  There's a good chance, looking back on the events that have led up to this point that this is all my fault.  I hope the Montreal locals don't find out about it until after I've come and gone.  I'll surely be lynched if they do.

I do have a plan to help counter this essence of evil I've released on the Canadiens in December.  I will take an extra passenger from Newfoundland and hope that his positive Karma will travel well and fill the Bell Centre upon his arrival.  He would be the newest IceCap, all-star game MVP, John Scott.  John, this past weekend, was the epitome of everything that is right about the game.  With grace and poise he handled a trade that attempted to bury him in the minors.  He eloquently, yet firmly put the NHL executives in their place.  Then proceeded to play the best hockey of his career.  Just his presence might remind the rest of the players everything there is to love about this game.  Remind the players to be thankful of their opportunity in the NHL because it can be fleeting.

If the infectious nature of John Scott's mere presence in the dressing room isn't enough maybe his presence on the bench might be.  The boobirds are out in Montreal and rightfully so.  There's only so much, knowledgeable hockey fans can take before they let you know about it.  If John Scott stepped onto the ice and did anything positive I have no doubt the positive energy would spill into the crowd.  We need that.  The players need to hear it too.  The positive energy that flowed through the blue, white, and red in the first quarter of the season has been sucked dry (either by waking up this blog or purchasing tickets for Superbowl Weekend).  Maybe John Scott could pummel someone at centre ice (not my cup of tea but at this point I'd be willing to try it) or stand in front of the opposition goal for some serious net presence.  On top of that, playing John Scott is actually a line option Michel Therrien hasn't tried yet this season (one of the few).

Regardless, the season, that started off with the whisperings of a Stanley Cup run that might have been, is, for all intents and purposes, over.  Carey Price is hurt and it isn't good.  It's likely not the groin injury we were all led to believe it was.  Word is now it's MCL on his right knee.  The same knee he hurt against the New York Rangers in 2014 (thanks Krieder).  Bergevin seems to be sticking to his guns and his support of Therrien.  It's likely Michel will get another shot at coaching Montreal this fall with a (hopefully) healthy Carey Price.  So forget about the post season this year.  Therrien is nothing without Price in the net and this team has quit.

It's not the end of the world.  I think we're so far out of it, I'm no longer worried about Bergevin making a stupid trade to save the season.  No matter what he does this season is lost. The price for Drouin was obviously too high (for a kid in his second season to quit on his AHL affiliate likely brought his value down lower than Yzerman was prepared to accept).  If we keep losing at this rate we will finish bottom three.  That's okay.  Auston Matthews is that good.  Maybe Bergevin sees the opportunity to draft that elusive top centreman this year.  Maybe he's going to let Therrien take one for the team, have us finish last, then sack him once we get this, potential, offensive juggernaut in our lineup.  Maybe doing the NHL a favour by taking John Scott all but assures the top draft in the "random lottery"  (wink, wink).

As much as they're frustrating the heck out of us they won't be this awful for long.  After all, they're not the Leafs.


On a personal note, I'm not sure I'll get a blog up tomorrow as I'll be prepping for my trip to La Belle Province.  I will have a very different perspective for a blog next week after seeing a game live.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Canadiens wrestle title of worst team away from Blue Jackets in spectacular fashion.

Date: 25/01/2016
Opponent: Columbus
Location: Columbus
Loss: 5-2

Habs Goalie: Condon (L)
Opposition Goalie: Korpisalo (W)

Habs goalscorers: Gallagher, Subban
Opposition goalscorers: Atkinson (3), Saad (2)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Two points off an old foe keep the Habs in the hunt

Date: 23/01/2016
Opponent: Toronto
Location: Toronto
Win: 3-2 (SO)

Habs Goalie: Condon (W)
Opposition Goalie: Reimer (L)

Habs goalscorers: Desharnais, Fleischmann
Opposition goalscorers: Kadri, Lupul

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Boston puts Montreal outside the looking glass

Date: 19/01/2016
Opponent: Boston
Location: Montreal
Loss: 4-1

Habs Goalie: Condon (L)
Opposition Goalie: Rask (W)

Habs goalscorers: Barberio
Opposition goalscorers: Talbot, Bergeron, Pasternak, Marchand

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Time for a Change

Week: 10/01/16 - 16/01/16
Opponent: Blackhawks (1-2), Blues (3-4OT), Blackhawks (2-5)
Locations: Montreal, St. Louis, Chicago
Record: 0-2-1

Habs Goalies: Condon 0-1-1, Scrivens 0-1
Opposition Goalies: Crawford, Elliot, Crawford

Habs goalscorers: Byron, Eller, Pacioretty (2), Plekanec, Subban
Habs playmakers: Beaulieu, Desharnais, Emelin, Gallagher (2), Markov, Pacioretty, Petry, Plekanec, Subban (2)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Montreal outclassed by defending champs

Date: 09/01/2016
Opponent: Chicago
Location: Chicago
Loss: 5-2

Habs Goalie: Scrivens (L)
Opposition Goalie: Crawford (W)

Habs goalscorers: Eller, Pacioretty
Opposition goalscorers: Panik, Toews (2), Kane, Hossa

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Habs leave St. Louis singin' the blue and yet again find a way to lose

Date: 09/01/2016
Opponent: St. Louis
Location: St. Louis
Loss: 4-3(OT)

Habs Goalie: Condon (L)
Opposition Goalie: Elliot (W)

Habs goalscorers: Subban, Pacioretty, Plekanec
Opposition goalscorers: Fabbri, Stastny, Rattie, Lehtera