Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Have the Canadiens Learned a New System?

Oh, it's so tempting to jump on the immediate wagon of "told you sos". This is a favourite sport of Habs fans and bloggers. After years of being told we'd need a career to compare two players, the issue is now resolved for the majority that they have seen a few results go their way.

Guess what, many are at it again with a very good start to the season. Those that ever doubted Bourque, Therrien or Gionta must be shamed. Those that proposed faith in Desharnais and Kaberle should be doused in gasoline and lit up as heretics.

It's a vast overreaction to what has essentially been a series of very good bounces for the Canadiens.

Are your 15th place defending Canadiens really the 3rd best 5-5 outfit in the league with a 30% PP to boot? One would have to think that although the 1980s seem to have returned for a while, that there will be a come down for this team and the rest. Yet, it's also just as absurd to write notes about the disappointments of the season so far. 


A case in point is the ridiculous notion that the Canadiens are improved because their system is so cleverly altered since the last campaign. It's inane.

It was not silly to suggest that it would take time for a team of 20 to learn a new system under an entirely different group of coaches. And that was when we thought there would be a training camp. This team is what, 17 days into their time together. Simply not enough time. And, if it has been enough time to alter the play to fit the new demands so smoothly, then what is all the fuss about. Changes that can be absorbed in less than 2 weeks are nothing to crow from the rooftops about.

Let's face it, we'd all be taking the credit in Therrien's position too. But if there had been losses, guess what the mantra would have been: "it's going to take time and patience for the players to learn this system so that it will pay off."

I can't be uncategoric about it, but I'm willing to make a very strong suggestion that the system is not implanted in a group yet. Last night, there were some cracks papered over by some very fine and opportunistic shots (not to mention a pretty generous penalty drawn on home ice).


My point as always is not to suggest all of my own judgments or thoughts were well-founded. Quite the contrary, I'd love to be off base on many fronts rather than watch the putrid games of no hope again. Yet, why don't we take a minute to reserve some judgment on things. A team that's 4-1 is both a team with 4 times as many wins as losses (a guaranteed champion) and 3 more wins than losses (a playoff probability, not certainty). They've started well, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Remember Toronto (the past season, not the game).

Take all the pleasure you can from the wins, by all means. Adore watching Markov back in bleu, blanc, rouge, as I do. But be wary of those who tell you everything you were waiting to find out two weeks ago is now clearly resolved because of 4 games.

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