If you’re on Twitter, you may want to think of arming yourself with some antidepressant before you start reading the hastags #Habs or #Canadiens as you may feel like jumping off a bridge in no time if you don’t.
Fire the coach! There’s no leadership in this dressing room! Desharnais is a punk and has no business being in the NHL! Bergevin should make trades even when other GMs don’t want to! Am I missing any?
Yes, we know, we know, the team has lost nine of it’s last ten games and since starting the season by winning their first nine games, they’re playing .500 hockey. Yes, we know, they should not miss the world’s best player and one of their best forwards, others should just step in and the team shouldn’t miss a beat as if those guys were in the line-up. We’ve read you, folks.
However, during their current struggles, someone who actually pays attention will also be able to admit that the team has been outplayed only twice, against two of the league’s best team in Dallas and Washington, both on the road. Also, someone who pays attention will also have noticed that aside from two more games where the game was pretty even, against Detroit and Minnesota, ALL of the other games were absolutely dominated by the Canadiens… with the exception of where it counts: on the scoreboard.
We know, we know… the only thing that counts is the score as moral victories won’t bring a playoffs spot, even less a Stanley Cup. That’s true. But if you have to lose, this is the best way to do it… even without your All-Star and one of your top forwards. Even the ANALitics will tell you that the Habs have suffered a string of bad luck and considering that most of them hate Therrien’s guts, it’s not a small thing.
But when your goaltenders have a saves percentage of .870 and your team is scoring at a mediocre 4-percent success rate, you have a recipe for disaster. The coach seems to have the players motivated. The game plan seems to be good considering the dominance. What goes, then?
PRICE CAN’T SCORE
That’s true… unfortunately. However, has anyone observed the games to the point of noticing the difference when Price is in goal, aside from the obvious game saving saves?
Carey Price is arguably the best at controlling his rebounds, at smothering the puck and not giving opponents second and third scoring opportunities. He’s so good that he is part of the opponents’ game plan, like Patrick Roy was. With him in goal, the defensemen aren’t afraid to jump into the play and support the offense, resulting into better quality scoring chances, and goals.
Further, the system when Price is in net is such that the defensemen peel to the corners and let him handle the puck behind his net. This has for effect to slow down or even eliminate the forecheck by opposing teams, and makes for easier breakouts out of the defensive zone, which often gives a better transition game and, at the same time, creates more quality scoring chances.
THE GOALIES ARE HOT
I haven’t made the calculations lately but after nine games in December, the opponents’ goaltenders had a save percentage of around .950, well above their season average.
Could anyone name someone in the NHL better at getting under a goaltender’s skin than Brendan Gallagher? I can’t. Is it possible that Gallagher would have occupied the opposing goalie and their defensemen enough to generate more goals? Considering that he had nine goals in 22 games, what are the odds that he would have put a few more into the net had he been there? And would the lines have been disrupted as much as they have been in his absence? Mmmmm…
So due to the panic by some fans, who can’t differentiate the forest from the tree, people are going nuts over the lift of the trade freeze and the possibility of Zack Kassian being traded. Some even look forward to Ben Scrivens coming to Montreal. While it’s a toss up between him and Dustin Tokarski, who has lost his mojo since the middle of last year, it’s not what we could call hearth shattering.
Oh, so you’re expecting a top-6 winger ala Wayne Simmonds? That should be easy, right? I’m sure that Ron Hextall is waiting by the phone hoping to get Kassian, Andrighetto and/or Tinordi for his proven 30-goals scorer under a good contract for a few more years, right?
What? If Bergevin can’t pull the trigger, he’s not doing his job and should be fired? Sure. He can pull a trade without a dance partner I’m sure. That’s how in works in NHL 2016 after all.