Will Bergevin Let History Repeat Itself?

The date: November 25, 2015. Montreal Canadiens’ goaltender Carey Price left the game, having played 40 minutes against the New York Rangers. It was Price’s 12th game of the season. He would eventually get shut down for the season and the Canadiens missed the playoffs. The date: December 16, 2017. Montreal had just finished playing the Ottawa Senators which turned out to be Shea Weber‘s last game of the season. You guessed it, the Canadiens did not make the playoffs and got to select third overall at the next Entry Draft because of it. Weber would miss the first 2 1/2 months of the following season and guess what? The Canadiens missed the playoffs again, this time by four points.

Aside from having key players out of the lineup for extended periods of time and missing the playoffs in each occasion, what do those three events all have in common? Each time, Canadiens’ General Manager Marc Bergevin was either unable or unwilling to pay the asking price to help his coach and ultimately his team get over such important losses in the lineup, letting them fend to themselves and battle through the adversity only to see them fall flat on their face.

Fast forward to this season, on November 15th. The Canadiens played an almost perfect game to dominate the Washington Capitals, in Washington nonetheless, by the score of 5-2. That impressive win didn’t come without a high cost as they’ve lost two key players in the process: Jonathan Drouin needed wrist surgery while Paul Byron had to have surgery performed on his knee. Since that impressive win and just as impressive loss in terms of players, the Canadiens have yet to win a game in four tries, compiling a record of 0-2-2. To make matters worse, all of those losses were against teams who, at the time, were playing for 500 or less…

Will Marc Bergevin pick up the phone and make a trade?

With only one goal and three assists in 19 games, there is no denying that Byron was not having a good start to this season. He had been playing much better however in November and his ice time went up accordingly. Further, he’s an assistant captain on the team, one of the leaders of the club.

Drouin was having his best start since joining the Canadiens. You could see him being more implicated and his efforts at both ends of the ice were starting to get noticed even by his biggest critiques. His 15 points in 19 games had him at the top of the Canadiens’ list offensively and he and Joel Armia were the biggest surprises on Claude Julien‘s roster at that point.

All on Bergevin

Every single point is important and seeing the way the Canadiens surrendered a 4-0 lead and losing 6-5 to the New York Rangers on Saturday night, a team that had lost 4-1 to the Ottawa Senators 24 hours earlier, was the peak of embarrassment for the players, the coaching staff, the fans and, hopefully to the General Manager and team President as well. It was simply pathetic and, truthfully, unexcusable.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” ~ Albert Einstein

It is now in Marc Bergevin’s hands and his only. There is no doubt that he has done an excellent job since taking over as we have recently detailed on this blog, but his downfall is his inaction, or unwillingness to adapt in-season, on the fly, as needs occur when they occur. Bergevin has 12 picks at the upcoming Entry Draft and the cupboards are filled with quality prospects. His core of players, aside from Price and Weber, are young and talented. He now has the assets to make a move or two.

Will he have learned from his past inaction and results because of it, or will he try to help the players and his coaches by bringing in reinforcement via trade before it’s too late? Time will tell but rest assured that the players on the team, key players like Price and Weber, are taking notes. If Bergevin does nothing once again and the Habs miss the playoffs, you can expect to have some very unhappy veterans, fans and members of the media and I, for one, won’t blame them one bit. Go Habs Go!

7 thoughts on “Will Bergevin Let History Repeat Itself?

  1. Moving Prospects for Band-Aid solutions for a team that even if Drouin and Byron were healthy is not winning anything for the next 2 to 3 years would be foolish. If Habs fans really want to win the cup they have to be patient and understand that it’s still a three-year process. The real move at this point given that Primeau is looking like the real deal is to wait until the draft and deal price and Weber and that is IF you can, but even with them we’re not winning for three years minimum by which time their trade value is greatly diminished…. so the time is at this yrs draft to move them and continue to be patient and build for the three-year window.

    1. What you’re advancing, Jon, is very much defendable but I have to disagree. I’m not talking about getting rental players here. I’m talking about a show of will, a gesture that Weber and Price will appreciate. On Twitter today, I was giving two examples:
      Shayne Gostisbehere: Healthy scratch for a few games now. His value is at an all-time low.
      Tyler Toffoli: Rumors had him on the market earlier on. He’s been playing better in November though. Pending UFA, he won’t cost you what a Taylor Hall would yet, he would bring some quality depth, particularly with Drouin out.
      With 12 picks coming up and will the bank of prospects as they are, sacrificing a few won’t hurt… quite the contrary. It would go a long way.

      1. JD- I appreciate your reply very much although I can’t say I agree with it. It’s not a matter of me needing or wanting to win a conversation or convert you over to my way of thinking, I just think that no matter who we pick up we’re not going to win a cup for the next 3 years so I’m not even sure that guys like to Toffoli or Gostisbehere are going to convince price or weber that this is going to get us over the top. And I would say the same thing for hall. I just don’t think the team is yet constructed in a balanced way(skill/size/ grit ratio) so that one or two quality veterans is going to push us over the top. My contention is we are in fact three years away with guys like Suzuki, kotka and Poehling all 3 years from really really producing at the NHL level …and then of course you have the guys below them in the AHL and Junior and NCAA and Europe who will similarly take three or four years. By that time price will be 35-36 Webber 39 and their trade value will be zero AND we will not have won a cup so I don’t see the point in keeping them on when they have value now but won’t later. Price wants to win now and I understand that and feel for him and same for weber ….Also if Primo turns out to be the real deal he’s not going to be content sitting as a back up in three and four years from now…. also if Primeau turns out to be the real deal he’s not going to be content sitting as a back up in three and four years from now.

        I actually think we’re not as bad as Some people might think but I think we could use one or two more unbelievable drafts of being in the top five or top 10 because I think in year three from now we will be ready to really compete. I know we have 12 pics coming up and that’s great but we need quality and you can only really get top quality in the top end of the first round.

        Best- jon

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