Santa Habs Naughty List

This is the season where kids everywhere are hoping for presents, even making their list and sending them to the North Pole for Santa to take into consideration. While most children do get presents, some have been just too nasty and naughty to get anything but… coal. As Santa Habs is reviewing the list from smaller and bigger kids, we have been asked to help Santa by providing him some feedback on who, in spite of their demanding ways, don’t deserve presents, and supporting our justification with the reasons why. Without further ado, let’s have a look at those who will likely be receiving coal this coming Christmas.

Brendan Kelly (The Gazette)

When showbizz is your bread and butter and you try to play sports writer, you tend to take your “skills” from the likes of TMZ and that’s just what Mr. Kelly does. Just about every tweet, every article that he writes has for sole purpose criticizing and putting down the Montreal Canadiens organization and/or the team General Manager Marc Bergevin. Why you might ask? Because they dared trading his favourite player over two years ago. Silly I know, but that’s what happened. There’s nothing wrong with showing displeasure in an action but when one can’t even admit the good things this organization has done since then, it makes you wonder “What the Puck” is wrong with this individual. No presents for you, Brendan Kelly!

Alex Galchenyuk’s father 

Alex Galchenyuk is filled with mad skills but for whatever reasons, he just couldn’t put it all together in Montreal. Some like blaming the organization, primarily former coach Michel Therrien, for playing him on the wing instead of at centre but that theory flew out the window a long time ago when a second experienced coach, a Stanley Cup winner nonetheless, Claude Julien, also decided that centre wasn’t for him. After he was traded to the Arizona Coyotes for Max Domi (what a trade!), they thought that they had a centre in their hands… until they too moved him to the wing. But that’s not all on the player. We found out that his father had too much to do with his son’s development (or lack of thereof) as Chucky was texting with him in between period during NHL games! Dad had too much negative influence on his son and ultimately, it’s his son who’s paying the price! No presents for you, Mr. Galchenyuk!

Alexander Radulov 

Uncle Scrooge McDuck Radulov

“I love Montreal, I love the fans”, was Alexander Radulov claiming… until he was presented a contract in January but he chose to inform Bergevin that he wanted to test the UFA market in July. Then, he wanted well north of $7 million per season to continue his love of the Canadiens, which the Habs weren’t willing to pay (and rightfully so). The Canadiens were offering him the same contract that Radulov accepted from the Dallas Stars (5 years, around $31 million). So while Radulov loved Montreal, he forgot who gave him his chance to make a comeback in the NHL and he clearly loved money even more as you see, Dallas doesn’t have state tax. Shame on those who distort that story by blaming the organization. Radulov didn’t want to be hated and that’s why he lied about this whole story. He didn’t want to be seen as the Uncle Scrooge McDuck that he is. No presents for you, Mr. Radulov! 

Max Pacioretty and Allan Walsh

When you ask to be traded when you’re the team captain, after the organization supported you in your dispute with P.K. Subban, and then you deny it, it speaks of your character (or lack of thereof). When you change agents like you change underwear, it says even more. Yes, you signed at rebate in your last contract but you didn’t have a gun to your head and no, it’s not to the organization to “make it up” for you. Particularly not when you pout and put a half-ass effort out there, scoring 17 goals in a season. The Captain is supposed to be the last one jumping ship, not the one asking to get off first. Fans have no doubt that you and your crooked agent have asked for a trade. You got your money in Vegas. Enjoy. We, in Montreal, certainly enjoy Tomas Tatar, and will enjoy Nick Suzuki and whomever we will draft in the second round from that trade. No presents for you, Max Pacioretty and Allan Walsh

Marc Bergevin Haters

Yes you, who went on the warpath against Bergevin after he selected Jesperi Kotkaniemi, pretending that you knew more than the professionals hired to do that job, shame on you! Yes you, who took the same path by dissing Max Domi after the Canadiens traded for him, shipping Galchenyuk to the desert, you are no better (some being the same people). Isn’t it great when your ignorance and lack of hockey knowledge is thrown back in your face by seeing it posted everywhere? There’s a lesson to learn here: take a deep breath and do the reasonable thing… wait and see how it pans out before jumping off the Jacques-Cartier bridge! No presents for you, self-proclaimed knowledgeable hockey fans!

NHL Referees

The officiating in this league is absolutely brutal and it has been since they decided to go the the two-referees system. It is so painful for all fans around the league, not just for Habs’ fans, that every single game, someone is complaining. Enough with the incompetence as it’s time for the league to recognize their mistake and revert back to a different system instead of having incompetent people making key decision on the game. Also, linesmen, fans don’t play $200 per ticket to see you put on a show by randomly chasing players from the faceoffs’ circle. DROP THE PUCK! No presents for you, stripes!x

Now to all of those who form the vast majority of Habs’ fans, media members and people around the NHL, may Santa Habs bring you what you deserve: health, love and success in what you do. We’ll all be chanting together: Go Habs Go!

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Habs’ Success Comes At A Price

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Remember the days when goaltending was winning Stanley Cups in Montreal? Back when Jacques Plante was the back bone of the team in the 60’s? Or when Ken Dryden, although playing behind a pretty darn good defense, was stellar and could be counted on as a key player in the 70’s? Perhaps you haven’t had the fortune to watch those guys, but you were born to see Patrick Roy work miracles in the late 80’s and early 90’s? No? Then you had to be alive when Carey Price earned just about every hardware available in the NHL back in 2015, right?

Truth be told, goaltending is a key position and has been on this team for as long as its glorious history goes back. Team General Manager Marc Bergevin knew that he had a special player in his hands in Price and he didn’t hesitate to make him the richest goaltender of all-time with an shiny eight-year, $84 million contact which kicks in this season. Unfortunately for Bergevin, his star goaltender is losing his mojo and when you invest so much into one player, you are fully entitled to expect him to be the best player on your team. No ifs and buts about it.

After signing that lucrative contract over a year ago, Price was not only below average last season, he was amongst the worst starting goaltenders in the entire NHL statistically speaking. A lot was explained due to an under-performing group, particularly the defensive corp in front of him but to Price’s own admission, he can do much better.

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Bergevin has invested a lot of money on Carey Price

After the season, Bergevin spoke about the “attitude” in the dressing room having to change. His comment wasn’t clear back then but it certainly got clearer during the summer months when he traded Alex Galchenyuk, a talented goals’ scorer also known for taking shifts and nights off. And it then became crystal clear when rumours got rampant about captain Max Pacioretty being on the block, leading to his departure for Las Vegas a few weeks ago. Anyone will tell you that Pacioretty looked disinterested last season, and he gave up on his team, at least effort-wise. Connor McDavid was playing on a bad team and he never took a shift off. That’s the attitude Bergevin was referring to.

We folks, Price also gave up on his team. Like Pacioretty, his body language and effort-level clearly showed his disinterest. His second and third effort that we were accustomed to seeing since the arrival of goaltending coach StĂ©phane Waite, they were gone and were replaced by the old habits of ‘going through the motions’.

Hybrid vs Butterfly

I’ve been following the career of Carey Price since the Canadiens drafted him back in 2005 and I was fortunate to live in Western Canada, home of the WHL and the Tri-City Americans, where Price played his junior years. I’ve loved and supported the guy since then and I became rather angry at Roland Melanson who tried changing Price’s style to a pure butterfly, almost ruining him in my opinion. You see, back in junior, Price was mix between what we call the hybrid style (Martin Brodeur) and the butterfly style (Patrick Roy) and Melanson only knew the later, so he started messing up with Price’s natural style, what made him the goalie that he was. This lead to Price’s struggles in the early going of his career. The truth is to be successful in the NHL, you have to make slight adjustments to a goalie’s style, not start from scratch. As soon as  you start thinking too much instead of relying on instincts, the puck is behind you as a goalie.

Bergevin hired someone in Waite who can work with many styles, someone who will teach mental preparation, raise the ‘compete level’ and fix minor bad habits. While the NHL thought they had found ‘the book’ on Price by scoring high, glove side, Waite also fixed that at the time. Under Waite, Price returned to being his old self, a mix of hybrid and butterfly. He stood on shots coming from far with no traffic in front. He went to a butterfly when there was traffic in front to cover most of the net. He was fighting for every puck. He was getting in his opponents’ head.

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Price needs to refocus and listen to Waite

Last year though, for whatever reason, we noticed Price reverting to his Melanson style. Beat up glove side more often than not, compete level non-existant (for the most part), a real change in attitude and it lead to the dismal season we saw from him. It’s like he stopped listening to Waite, or he didn’t care anymore. I would be willing to bet that he was one of the athletes on the team Bergevin was pointing the finger to with the ‘attitude’ comment and that the goalie and the GM had a heart-to-heart before summer. The Canadiens invested too much money in him for Price to drop the ball on them like that and it was made clear.

Unfortunately for the team and for the fans, I’m noticing the same style in this pre-season and that folks, doesn’t look good. It’s a bad vibe. He is on his knees on every shot again, no matter where it comes from. He’s getting beat high, glove side too often. His lateral movement is slow and his compete level… well… non-existant. True that he doesn’t have Calgary’s defense ahead of him, or Nashville’s, or San Jose’s, but he’s certainly supposed to be superior to Mike Smith, Pekka Rinne and Martin Jones too. And he’s getting paid accordingly!

Price has been vastly outplayed by Antti Niemi so far, and seems to be battling more to the level of Charlie Lindgren for the backup spot. I’m talking performances here folks. There’s no way Price isn’t the starter in Montreal. He is very much capable to returning to form. But he’s certainly raising red flags for yours truly. The team in front of him is hard working team and they need their best player to join the ranks because right now, we’re far from Plante, Dryden or Roy’s calibre of play. Go Habs Go!