When Will It Be Enough?

It’s been a season of misery, no doubt. A season which led to a complete revamping of the 7th floor at the Bell Centre. One that has brought in a new Vice-President of Hockey Operation, a new General Manager, a new Vice-President of Communication. And that’s all fine and dandy. But following this team has become painful. An embarrassment. Something that fans simply don’t deserve.

For the most part, fans are okay with seeing the team lose more games than they will win. Fans in general understand and support change. But what every single Habs’ fan cannot stand for, is seeing their team getting completely outplayed and look like they don’t even belong in the NHL, with a sub-par effort and getting blown out game in, game out. When is enough… enough?

Even tougher stretch

Since coming back from their COVID break on December 28th, the Canadiens have allowed five goals or more in 9 of the 14 games that they played. During that stretch, they have won one game and they’ve been outscored 70-33. They’ve allowed on average 37.5 shots per game. 

Dec. 28TBL45
Dec. 30CAR04
Jan. 1FLA25
Jan. 12BOS15Allen injured
Jan. 13CHI23
Jan. 17ARI25Primeau pulled
Jan. 18DAL53Outshot 51-22
Jan. 20VEG34Outshot 53-27
Jan. 22COL23Outshot 46-30
Jan. 24MIN28Primeau pulled
Jan. 27ANA45Primeau pulled
Jan. 29EDM27Montembeault pulled
Jan. 30CBJ36Montembeault pulled
Feb. 8NJD17

During that stretch, the goaltenders have been pulled a total of six times. In those, one of them was due to Jake Allen getting hurt after allowing two goals on… seven shots. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all on the goaltenders, far from there. The defense is like a colander and the support from forwards is often soft, even non-existant. The system (if we can call it that) preached by the coaching staff is either not applied by the players or simply ineffective.

The Canadiens did face some good teams, granted, but they also got ridiculed by teams no better than them (or so we thought) like Arizona and New Jersey, who had played the night before.

Laval bound

How long can management wait? For the first time of the season, I shut the TV off last night against New Jersey after the second period. I have had enough. If it weren’t for the passion that I have for this team, for this game, I don’t know that I would be watching until management finally does something… anything! One thing I do know is that status quo isn’t enough anymore.

Cole Caufield

Players are coming back, particularly up front. Cole Caufield must be sent back to Laval, where he can regain confidence. Oh he’s far from being the worst player out there! But he’s not producing and his confidence as a goals’ scorer is inexistant. It is crucial that he regains it and he can do just that in the AHL. He will become a good player, but he’s not there yet. Don’t give me the playoffs’ performances. That’s in the past. He’s not there today.

Perhaps the Canadiens’ biggest need is to find a way to send Cayden Primeau back down as well before they ruin him. He was progressing nicely this season and while it’s not the organisation’s fault if both Price and Allen are out, keeping the young man up is detrimental to him, and possibly devastating for the organisation long term. Even if it means signing 31 year-old Kevin Poulin to a NHL contract, he has more experience and isn’t part of the future.

Coaching and trades

EDIT: Update – The Canadiens have relieved Dominique Ducharme of his head coaching duties…

(From this morning)… This will please some and won’t please others, but it’s time for a coaching change. There is no doubt that Dominique Ducharme never got a fair shot, as we’ve explored on this blog. But at the same time, this team needs a new voice behind the bench. Perhaps someone with more experience. It’s not like there’s a shortage of quality candidates available!

Last but not least, it’s time for Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton to start pulling the trigger on a deal or two. The waiver wire is all fine and dandy, but those players are sent down for a reason. Most of the time, it’s either because they’re not good enough for the NHL or not ready. It’s time to trade away some assets, at least one, to shake things up a bit. It’s like players are expecting it to happen and they’re just waiting…

It also would show the fans that there are things happening. It would give fans hope that better days are coming. Status quo simply doesn’t do that. Fans need something. Many were expecting something to happen during the last eight days off, but it didn’t. Seeing how the team reacted coming back, it’s painfully obvious that something needs to change. The ball is in your court, Mr. Hughes.

More reading…

Seravalli: 5 Canadiens’ Players Most Likely to Leave

Somewhat Surprisingly Quiet Week Off

Tourigny Sets Record Straight on Prospects Development

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