By JD Lagrange – As my colleague JAG so eloquently described it, the 2021 playoffs’ run by our beloved Montreal Canadiens was epic, to say the least. Wait, are young folks still using that term to describe how exciting and entertaining that run was for us, Habs’ fans? Next, I’ll turn my hat sideways and wear my pants halfway down my butt showing my underwear! Nah, let’s say that it was electric, breathtaking, heroic, impressive, stimulating, thrilling, mind-blowing, sensational…
But it came at a cost. In fact, this playoffs’ push that saw us so invigorated was the beginning of the end for not only our hopes, but for many people in the Canadiens’ organization. Shea Weber, Carey Price, Joel Edmundson, Paul Byron didn’t start the season
Carey Price had knee surgery after that playoffs’ run. He missed most of last season, coming back on April 15th. He played five games in total but the swelling in his knee came back, and according to Canadiens’ GM Kent Hughes, he will likely miss the entire 2022-23 season. His career could very well be in jeopardy.
Much like his good friend and teammate Price, Shea Weber payed the ultimate price by playing with many injuries, including some very serious ones, for the hope of bringing the Canadiens their 25th Stanley Cup. The captain missed all season and is basically waiting to announce his retirement, due to injuries.
Joel Edmundson missed the first 57 games of the season. One of the four Clydesdales – as qualified by coach Dominique Ducharme – with Weber, Ben Chiarot and Jeff Petry, he was monumental in the Canadiens’ playoffs’ push. His back took a beating for it.
Paul Byron‘s first game of the season didn’t come until January 30th. He played one game, missed a few thereafter. Today, he’s unsure about his future (hip)
Brendan Gallagher, a regular 30-goals’ scorer the past few seasons, only managed to play a total of 56 games last season. His production dropped to seven goals. He wasn’t the shadow of his old self,
Jeff Petry was relatively healthy but a combination of short rest, over-use, playing in a position (first pairing) he’s not cut for, missing his defense partner Edmundson and missing his family who stayed in the US to get help with the kids, all contributed to his worst season since joining the Canadiens.
Further, General Manager Marc Bergevin, Assistant-GMs Trevor Timmins and Scott Mellanby, as well as head coach Dominique Ducharme have all lost their job over that playoffs’ run. Well, they didn’t lose their job because they made it that far in the playoffs, but they sure did because of the repercussions and side effects, the devastating losses caused by that run. They too paid the ultimate price.
That Stanley Cup run came in like a tsunami. It swept everything with it, good and bad, putting us through a range of emotions only limited by our imagination and where we, Canadiens’ fans, stood on different topics. But it did leave a devastating mess behind it. Had the team been able to reach their goal, fans would all claim that it was well worthwhile. But because they ran out of juice against a team that was $18 million over the cap, many are left with a sour taste in their mouth.
So fans, members of the media, before you throw stones at any player, coach or GM, think about the sacrifices these guys have made for the Montreal Canadiens, the fans and the City of Montreal. They made us proud. They brought us feelings that we haven’t felt in years. And they came oh so close. Many paid the ultimate price to make it happen.
Be lenient, understanding and show a little bit of compassion instead of jumping on the bash train. “Oh but it’s their job” simply won’t cut it. It will only make YOU look bad.