By JD Lagrange – Hockey is a winter sport and we, in Canada, are used to seeing snow and feeling the cold invade our lives during winter months. After a rather hot start to the season, Canadians – and Habs’ fans – might have been expecting the team to cool off a bit. But few could have anticipated Montreal to turn into a block of ice in December.
On November 28th, Martin St-Louis had his team playing well enough to be in the middle of the pack of all NHL teams. At the time, the Canadiens were 15th overall in points percentage, two games over the respectable .500 mark.
But since then, it has been a disaster. Of course, injuries to a few key veterans has been a big contributor to the team losing a few more games, but few would have predicted that they would fall that low.
|UP TO NOV. 28||SINCE NOV. 29|
|.548 (15th)||PTS %||.343 (30th)|
|2.95 (21st)||GF/GP||2.13 (30th)|
|3.48 (24th)||GA/GP||4.06 (31st)|
|16.4% (29th)||PP %||14.6% (31st)|
|80.0% (12th)||PK %||68.8% (29th)|
|51.3% (12th)||FO %||48.7% (22nd)|
|18th overall||Standings||26th overall|
The goaltenders have been sub-par and the defense atrocious. One can blame the fact that they’ve had four or five rookies at the blue line but it’s been the case all season. There have been a multitude of costly turnovers and missed assignments in the defensive zone, all contributing to not helping the goaltenders.
- They have allowed five (5) or more goals in six of their last 14 games.
- They have allowed seven (7) goals or more in three (3) games during that stretch.
- Not surprisingly, they have allowed the most goals per game of all NHL teams in those 14 games.
And it’s not much better offensively…
- Cole Caufield has scored goals in only three (3) of his last 10 games, which includes two two-goals games.
- Nick Suzuki has one goal, three (3) points in his last 11 games.
- Kirby Dach has two (2) assists in his last seven (7) games.
- Josh Anderson has one goal in his last nine (9) games.
- Juraj Slafkovsky is pointless in his last eight games.
- Mike Hoffman has found the back of the net only once in his last 10 games.
For multiple reasons, I don’t believe that the team is throwing games (the definition of tanking). Fans, in general, can accept defeat, particularly in a rebuilding year. But the way this team has been blown out of games is completely unacceptable. In fact, it is starting to resemble the last few weeks under Dominique Ducharme… and that is not right.
Not long ago, fans were all saying that even when losing, this team was fun to watch, they never gave up, they were always in games and competing. It’s not the case anymore. What is happening right now is detrimental to the development and the confidence of the Canadiens’ young players.
Something has to happen and soon, before this way of losing creates permanent damage. What should be done? Your guess is as good as mine and we will explore some options in the next few days, I’m sure. In the meantime, there are people getting paid big bucks to find solutions and it’s their job to ensure that the team doesn’t slide into a devastating spiral.
December has been cold, very cold, and management must do everything in its power to avoid frostbite and… amputation.