The Myth of Accepting Defeat

By JD Lagrange – Perception or reality? Each individual has his or her own perception of reality. The implication is that because each of us perceives the world through our own eyes, reality itself changes from person to person. While it’s true that everyone perceives reality differently, reality couldn’t care less about our perceptions.

According to José Théodore (and a few other people), the Canadiens’ players and coaching staff are too comfortable and too accepting of their team losing. They see the coaches and players smiling and having fun so to them, that behaviour means that the organization accepts defeat with a smile instead of getting upset about it.

Based on that, the question is to know if the perception matches the reality. In order to do that, let’s look at a few factors:

  • Montreal finished dead last overall less than a year ago. What were the expectations of winning coming into this season?
  • For the second season in a row, the Canadiens will finish with the most man-games lost to injuries (including to key players) in the entire NHL.
  • The Habs started the season with four rookies on the blue line, and for a big portion of the season, five of their six starters on defense were rookies.
  • Jake Allen was acquired from the St. Louis Blues to be Carey Price’s backup. Due to Carey’s injury, he has been forced into a starter role that is really not his.
  • The past two seasons, the Canadiens have lost their best two right-handed defensemen in Shea Weber and Jeff Petry. David Savard has played all season in the wrong chair as the team’s number one RD. We can all admit that he’s not a top pairing guy.
  • Samuel Montembeault was a waiver pick-up, so he was sent to the AHL. He’s done better than expected, but he is not a consistent, proven NHL goaltender. Certainly not a starter.
  • Pending UFAs Jonathan Drouin and Evgenii Dadonov didn’t play like guys playing for a contract next year.
  • Brendan Gallagher (injuries) and Mike Hoffman did not have a good season.

So let me ask you this… Considering all of the factors above-mentioned, what should be the expectations of winning for this team? I think that even José Théodore and company will be smart enough to acknowledge that they are slim to none.

Admittedly, that’s not what they’re debating however. They don’t like to see players smile and feel like the team takes losing lightly. I get that. I do feel that it’s a choice that they are making, by remaining positive.

With such a young team, trying to develop young players on the fly, Martin St-Louis and Kent Hughes have decided to not panic and instead of snapping at a team that’s not supposed to win, they remain positive. You see, the people in charge have chosen to focus on progress, and they’ve said so in many occasions.

Sitting players, benching them after mistakes, focussing on the negative, the mistakes – which come with young players – and by punishing them, they would remove the fun in the game. That would create a negative energy in the dressing room, which wouldn’t be conducive to learning and playing together as a team.

Now if the team was supposed to be a contender, I would fully agree with Théo and those who don’t like players accepting defeat. Force is to admit that not only isn’t it the case, but by keeping a positive environment to develop and build on is, in fact, the best strategy… for the time being, under the current circumstances.

People can rest assured that when the pressure of winning is turned on, we will see a slightly different approach from all involved. The mistake right now is to mistake their behaviour with “not caring” or “being complacent in defeat”. It’s truly not the case. Most of these guys have learned under Shea Weber and Carey Price and no one hated losing more than these two.

One thought on “The Myth of Accepting Defeat

  1. The very fact that we have won so many close games tells me the opposite is true. I like the hard work and close games won and lost. I believe that St-Louis and those who play for him will never tolerate losing. We see what we believe.

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