Habs Accept Losing Culture

The Habs made a mistake keeping Lefebvre for another year (Photo: CBC)

The Habs made a mistake keeping Lefebvre for another year (Photo: CBC)

When Marc Bergevin and company announced that Sylvain Lefebvre would be back next year for the farm team, it struck a nerve across the fan base that have been waiting for his dismissal for quite awhile. Keeping Lefebvre sends the message that the Canadiens have accepted a losing culture in the minors.

There are many reasons why players play the game, however, the main one is to win. It doesn’t matter what level you currently play at, once you have stepped onto that fresh sheet of ice, your desire to win the game is at the highest capacity. Unfortunately for those who had high hopes for Montreal’s AHL affiliate over the last number of seasons, that winning mentality has pretty much gone out the window, down a cliff and into the depths of the ocean.

The AHL is a league for players to develop, right? Of course it is. However, it’s easier to develop when you have a competent coaching staff and you’re not losing all the time as you fall into poor habits. Toronto’s affiliate, the Marlies, have had strong campaigns recently and it seems to be something of importance to their upper management. Those players that have earned call ups have not looked out of place and are also used in situations that cater to their abilities.

Flip back to recent years with Lefebvre in charge of the Hamilton Bulldogs and now, the St. John’s IceCaps. This coach did not have success prior to coming into this role and he still has not figured it out, so why continue employing a man that looks visibly lost behind the bench? The Bulldogs did not make the playoffs in the season prior to Lefebvre (Jodoin was the coach and somehow received a promotion to the Habs following a 34-35-2-5 record) and have not been back since. Hamilton had never missed the playoffs for two straight years in their history until Sly was in charge. You read that correctly.

Other organizations would have given him the boot by now for underperforming with capable rosters, especially the teams he has had in the last two years. Sure, there have been injuries and call ups to Montreal which has left Lefebvre with an incomplete lineup and a number of guys on PTOs, but it’s the fact that prior to these things occurring, he still could not get them to win. At times his decisions for lines as well as who plays in net on any given night have been baffling at best (ex. Leblanc playing with Stortini and Hagel or starting Robert Mayer often). A player should have a chance to create chemistry with his linemates, not come to play a 3-in-3 on the weekend and find himself with a completely different line each night, with the same players available to select from. It truly is something else. I’ve never witnessed a coach keep his job this long without getting results.

Speaking of results, the organization seems satisfied with this losing culture because they believe the development of the prospects have been on course. Folks like to give Lefebvre the thumbs up for Brendan Gallagher, which is wrong to do so. Gally hardly played any games with the farm and then made the jump once the lockout was over. This cannot be attributed to Sly’s coaching. Gallagher was ready for the NHL, he just could not play there right away due to the stoppage. As for other young players, they have not been given a full chance to succeed yet with Montreal or have not seen proper usage from the farm team’s bench boss. Daniel Carr has played the same way in the AHL and NHL as he did in college, therefore, I can’t give my support to Lefebvre. As for a guy like Charles Hudon, he was strong in junior and it has translated over to the AHL, but for some reason isn’t getting an actual opportunity with the Habs.

Hockey is a business. A business requires results and the AHL affiliate lacks results over Lefebvre’s entire tenure. Let’s take a quick glance at their records since he has been coach:

Lefebvre's tenure with the IceCaps/Bulldogs

Lefebvre’s tenure with the IceCaps/Bulldogs

Acceptable? Not at all. Furthermore, the Canadiens should be hiring a coach that could later on be promoted to the big club and potentially take over the head coaching duties there. Lefebvre doesn’t fit the bill.

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3 Responses to Habs Accept Losing Culture

  1. The Habs will continue along as the FRENCH Canadian joke of a franchise. Bergevin and Therrien have the audacity to call out some or all the players for their lack of collective effort which has caused this losing season. However, there is NO ACCOUNTABILITY when it comes to the coaching staffs here and on the Rock + the General Manager. To the same extent is the owner Geoff Molson. Why has he not adopted a “FRENCH” names so that he can fit in this exclusive club of losers. Sr. Management is expected to hold the Coaching staffs responsible for what goes on the ice. Instead they point fingers everywhere except at themselves. This isn’t even comical now with the way the franchise is being run by the Village Idiots.
    I can just see Therrien next fall explaining to Bergevin that DD is going back to the #1 Centre role on the top line. Because he only lost that role briefly to Gally27 because he had a boo boo on his foot and couldn’t play. The funny thing is MB will go along with it because as MT says: “Gally27 has no ‘chemistry’ with his linemates.” We have become a reincarnation of the Leaf teams from 1968 to 2014-15 seasons rolled into one.

    Ned Stark, Warden of the North April 17, 2016 at 4:52 am Reply
  2. The fact that SLV is so unsuccessful as a coach is a further indictment of Therrien’s system. SLV is forced to play the same system as Therrien so that Montreal’s AHL based players are ready to insert seamlessly into the big club. And just as Therrien was ultimately unsuccessful with this so called system, so too SLV is unsuccessful with this same system. Two clubs, same system; does Bergevin really need any more evidence that MT and his non-adaptable system are wrong for the Habs? He tried this same nonsense in Pitt with two of the best players in the NHL (Malkin and Crosby) and it failed. It hasn’t and worn’t work with Montreal. Both coaches should be fired.

    jd April 18, 2016 at 12:18 am Reply
  3. The problem started with Bergevin. As Bergevin himself said, winning at the AHL level is not a priority; instead, it’s being prepared for that elusive callup. I have never heard of so much BS in all my 67 years! Lefebvre coaches these boys to lose. That’s right….to lose! How? The same idiotic system Pat hes praises so stupidly, the same infuriating blender Therrien uses, the same lack of accountability….the same lack of pride. Oh, there’s pride alright – pride in what once was, but is now but a distant memory; but certainly no pride in self. These boys are not taught a winning attitude, a winning culture. And so, they develop low expectations. In Montreal, the goal is to make the playoffs….not good enough!Living through the heyday of the Habs – the 50’s through 70s – we came to expect a run at the Cup, not making the playoffs!! Not good enough! And these amateurs and former journeymen defensemen running the show are not good enough, Mr. MOLSON! And if you think they are, then you are not good enough….a disgrace to the legend of Hartland D. Molson. It’s time to stand up for the legacy….fire Lefebvre, Therrien, Bergevin, and their ilk…now!!!

    Bart Van Eyk June 2, 2016 at 7:07 am Reply

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