Habs State Of The Franchise: #DernierePourLafreniere

My fellow observers,


It is a strange thing to view the 2017-18 season as a fond time.  However, perception was clear and grounded as spring progressed into summer that year.  Eyes across Montreal looked upon teams in the playoffs and realized that the crop of Canadiens that they saw in that time were not remotely close to being competitive.  The collective mind from all around was that there was a need for the Montreal Canadiens to rebuild and to do so properly; flaws were acknowledged and the path to addressing such needs was understood.


“It’s Hell trying to get to Heaven.”


A new season came about and the faithful mass scoffed when Geoff Molson, Marc Bergevin and the powers that be suggested that they expected the 2018-19 incarnation of the Montreal Canadiens to be competitive.  While it would not be long before many turned around and began to agree, so ended the hope for a true fix of any long term nature for the Habs.  The 2018-19 season ended up being a curse in disguise as the list of those open minded to a rebuild –one that the powers that be refused to acknowledge the idea of– dwindled to a well informed few.


With the Canadiens brass vowing to be more transparent and communicative, an official statement being made would benefit this franchise.  Any announcement or reminder of their vision and how they expect to get there is paramount and action will need to be taken.  With a reasonably sound start for the Habs prior to their current skid, they have already done damage to their chances in the draft lottery.  Those with the memory of a goldfish will insistently be unable to gut through what it takes to succeed long term, content instead to sit in purgatory with the idea that mediocrity is excellence.


Legacy bias influences those with rose colored glasses to say that Carey Price deserves better, that he is not remotely at fault and that he has carried them through the trenches of mediocrity for a decade.  Mediocrity is not a goal, it is not acceptable and lifting any unit along the way to only such a level is not an accomplishment.  Right now, he has played too many games where spectators are left saying “if he is in form and his best self, he does not let that in.”


At some point, he has to make a save.  The horror story numbers being showcased by Carey Price tell the story.  This is a hellacious era in which goaltending cannot buy wins but it cannot be had without it.  Be it the ineptitude of management to complement such a player or their unwillingness to do Carey Price the alleged justice of allowing his success elsewhere, this era reeks of failure and the constant has been ownership.  The Montreal Canadiens, this side of Patrick Roy, have largely been a product that is not strong enough to succeed as they once did but just good enough to perpetuate Molson’s beer sales.


Shea Weber was off to the rockiest of starts to begin the season but has largely righted the ship on his end of things.  The analytics community that insists that Jeff Petry is the Habs best defenceman is dead silent when actual game footage shows Petry floundering and either unaware or trying to do too much and failing for several games throughout the season.  Victor Mete and Cale Fleury are two starkly different yet both outstandingly good kids that are part of the solution but the burden cannot be theirs alone to bear.  Ben Chiarot has looked strong at times but his ceiling is only so high.  The list goes on with the abundance of back end question marks and each one compounds the next.


The forward unit has shown capability but when Jonathan Drouin went down, their production went with him.  For so many players that could be considered “the straw that stirs the drink” Max Domi and Brendan Gallagher have found themselves as passengers too many times this season, Gallagher admitting he was such in a dismal performance against the New York Rangers.  Paul Byron has found himself on the shelf and under the knife next to Drouin and it has to have been something that was plaguing him from the start of the season because he looked like a lot of things, himself not being one of those things.  Phillip Danault on the top line is eerily reminiscent of Tomas Plekanec on the top line: hell of a player but certainly over his head and out of his depth.  Failure to learn from the resemblance of history will cause it to be repeated.


When it rains, it pours.


It is not unrealistic to expect or demand a greater level of excellence and a higher quality product in the Montreal Canadiens.  The best players, by and large, are their youngest players and rebuilds no longer require five or more years of seasoning.  The men at the head of the charge for seasons future are very much within the fold today at various levels but the ones that will not be here when they take the Montreal Canadiens to the promised land are still present and that is a problem.


“When walking through a melon patch, don’t adjust your sandals.”


Through sheer volume, Marc Bergevin has replenished the Habs prospect pool to volumes not seen in ages.  The Habs prospect pool rankings league wide range, at lowest, 7th in the National Hockey League.  The temptation will be there to make a move for the sake of today but at the wrong cost, it will be ill advised.  Teams nowadays play fast and win young.  Do the veterans justice and give them a chance elsewhere; do the team justice and prepare for a better tomorrow.  Do the people justice and let them know that glory is around the corner.


This team is going through hell.  Keep going.

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5 Responses to Habs State Of The Franchise: #DernierePourLafreniere

  1. As someone with family ties to several NHL players, the # 1 reason the Habs can’t attract the big name talent they so desprately need is simply that high caliber NHL talent is unwilling to come to Quebec due to high taxes and punitive language laws against Anglophones.

    This is not something not openly talked about but among NHL players, their families and friends… it’s common knowledge!

    Jeff Ryan November 26, 2019 at 10:36 pm Reply
  2. the key word there is kids, they need at least 1 old veteran on each line; a veteran that is nearing the end of his career to bring these kids together and teach them how to win. they made a big mistake by not signing Markov, he was the perfect veteran to bring their YOUNG defense together and teach them a few things you can’t learn in books or practice.

    William Jukes November 27, 2019 at 9:02 am Reply
  3. Seriously—> what is our “Team President” think about all of this or is Bergy still spoon feeding him the answers?

    Yes, there has been dramatic turnaround in the Team’s culture towards conducting the amateur draft. The last 3 drafts are so night and day different than the 1st 5 of Bergy’s tenure. The last 3 drafts starting with Ryan Poehling have added much natural athleticism in the talented players selected. But what about those 1st 5 drafts and and all the 1st Rounders that never panned out? 5 yrs of total missed opportunity to improve the team. Instead totally pissed away with poor selections. Bergy brought new meaning to the term: “Reach” with many of his selections. When he got tired of making bad choices he simply traded away draft selections for more 4th line “garbage”. Trading away many 2nd round selections has really impacted future depth and the ability to make deeper impact moves.

    But no one seems willing to raise the question of : Who was calling the shots on the 1st 5 drafts by Bergevin and who had made the call on the last 3 drafts that have been excellent in bringing the type of players who will succeed in the NHL today and the future? I think you will find that Bergy ran the 1st 5 drafts but the last 3 have been made by Trevor Timmons. He sees the current environment of the game today and where it is heading in the future. Meanwhile Bergy is still stuck deep into the past days of the NHL. I mean if he had his way it would go back to the time of the Broad Street Bullies from Philly of the early to late 1970’s. It’s that type of thinking that has prevented the Habs from getting to the SC finals.

    He(Bergy) needs to be sent packing and to take Claude Julien with him along with any other knuckle draggers who follow his lead to ruin. Last nights embarrassment at home to Julien’s former team clearly shows the value of taking analytics into the decision making process. Bruins moved on from Julien and were in the SC finals last year. Their new coach brought forward the new methods in how to play the game successfully. They have developed a true sniper in David Pasternak who had a Hat-Trick against us last night. They have an abundance of offensive threats that can finish off plays with a goal. Our Team is filled with lower level players skating on the top lines without the necessary finishing skills.
    That’s where the Team President comes into play. He’s the guy that sees the big picture. He’s the one to see if we are meeting and exceeding team goals and if not what is the Action Plan to get us back onto the proper path to success.
    Our Team President is as he says “a casual fan of the game”. In other words it’s his “ego” that has him standing with that title. There is no reasonable way for him to properly measure the performance of his Team and his GM. For one thing he’s too busy running his brewery and real estate venture. Secondly, the Habs don’t use goals or metrics to measure performance. The plan of Bergy’s is just to make it to the playoffs “because anything can happen”. That’s not now or ever a plan for success. You would think that seeing this once let alone 8x it was wrong and needed to be redone properly. Bergy to his credit has never truly been in trouble with Molson because of his total lack of knowledge and how the game should be played. Molson demonstrates less than Zero Accountability. Bergy gave up on that a long time ago as it’s so much easier to point the fingers at the players and then walk around with that smug look all over his face.

    Time for massive change is called for at the most senior levels of the Habs organization. The Habs need a fully qualified Team President as well as GM and a younger talented Head Coach. The roles need to be filled by the most qualified and most suited for those roles and not by the language they speak. Bergy has made the “language “ issue as an avenue to protect himself and his confederates in their roles. This has turned away many well merited candidates and kept the team playing in the past.

    Ned Stark, Warden of the North November 27, 2019 at 8:45 pm Reply
  4. The Hab’s need to do what it takes to get their hands on Lafreniere….they have been missing the leader qualities that someone with that caliber of play can bring to the team….I also totally agree in the coaching change….I don’t get why they feel they need has beens ….they need someone with the win win attitude as in Patrick Roy ….there are really good players coming in to the NHL ranks as in Cale Makar for example ….we need the right people in the right places to do their homework properly ….

    Ernest Hebert November 28, 2019 at 5:40 pm Reply
  5. Molson is the new Ballard all about filling seats while spending the least amount of dollars everyone needs to stop going to games. Stop buying Molson products until they spend to the cap and put a winning team on the ice.

    Neville Lane November 29, 2019 at 4:09 pm Reply

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