A three game road trip to Buffalo (27th in NHL), Arizona (22nd) & Denver (17th) nets the Habs zero points. Their record on the road since December 3rd is 3-14-1. Not a single NHL player has been brought in to help. The coaching staff ran out of solutions in 2015. None of the top (under achieving) players on the team have been subjected to a benching. But now, with 24 games left in a lost season, we’re supposed to believe it’s P.K. Subban’s fault?

I’ve seen this act before. It’s a horror show and it’s just getting started.

THE GOOD

  • Andrei Markov. Looked like the thin Denver air helped shave six years off his age.
  • Tom Gilbert. Only Markov had more ice time. Any playoff bound team looking for experienced help on the blue line should be interested in Gilbert who has become the classic “steady but unspectacular” type. But with a warning – when he does muck up he does so in spectacular fashion.
  • Nathan Beaulieu. Best game in a long time. But it’s become clear that he does not possess an NHL quality slap shot.
  • Tomas Plekanec-Brendan Gallagher-Alex Galchenyuk. Helped set up the Markov goal. Came closest to scoring on another punchless power play.
  • Jacob de la Rose. He should take David Desharnais’s spot. But not Galchenyuk’s.
  • Lars Eller-Sven Andrighetto-Max Pacioretty. There were enough moments to think there might be something there. But there were also glaring mistakes. The opening goal featured speed & hustle on the forecheck by Andrighetto, puck hunger by Pacioretty and finish by Eller who was left alone in the slot of front of Semyon Varlamov. On the down side, Pacioretty stayed down on the ice for what seemed like an eternity after Francois Beauchemin took a scoring chance away from him on a Montreal power play in the second period. He never made it back as Erik Johnson tied the game at one. And what Pacioretty was thinking on the late winning goal by Iginla is difficult to figure out, especially since he refused (ordered?) to talk to the media after the game.  because nobody bothered to ask him (Thanks to Francois Gagnon for the info). Late in the second period Eller took a bad holding-the-stick penalty in the offensive zone. Just nine seconds later Iginla scored his first goal of the night to give the Avalanche the lead (Eller didn’t reference this when he referred to playing 58 minutes of good hockey only to lose on a late “mistake”). This is a fact based non-overboard assessment of Eller by Chris Boucher.
  • Lucas Lessio. They finally scratched Tomas Fleischmann. And Lessio played like he had been locked up for weeks.
  • Ben Scrivens. He gives the Canadiens a better chance to win than Mike Condon.

THE BAD

  • Dale Weise. He played 14:07? Invisible. Maybe he doesn’t want to get traded.
  • Torrey Mitchell. In the last six games he has one shot on goal.
  • P.K. Subban. No offense generated against a poor defensive team. Tried to win the game with two minutes to go instead of making the “safe” play and dumping the puck in deep. Instead of beating Mikhail Grigorenko (normally a mismatch) along the boards, Subban slipped and lost control of the puck. But even as Grigorenko moved the puck ahead to Matt Duchene the Habs appeared to have the defensive zone covered with Markov, Pacioretty and de la Rose. Yet Duchene, Grigorenko and Iginla managed to mesmerize the the two Montreal forwards and turn the play into a two on one before Iginla deposited the puck into an open net for the win. With Scrivens on the bench for an extra attacker Therrien nailed Subban to the bench. #FriendsofTherrien predictably launched an all out assault on Subban after the game even though the ultra confident Norris trophy winner said “…I lost an edge…(but) it doesn’t really matter…you gotta get the puck in deep.”

THE UGLY

  • Michel Therrien. Mired in a free fall of historic proportion Therrien decides to single out Subban 24 hours after Ron Fournier tells his considerable radio audience there is a major rift in the Habs room and it’s because of Subban. What an act of coaching cowardice.
  • Subban smear campaign. It’s on. Big time. Over 30 years ago, when it became obvious that baseball’s Team of the 80s had fallen short, ownership, management and some players pointed at the team’s most popular player as the source of the downfall. Charles Bronfman said giving Gary Carter a new multi-million dollar contract was the biggest mistake he ever made. President John McHale said the Expos dealt Carter to the Mets because the All Star catcher had asked to be traded (total bullshit). Players whispered that the clubhouse had become fractured because “Gary Carter was all about Gary Carter”. I saw it go down firsthand. In his second year in New York Carter played a huge role in the Mets’ World Series win. Expos fans were left with Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham, Floyd Youmans and nearly a decade of shitty baseball. This is beyond finger pointing. In addition to blaming Subban for being who he is (loud, brash, cocky) and what he is (which includes hockey champion) they’re trying to run him out of town to cover their own unproductive asses. We knew Carey Price was the glue that kept this team together. What we didn’t know was that he also cemented it.

 

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12 Responses

  1. Mike in Buffalo

    Across the 4 major sports, when has a coach won a battle against the superstar? I really hope MB isn’t that ingnorant.

  2. Dave Jursic

    Cowardice from the coach, how aptly put. It really is disgusting to see this team implode & disintegrate. A few games ago, Buffalo player Marcus Foligno said this team is fragile and will find a way to lose. To say there is a lack of leadership in the room and from management would be the understatement of the year. Time to clean the house, top to bottom & get rid of & fire both of these clowns, Therrien & Bergevin, they are both totally incompetent. They have no idea what they are doing. As for the players, changes must also be made. I like Max, but he is no leader and should never have been made Captain, PK is the (other than C. Price) the leader of this team and would do a fine job as Cap if only he was allowed too.
    PK brings talent & excitement & yes he is human being & once in awhile makes a mistake. Sad part is the cowardly coach never liked him and never will & the idiot GM could have signed PK to a long term deal much cheaper 2 years earlier when PK became an RFA but did not & signed him 2 years later at a very expensive price. Still worth it but poor management decision to not realize what he has in PK.
    Signing ridiculous contracts to Plek ($6 mil/2yrs), Markov ($5.75 mil/2 yrs) when he is clearly at the end of his career & David D ($3.5 mil/2 yrs) who other GM’s in NHL say he is not an NHL centerman & obviously not a #1.
    This coach & GM rate a total Fail & either now or at the end of the year should be and would be replaced by any competent President of Hockey Ops. Sadly the flagship franchise (IMO) has been reduced to a laughing stock by these 2 people.

    Cheers, Dave J.

  3. David Mallais

    Please tell me I’m not seeing what I’m seeing. It all seems to be pointing to the fact that Bergevin and Therrien want Subban out of town while at the same time we know they want Jonathan Drouin really bad. Are they angling for a blockbuster? Am I seeing conspiracies where there isn’t one? These guys are idiots. I guess it’s OK to be a “problem” if you speak the right language and your skin is the right color. It makes me sick. Go ahead, trade Subban, he will haunt this franchise for the next 15 years. You think throwing in McDonaugh was a mistake? That’s child’s play compared to this..
    And then Pacioretty, the real issue on that last play, doesn’t even have the balls to address the media?? Great captain… I want to stop watching but it’s like trying to drive by a car accident and not look. What a sh.. show…

  4. Christoph

    Mitch. I’m getting MAJOR anxiety from all of this. I’ve been a BIG Bergevin guy from day one, but the doubt has set in deep.

  5. Marco

    A journalist needs to put Therrien to the test and ask him why he thinks it was a good idea to single out P.K. like that. If he answers the way he answered Mitch Gallo a couple of weeks ago, that journalist needs to keep pestering him.
    Geoff Molson needs to step in here and make sure P.K. doesn’t ask for a trade.
    Therrien needs to go. Now.

  6. Michael Nixon

    Mitch…you and I and a few other old guys might be the only ones who remember that assault on Carter in the 80’s. What is happening with Subban now shows how bad this organization has become and what a thoroughly despicable human being and coach Michel Therrien is. If the Canadiens dressing room is fractured, I suggest it is fractured due to the favouritism of guys like Desharnais, Emelin, Markov and many others who get ice time but do nothing. Even one has to seriously question the captain who talks a good game but doesn’t play it. I’ve said this before “Adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it” and it is so true. We know now exactly who Michel Therrien is and what i always believed he was…a lousy coach whose world class goalie covered so many of his blunders. Now that the goalie is hurt and not due back soon, it has revealed how bad a coach Therrien really is.

    • Joe

      Subban is a leader with no followers. The Team should’ve been built around him since 2012, on and off the ice.
      If he’s not a “team player”, then I want more individualists like him on my team.
      Give me Malkin, Ovechkin, Seguin, Kane, Doughty, Karlsson, Subban… any day over 3rd line scrubs with “team first” attitudes. I’m a fan of the management in place and surprised how quickly and how deeply they’ve gotten into this mess, a mess that has no quick fix at this time of year unfortunately.
      Should be an eventful off-season…

  7. Michael Nixon

    This is how bad things have gotten for the Canadiens. For the first time, I heard a well respected French reporter this morning mention how he hopes this event has not been due to the colour of P.K.’s skin. It is tremendously sad when an organization like the Montreal Canadiens which has always done most things right and always in a classy manner is now having one of its lead employees questioned over possibly racially motivated comments. As Ray Ferraro said on Mitch’s show yesterday, Therrien couldn’t even mention Subban’s name. Quite frankly, I have had this thought for some time because Therrien seems to have no problem criticizing P.K. but has a lot of problem doing the same to Pacioretty, Desharnais and many other players who deserve it a lot more than P.K. does. I am ashamed, at this moment, to be a Montreal Canadiens’ fan.

    And yet, the GM and owner sit and do nothing. To my mind, what Therrien did, considering the circumstances and what his GM said just a few weeks ago, is a fireable offence. Let’s hope, as Pierre Lebrun said yesterday, that Bergevin is indeed doing an evaluation of this organization. Let’s hope he is finally realizing what a terrible job he has done and what a terrible job the organization has done in finding players, developing them and then getting them to play at a competent level. I would not have believed that Carey covered so many blemishes in this organization, top to bottom. But his absence has revealed the true nature of this team.

    • Mitch Melnick

      This is not racially motivated. It’s about personality. P.K. Subban has way too much of it for this coach and for too many of his teammates who have achieved squat.

  8. pat

    Mitch:

    -hopefully I am wrong; but my sense is that we are on the edge of the abyss and the conductor of this train, with his 5 year extension, feels justified in doing whatever he wants and his strategy is being carried out by his ham fisted ‘goon’ behind the bench.

    -too strong ? perhaps, but piece together all the commentary and actions starting back to the scolding from a few years ago on CH 24 to the benching the other night. his treatment of PK vs the treatment of his favourite players is not only startling it is remarkably unfair especially to carry it out in public forums. this is not how leadership manifests itself in any walk of life.

    -remember also that Bergevin wanted to take PK to arbitration and they were about to have that meeting with the arbitrator but for the owner telling his employee (the conductor) to sign the player. that is the conductor’s point of departure.

    -to parahase a sentiment written today by Cam Cole the Canadiens organization has a gifted and rare talent in PK. however, PK is being managed by pedestrian individuals whose cerebral capacity is too limited to utilize PK’s talents. worse they see PK as a threat to their unimaginative and conservative team building philosophies. true leaders would harness this generational talent to the benefit of the organization and the player.

    -the original mistake was made over 4 years ago. Mitch, I’ll once again remind you of two interviews you did on your show. the first with Scotty Bowman who told you, your audience and Geoff Molson to hire Pierre McGuire. the second a couple of weeks later with Serge Savard who in response to your question , “what do you think of Pierre McGuire?” stated “he seems like a nice guy”. WTF ?

    -unfortunately for Geoff Molson he didn’t not learn from his first mistake, he repeated history, listened to another former captain and now he finds his team at its historical worst with the brand along with the team taking a beating.

    -if all the mysteriously generated recent talk of trading PK comes to fruition it lines up with the trade of Roy, the trade of Chelios and the uncermonious dumping of Koivu while trading Mcdonaugh for Gomez.

    -Mr Molson do yourself a huge favour and act on the sage advice of one of the greatest hockey minds alive. it may be four years late but you have a chance to do it before it’s too late.

    -too strong Mitch ? perhaps, but this sick feeling in my gut is getting stronger and the conductor and his ‘goon’ with their extensions think they are bullet proof.