CFN – When wounds fester tissue starts to die around them. Thus is the Montreal Canadiens 2013/14 season as the team has fallen into Wild Card territory after being humiliated by a struggling Washington Capital team loosing their fourth game in a row 5-0 in front of the home crowd at the Bell Centre.
Washington outshot Montreal 34-21 in their own barn again showing a fundamental weakness of the team in play against tougher and more physical adversaries. Small and not that quick doesn’t cut it and until goalie Carey Price starts to realize that the book on him is to go top shelf as he spends more time on his knees than a glory hole special.
Teams start to amp it up as it gets closer to the play offs and as Habs fans saw last year the team wilted under the pressure. The issues from last year have not been addressed. Daniel Briere was not the bigger forward and while bringing in Douglas Murray was never meant to save the team; it surely wasn’t the sole solution.
The problem with Montreal is that when they do play their larger players they are not talented enough. Mixing in a Brendan Gallagher is easy enough; but also mixing in Briere, Desharnais, and Gionta? Does Tomas Plekanec still not have a wingman? Marc Bergevin so far is failing miserably which of course only puts more pressure on him, and so far judging from the contracts he’s doled out NHL talent evaluation isn’t his strong point.
Montreal has some good core players depending on whether the team keeps them. The pantry is pretty empty at the minor league levels with no blue chip prospects awaiting, most of those with any heat also being under six feet in height.
The players seem to have given up on coach Michel Therrien; but one has to wonder if they fire the coach would they be much better and with so many of the Habs heading off to the Olympics how much will they have in the tanks when they get back?
Biggest looming issues: Decide if you have what it takes to make a run for it this year. I would normally be leaning towards blowing it up and dumping the chafe, but this is Montreal after all.
Shaking up the forward corps. You have to have a wingman for Plekanec; someone he can click with. Lars Eller is at best a 3rd line centre. Get rid of at least one smurf. There just seem to be too many Habs being showcased instead of the team focusing on winning.
Decide on Subban and Markov. If Montreal decides to sign PK long term than that ladies and gentlemen is your franchise player. He doesn’t even have a regular partner on D. Figure that out Mr. Bergevin. Markov; frankly I think his trade value is high right now. Maybe a move to Washington for Mike Green? Andrei and Ovie? There are other options; but if the Habs want to keep Markov they need to insulate him and maybe Emelin is the right fit on his side. If Josh Gorges doesn’t fit in with PK or Markov then you have to trade him as his asset value diminishes especially with that contract. He’s certainly not a bottom pairing, pardon the pun, but he’s probably not a huge fit for Subban either.
And if you do trade Subban what better time to trade Carey Price. I don’t think this team will ever win anything with Mr. Price in the net. He’s just not a Habs kinda goalie. He’s a fine net minder; but maybe suited better to Edmonton, the Peg, or back home in Vancouver.
For Habs fans these are dark and frustrating times. Right now the Habs value of its parts is far greater than the value of the product on the ice. Depth is great, but you still have to play 5 on 5 hockey. This squad needs help and that can only happen from GM Bergevin making the right moves.