HOCKEY CRUNCH – Habs Blow Season in Single Losing Streak by Jamie Gilcig 113019

I know it’s early and with parity anything can happen, but……I’m a numbers guy.

Montreal sadly is in the usual spot where they get off to an early jump because big bruisers ease into the season more than wee quick scamps.

Things tighten up; unless your the Habs D.

Could it all be because “Jo” Drouin is wounded? Bad luck? Injuries? Really bad general management?

GM Reggie Houle Marc Bergevin talked about building a team on character, but where is said character? A six game losing streak? You’d figure that the league’s most expensive goalie would steal at least one of those games, right?

Am I blaming Carey Price? Nope. I’m sure he’s done the best he can, but you have an Owner in Geoff Molson and GM in Marc Bergevin who simply have not shown the character or ability they have preached of.

The team still doesn’t have that #1 Centre. It still doesn’t have a LD for an aging Shea Weber to play with even though someone like Ben Hutton was a late signing for all of $1.5M. While not an ideal solution it wouldn’t have forced Bergy to give up an asset. Speaking of which he also failed to jettison Karl Alzner. Oh, and the team has oodles of unspent cap space.

Clearly this doesn’t appear to be a GM who has built a play off, never mind Stanley Cup contending team. Is it any wonder players aren’t looking at Montreal as a free agent destination? Will Max Domi want to stick around?

As for this new focus on raising home grown Habs, a big problem is that they team doesn’t have a great record of drafting and an even worse record of developing under Mr. Bergevin.

It’s time for Geoff Molson to take a step back and try and find a real hockey President, GM, and that GM will probably want his own coach which is sad as Claude Julien seems to have done about as good a job as possible with this mess of a roster he’s been given.

Let’s take a moment and look at the team’s draft selections. Mr. Kotkaniemi frankly rates out to Lars Eller, that is if develops to be as good as Eller. Nothing wrong with Eller. He’s a great 3C. Sadly the Habs picked KK over a very sizable and talented Brady Tkachuk. Ryan Poehling actually may have a better upside, but that’s not expected soon. KK should be getting lots of ice time and that’s not going to happen unless Montreal gets real and finally starts a true rebuild.

That means trading out both Weber and Price while they can. Both are playing well although Price’s numbers are hampered by the team in front of him.

The plan of building around Price clearly hasn’t worked. It’s not his fault. Put him on a contending team and he probably ends up with a ring.

There simply is no core on this team at the moment. There are no young studs to build on. Even Ottawa has figured that out. Finishing one spot out of the play offs is the biggest failure in the current NHL. You either are in or out. The bubble is for losers.

While a lot of things can happen in the 50 or so games left; if nothing major changes with this roster the writing is on the wall for this squad. Either something dramatic needs to be added or the team needs to finally be blown up and rebuilt.

That means Gallagher (and Domi), unless he wants to sign a team friendly deal, Price, Weber, and possibly Jeff Petry (I’d miss him as he’s a great player) are the keys to rebuilding this team with a slew of 1st round picks and real prospects.

The team needs an identity and direction. Right now it doesn’t appear to have one.

Montreal fans deserve better. They really do.

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