Call this a pre-post mortum.
In the midst of a playoff stretch drive that has the Canadiens buggered by more issues than a Courtney Love counselling session, here are some of the complications that derailed what looked to be a fine season up until December 23rd, 2006.
These facts are offered, not simply as excuses, but as roadbumps with consequences along the way.
I still believe that the Habs players form the nucleus of a team capable of acheiving a higher position in the standings, and more able than the currant edition we now haplessly witness in freefalling mode.
The Habs should've been a playoff this year, but all this happened to screw things up.
10 - Cristobal Huet's injury combined with the total ineptitude of David Aebischer as an NHL goaltender of any worth
9 - Two different flu bugs at crucial times, in late December and March
8 - Bob Gainey's loss
7 - Alex Kovalev's nonchalance / elbow injury / falsely interpreted Russian media reports (Yeah! Riiight!)
6 - The impending free agency of key team proponants and its distraction to team goals
5 - Chris Higgins injury just as he was emerging as a team leader
4 - Spotlight on Guillaume Latendresse's Miss Quebec girlfriend
3 - Carbonneau sitting out a popular veteran in Craig Rivet
2 - Saku Koivu's inexplicable slumping
1 - Sergei Samsonov's signing bust that delapitated teams second line and 2 trade demand distractions
Add in two injuries to Steve Begin, the overall uselessness of Janne Niinimaa, Maxim Lapierre being sent down to the minors as he was hot, and Radek Bonk's untimely injuries and you have the disaster with unfair scrutiny we are about to witness as the Canadiens miss the playoffs in 2007.