There are nine, yes count'em, nine games left before the Montreal Canadiens on-ice season comes to an end for 2011-12. Certainly not anywhere close to where we thought they'd be after preseason, but nobody saw this season coming.
With the Canadiens lack of success, there's always one individual to conveniently point the blame at. Come on down Rene Bourque! He was the topic of discussion on CJAD's The Locker Room on Sunday evening, between myself, fellow Habs blogger Leigh-Anne Power and host Abe Hefter.
Bourque's play has been called out by coach Randy Cunneyworth, TSN's Mike Johnson and the "know it alls" at HNIC. The general consensus is the "he's not moving his feet," assessment. They appear to be right, and Chris Boucher backs it up. To sum up, Bourque's tenure with the Habs so far has been brutal.
Leigh-Anne made an excellent note that it appears as if Bourque's confidence is temporarily lost, and that the typical goal scorer needs that to be successful. I was in agreement, adding that Bourque got thrown onto the derailing train of a Canadiens season, and that fact that the coach who publicly called him out won't even be behind the bench in Montreal this October. The off-season for number 27 will be a crucial point in his career to get himself back on track, with players like Louis Leblanc, Aaron Palushaj, Blake Geoffrion and Brendan Gallagher waiting in the wings.
Apparently the Habs winger is already getting the message, as this one-on-one with CJAD's Rick Moffat reveals.
Of country or of career: With the Canadiens not going to make the post season, a spring option for many is to participate in the World Hockey Championships. Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has his priorities in order, and finishing the season with the Habs comes first. But if given the opportunity, he wouldn't pass up the chance to play overseas this spring. "You love to play for your country. They haven't made the selection yet, and I don't know what the process is, but If given the opportunity to play, I want to do that," Subban said. "But right now my focus is playing for the Canadiens."
Carey Price, who has had another busy season for the Canadiens and has until now never missed the post-season at any level, is also focused on his primary team until the end. "You don't lace up the skates in this locker room and think about going out there to lose," Price said, shrugging off the idea of tanking, "That's not programmed in most hockey players. That's an outsider point of view."
The Canadiens goaltender, who along with Subban will be a restricted free agent on July 1, said Monday that he has not decided on playing in the World's, noting that it is a long tournament and that he has to factor in his future. "There's a lot of input that goes into that," Price added, fueled by Moffat's post-practice scrum question, that a risk of injury while without a deal is also something to take into consideration.
Meanwhile there is another pro sports team for fans to cheer for in Montreal. As the Canadiens season winds down, the Montreal Impact are just getting underway. Andrew Berkshire on Montreal's need to support the Impact.
The Habs Alumni, who have been all across Canada this season visit Nanaimo, BC.
Dave Stubbs on the Habs shot blockers
With the NCAA hockey season now in Frozen Four mode, the Hamilton Bulldogs are giving a collegiate level few players a tryout.