Okay Michel, the joke is over. Give us back the Montreal Canadiens that we watched for 53 games last year and the first 14 or so of this year. The team we've had since then has won a lot of games, but they sure haven't deserved to. Since game 14 of the season, the Habs are a 46.9% Fenwick close team. How bad is that? Well that would put the Habs in between last year's Oilers and Predators, both far out of the playoff picture.
I really shouldn't have to tell you how important Fenwick close is anymore. Including last year's Maple Leafs in a lockout shortened season, only 5 teams since 2007-08 have made the playoffs with a Fenwick close as bad or worse than the current Canadiens. 5 out of 80 teams to have made the playoffs. It's ugly.
So what the hell is going on? We know that this team isn't that bad, at least they shouldn't be this bad. As much as the moves that Marc Bergevin made this summer were bad, they were minimal impact moves, filling out the dregs of the roster to surround an extremely solid core, an ideal mix of veterans and youngsters.
But it's gone down the tubes here, and we're left looking for answers. Being outplayed by the Kings was expected, but Montreal has only outplayed a team once in their last 7 games, and even in that game (against Boston), they folded like a cheap suit in the third period and held on for dear life while Carey Price continually bailed their asses out.
Daniel Briere hasn't worked out very well, but he hasn't been an unmitigated disaster. As much as Douglas Murray has been, his limited minutes can't possibly impact the Canadiens enough to bring them down from the 53% Fenwick they played last year to 47%. George Parros brings them down too, but he's played 35 even strength minutes this season, so his impact is a big fat "who cares".
The fact is, everyone on the roster aside from Andrei Markov and Raphael Diaz are significantly worse than last season. P.K. Subban looks like the same player to my eyes, but he's on for more shots against, more chances against, and far more goals against. A drop off this precipitous has me thinking that it's more than just Alexei Emelin struggling after returning from injury, even though that is a real concern.
What we're seeing right now is a complete systems failure on the part of the coaching staff, and it's ugly. Therrien and friends need to take a step back and observe the situation, because the Canadiens have gone from cup contender to lottery contender from a possession standpoint, and the luck that's carried them through most of the season is disappearing.
Price has given Therrien an incredible gift, by holding them in games and stealing games all year, he's created a buffer that has kept him off the hot seat, because make no mistake, the way the Canadiens have played this season, the coaching staff very much deserves to be on the hot seat.
Getting manhandled by a bad team in Philadelphia would make you think that a new approach is coming, unfortunately the complete lack of sense shown by the coaching staff in continuing to run Josh Gorges with Emelin, tells me that they don't know what's going wrong. And if they don't know, then what's going wrong will continue to go wrong, and eventually someone else will be asked to try to solve the problem.
They've got to figure something out soon, Guy Boucher is waiting by the phone.