clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mismanaged at all levels: Can the Canadiens' organization turn things around?

It's do or die time for the Habs. But is management prepared to make some changes?

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens only have 25 games left to make a push for the post-season. 25 games. Let that sink in for a moment.

The Canadiens' odds of making the playoffs has plummeted following a poor showing beginning back in December. The fact of the matter is that the Habs would have to go on a bit of a Herculean run in order to attend the post-season this year. Can they do it? Many fans are pretty doom and gloom these days, but the truth of the matter is that this is a team that has the ability to make it.

The Canadiens have one very important thing on their side: talent. Now listen, I know what you're thinking: the offensive struggles are obvious, the defensive breakdowns are putting too much pressure on the goaltenders, who, by the way, are no Carey Price. I get it. You're frustrated. So am I. The problem is, I have a hard time laying all of the blame on the athletes themselves.

I wrote a bit about the flaws in the Canadiens' coaching selection system a few months ago. The fact of the matter is that it is the coaching and development staff's responsibility to ensure that their athletes are given the best opportunities to succeed. The athlete, then, takes the responsibility of putting forth their best efforts both on and off the ice. So what happens when the coaching and development staff doesn't hold up their end of the bargain? Seasons like this happen.

And not just in Montreal. The St. John Ice Caps are currently sitting at 54 points in 51 games, out of a playoff position. In fact, the Canadiens' AHL affiliate hasn't had a playoff appearance since 2011. Sylvain Lefebvre took on the role of head coach just prior to the 2012-2013 season. Coincidence?

Michel Therrien coached the Habs from 2000-2003, was let go, and moved on to coach the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was let go from his coaching duties in Pittsburgh after four seasons, and shipped back to Montreal once Marc Bergevin was appointed General Manager in 2012.

What has either club accomplished in the last few years? The Habs have a core group who are currently in their prime playing years. Yet last season, Bergevin stated that the team was in transition. Transition? Transition from what, exactly? The talent is ready. Now. So what are we waiting for?

A good leader - whether a coach, a General Manager, or an owner - knows where a team is going and provides the resources and direction necessary to help get it there. If Habs' management (at all levels of player development) aren't providing the best opportunities for their athletes, how can they expect the athletes to succeed? How can we, as fans, possibly put the blame solely on the players themselves?

I believe in the athletes. Management, however, has been failing this team for quite some time. We have the talent to be a top contender and that is perhaps the most frustrating thing to witness from the outside.

I will always root for this team. I will always wear the CH with the utmost pride. But at some point - and for the athlete's sake, I hope sometime soon - something has to give. Because mismanagement of athletes, and especially young athletes, will only cause years of frustration yet to come.