It feels like the only people truly concerned with the state of the Montreal Canadiens are the fans.These are trying times for Habs faithful, as there are many questions that simply aren't being answered.
As I have said before, I don't truly expect the opinion of one fan to bring about real change. However, the Canadiens are quickly worsening, and those in charge seem content to just soldier on with the status quo. That doesn't make any sense.
What once was a 9-0 team is now clinging to the slimmest of playoff hopes. What once was a team considered to be a Stanley Cup contender is now the laughingstock of the league. Forget winning it all; merely making the playoffs would be a great feat at this point. All signs currently point to the loss of the season; one that began with great promise.
And how can that be the case? This team has remained mostly intact, aside from the undeniably devastating injury to Carey Price. While that is an obvious blow to the team, if they were legitimate contenders to begin with, it wouldn't be a crippling one. He is clearly important, but to win it all they'd need to be more than just him.
Beyond Price, there are numerous problems with the team's current configuration that have been noted on this site and elsewhere. Why is David Desharnais continually given power play time, when he has proven himself woefully incapable of producing there? Why is he Max Pacioretty's most frequent centreman when preferable options are available?
I could list off every questionable personnel decision, but we've covered that ad nauseam. Eventually they lead to the only possible scapegoat; the man behind the curtain, Michel Therrien. The coach has made some inexplicable decisions of late, and throughout the entire season. One of the biggest head-scratchers came against the Coyotes in Arizona.
Mike Condon was hung out for six goals against when it clearly wasn't his night. To me it was reminiscent of when Mario Tremblay tried to teach Patrick Roy a lesson, and the Canadiens subsequently lost a generational talent. I wouldn't dare to compare Condon to Roy, but the point is you just don't do that to any goaltender as a coach. It was hard to watch, and I felt it was unprofessional.
Coaching, by my estimation, is the biggest issue plaguing the Habs. I believe that with better player usage would come better results, and that a coaching change would be the best way to get that. It certainly can't hurt, because it would be quite hard to do any worse than they are right now.
I realize that this is not the first time I've proclaimed the need for a new coach. I also realize that it isn't the only issue befalling the team. And yes, it may very well be too late for better results to save this season. They've sat around doing nothing for so long that it wouldn't be unfair to say that they're in "there's always next season" territory.
Marc Bergevin is certainly not blameless in all of this. Not only has he taken the route of inaction, but he has publicly defended his decision to stand pat. Several NHL coaches in less dire situations have already been fired this year, and yet he does not even appear to be entertaining that idea. It is maddening.
If it is really time to pack it in and hope for a draft pick - as much as I will always oppose to tanking - so be it. But even that requires some form of action. Trade for draft picks, prospects, or cap space. Just do something to improve the team moving forward, because continued inaction will only worsen the situation.
And can we please permanently move Alex Galchenyuk to centre already? He is the future of the club at that position, and if they are going to hit the golf courses early this year, it is only logical to get him some valuable experience there. If the season truly is lost, it is an absolute must to start developing existing assets.
Lastly, this is the second time I'll call for a real update on Carey Price. The team keeps parading him in front of cameras without pads, as if he's getting closer, but no actual status updates of substance are given. I don't think it is fair to Price, and I definitely don't think it is fair to the fans. Is a definitive update really so much to ask for?
If they merely did the several things that I've suggested, perhaps the fan base would at least be left with a discussion of what next year may bring. Right now, I'm at a loss for words, which is odd because I'm generally a pretty talkative guy.
I can't even figure out who to address these things to anymore, I just know that they need to be said.