This Montreal Canadiens season has been very streaky. It started with a record-breaking string of victories, and has devolved to one of the worst runs in club history.
It is that second streak that has done the team in. That means it may be time to call it a season and look to tomorrow, to start fresh.
Because however much fans, players, and management alike would like to put this season behind them, there's still a significant amount of hockey to be played. That means there's much more criticism to be applied over the course of the season. Every game takes with it a share of narratives, which are amplified and nullified with time, ebbing and flowing like waves.
The problem is what causes those ebbs and flows. Of late, it's been head coach Michel Therrien, who is guilty of poor decision making, and by extension GM Marc Bergevin, who has been conspicuous in his inaction.
There are rumblings that Michel Therrien's job is safe beyond this season, but I have difficulty believing that he can survive this disaster. If he does, it's on Bergevin, who wouldn't exactly be a painted portrait of job security in such a scenario. It makes sense that if Therrien is not fired by his boss, the big boss Geoff Molson will send both Bergevin and Therrien their walking papers.
Because if Molson doesn't fire the staff, the panicked tweets comparing Subban and Therrien's relationship to Roy and Tremblay will continue to amplify. The prospect of Montreal shopping Subban is bad enough, but the thought of him going to a rival is virtually unbearable to most of the team's followers.
That's not to say that the supremely talented defender is on his way out, but the mere fact that the conversation exists is demonstrative of precisely how bad this season has been.
It's one thing to allow a season to be lost to bad luck and incompetence, but another to change a team's entire direction by alienating a cornerstone of the franchise. P.K. Subban is one of the best defensemen of his generation.
With the season all but lost, Montreal now looks to the trade deadline in a seller's capacity. It was two years ago ago that the fanbase was celebrating Bergevin's deadline coup, when he acquired Thomas Vanek ahead of a spirited run into the third round of the playoffs. That trade - famously touted as the GM's acquisition of the "best available player" - cost Montreal a prospect and a pick.
But the pieces rumoured to be available now - Dale Weise, Tomas Fleischmann, and Tom Gilbert, among others - aren't of Vanek's ilk, and fans should hope that the team would be able to move any of them for a second rounder.
The deadline nears. Once upon a time it could have been written that Bergevin wasn't the type of GM to wait on making a move if he felt like it would improve his team, but in light of his inaction this season, that's no longer the case. The GM has eroded any trust he has built up over the course of previous seasons, and the crosshairs of the unhappy masses have now settled on him.
There will be no surprises when change comes; it has to. But what form it will take will depend on the action or inaction of a precious few.