"Like our fans, I'm very disappointed with this season." - Marc Bergevin
With just 13 games left this season, Habs fans have been left with a feeling of bitterness. The Montreal Canadiens' coaching and management staff have felt their share of the wrath on behalf of the fans. How have they dealt with so much disappointment, and what are the next steps to take?
"Our goal is to win. We still hope to make the playoffs. It will just be difficult." - Marc Bergevin
Well, I hate to be the one to break the news to you, sir, but things aren't looking good.
Playoff chances. pic.twitter.com/pcZXdg8tsE— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) March 12, 2016
"Performance will always dictate how we use players." - Michel Therrien
The Canadiens have dealt with their share of adversity this season, having over 200 man-games lost due to injury as of March 5. Some big names have topped this list: Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher to name but a few. And with P.K. Subban missing time with a neck injury, the team certainly looks much different than it did on opening night.
Cue the blender.
Let's face it, Therrien is famous for changing lines constantly, even mid-game, to try to spark some offence. This season, we were witness to some rather questionable line and defence pairing combinations. Some even argue that it took an injury to David Desharnais in order for Alex Galchenyuk to finally be given top-line centre rights, where he has been excelling for the last few games.
When questioned if he regretted not giving Galchenyuk this spot and ice time sooner, Therrien replied, "Absolutely not. He's a completely different player now." I'll let you digest that however you see fit.
"I try to make our team better every day." - Marc Bergevin
In addition to injury, the Habs' lineup has also been mixed up due to a few trades and additions this year.
Lineup for October 7, 2015
Max Pacioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher
Lars Eller - Alex Galchenyuk - Alexander Semin
Tomas Fleischmann - David Desharnais - Dale Weise
Brian Flynn - Torrey Mitchell - Devante Smith-Pelly
Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin - Jeff Petry
Nathan Beaulieu - Tom Gilbert
Lineup for March 12, 2016
Max Pacioretty - Alex Galchenyuk - Sven Andrighetto
Charles Hudon - Tomas Plekanec - Paul Byron
Jacob de la Rose - Michael McCarron - Torrey Mitchell
Lucas Lessio - Phillip Danault - Mike Brown
Andrei Markov - Mark Barberio
Alexei Emelin - Greg Pateryn
Victor Bartley - Darren Dietz
While fans argue that Bergevin and company have not yet added a few concrete pieces, namely that elusive addition on the RW, the good news is that the kids are getting a shot.
Give the kids a chance
"I'm paying more attention to evaluation than results." - Michel Therrien
If there is one good aspect of this season, it's that the prospects have gotten a chance to prove their worth. It's obviously unfortunate that it required a few of our top guys being injured, but there are some positives to focus on. Andrighetto has been a solid addition to the top line alongside Pacioretty and Galchenyuk.
Michael McCarron is a beast, both in size and his drive. On March 5th versus the Winnipeg Jets, McCarron had six shots on goal in less than 13 minutes of ice time. I have been fortunate enough to watch him for a few years during his OHL season, and don't let his size fool you; he is one heck of a skater, and certainly holds a lot of promise as a permanent addition down the road.
Grow a beard
Trim said beard
Breaking news, Marc Bergevin trimmed the beard pic.twitter.com/Jh1sApXoPJ— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) March 10, 2016
And finally, look ahead
Bergevin recently made a comment about how important it is to draft the right athletes. It is unsurprising that management is currently looking ahead to the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Perhaps it is time we all do the same.