"I have full faith in this group of guys here, so you know, why not us?" - Mike Condon
There have been plenty of post-game pressers with players talking about the positivity in the Habs' dressing room, that the players are focusing on what they are doing well, and that there is still a shot at the post-season. The unfortunate truth is that the Montreal Canadiens would require some sort of miracle to make the playoffs this year.
That impossible goal...
Marked by injury, the Canadiens had an uphill battle from the get-go. After an impressive start, the injury-riddled Habs faced some tough tasks and many fans were left scratching their heads. While we could sit here and question the tactics of the coaching staff and upper management, I'd be hard pressed to say that the athletes themselves are to blame.
"We've been through some stuff over the last few months, but we still believe we are a pretty good hockey team." - Brendan Gallagher
It is obvious that these athletes still have their sights set on that impossible goal. And you know what? I love their tenacity. I have read from numerous fans that the players 'aren't trying,' that they are 'acting out against the coaches,' or that there are 'rifts in the locker room.' I find these statements quite ridiculous.
A tight-knit group
Made all the more apparent by Devante Smith-Pelly's emotional goodbye following his recent trade to the New Jersey Devils is that this is a team that cares or one another. Many of us forget that these are real people with real emotions who form real bonds and set goals together, "Most people think that individuals set their own goals. But in group situations, such as with sport teams or exercise groups, goals are often set for the group as a whole," (Weinberg & Gould, 2011).
Team environments are marked by the bonds that the athletes form with one another. Sure, you will have a number of different personalities and varying levels of relationships among the players, but in the case of any NHL hockey team, the main goal is to win the Stanley Cup. The Canadiens are no different.
Will that happen this year? No. Do you hear the athletes blaming one another or letting go of their goal? No. So if you are laying all of the blame on them for having 'given up,' please think twice.
"We've always had hope in this room. We are taking things one day at a time. I haven't looked at the standings, I won't look at the standings, I'm just worrying about one game at a time, one day at a time." - Max Pacioretty
Understand that they are just as frustrated, but haven't stopped trying
Are they frustrated? Hell yes they are, but they certainly haven't stopped trying.
I will end this rant with a quote from Alex Galchenyuk, who shone as the Habs' first-line centre last night against the Winnipeg Jets,
"At the end of the day, it doesn't matter, you try to perform your best for the team to win. It's unfortunate that we come up so short, but at the same time, you have to perform to the end." - Alex Galchenyuk
1. Weinberg, R.S., & Gould, D. (2011). Foundations of Sport & Exercise Psychology. (5th). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.