Hilariously enough — or not so much, depending on your outlook as a fan — I wrote about this the last time the Montreal Canadiens lost a sixth consecutive game. At that point I referred to it as an early-season crossroads; tank or try to fight it out, but there was still a lot of time left. Well, they’ve tried to fight it out, and though they did find their way out of that particular losing streak, here we are again. This time with less than half the season to do something about it.
The Winnipeg Jets aren’t very good. Despite that, and the fact that the Habs out-shot, out-attempted, and out-chanced them, they left Montreal with two points. Carey Price played well enough to win, Ben Chiarot burned his old team twice, and hell, Ilya Kovalchuk had a solid game in his first action since early November. None of that mattered.
The Habs still lost, and this latest streak demands that those in charge of the team decide which direction they want to go.
This is the point where Geoff Molson really needs to decide if his hockey team really is better off fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot. I put this on Molson because with the acquisitions of Kovalchuk and Marco Scandella, it seems that Marc Bergevin wants to win enough games to hold on to his job as General Manager. He’s grasping at straws, and if he can’t see the forest for the trees, Molson has to bring in someone who can.
Because even someone who has only seen Alexis Lafrenière at the recent World Juniors will know there is a potentially franchise-altering player up for grabs. A Québécois player at that, and one who will bring much more than his Joual to the organization.
He’s a consensus number one. He lit up the world Juniors despite suffering a knee injury but avoiding any structural damage. He has scored an absurd 70 points in just 32 games so far this season with the Rimouski Océanic. He’s essentially an NHL player who just happens to be slightly too young to be playing there already.
Quinton Byfield looks like a very legitimate player in his own right, and really the entire predicted top-10 of the draft class looks good. Of course tanking is always done best if you get that top spot, but even if they don’t, the Habs would be getting a very good player.
The decision must be made soon. If the best route is to get the best chance at Lafrenière, the next moves must be to that end. If it is the best route, and Marc Bergevin can’t or won’t make said moves, then Molson needs to see him out so that someone else can.
So what say you... Laissez-faire pour Lafrenière?