Tuesday night’s defeat now marks seven straight losses for the Montreal Canadiens. This time it was against a Detroit Red Wings team that they’ll have a very hard time catching in the race for last place. That is of course if they’re biting on my suggestion from yesterday that tanking could be the route they’re looking for.
It certainly looked like they are. The Habs floundered their way to a 4-3 defeat, the story of which was once again their defensive lapses. Fair play to the fact that they played a game 24 hours prior to travelling to Detroit, but the excuse of a back-to-back falls on deaf ears when the second leg is against the worst team in the entire league.
It can’t be the case that everyone is safe in their jobs at this point. In particular, I think the Habs need to look at Luke Richardson, the man responsible for the sheer lack of defensive structure in these Montreal Canadiens.
Just look at Frans Nielsen on his second goal of the night.
Normally a play like this is due to a bad line change, but the Habs weren’t even trying a partial change. Shea Weber comes way up to make a challenge in the neutral zone, and there is absolutely nobody left to protect the middle of the ice at the blue line. Nielsen of course walks in unabated, and Charlie Lindgren can do little other than attempt a desperation save.
This is just one example in a growing trend of defensive brain farts that have been killing the Habs as they struggle to stay within eyesight of a playoff spot. Someone has to wear it, and I think it’s only fair that the man responsible for the team’s defense be the first to hit the unemployment line.
I don’t know who would be best to replace Richardson at this point, but I know I’m not buying the argument that firing him could hurt if the new guy isn’t great. It can’t really get any worse for the Habs defensively, so I think the point is more about sending a message that these results won’t fly.
So, I say start sending the message by ridding the team of the guy who is responsible for mitigating the severe defensive lapses that have led to this new losing streak. It might not achieve anything immediately, but there’s at least some semblance of accountability.