This is getting ridiculous. Losing at this point in the year only serves to improve the odds for the Montreal Canadiens in the draft lottery, but losing the way that they have been is just plain embarrassing. Against the New York Rangers, at home, they blew yet another lead of the two-goal variety.
I took some heat the other day for suggesting that Marc Bergevin should be sent packing. I can respect that not everyone will share my opinion on that front, but I find it very hard to believe that anyone will jump to defend this coaching staff with such vigor.
The players deserve some of the blame, but the complete inability to play with a lead can’t be worn solely by any combination of players. It is a structural failure of epic proportions.
C'est la 7e fois cette saison que le #CH perd une avance de 2-0 dans un match. Sa fiche lors des 6 premiers matchs: 1-4-1.— Francois Gagnon (@GagnonFrancois) February 28, 2020
13e avance de 2 buts perdues dans un match. Deuxième fois contre les #Rangers. Fiche lors des 12 premières parties: 3-6-3
Translation: when the Habs have a two-goal lead, they immediately become bad enough at hockey to lose to most of the teams in the ECHL. We’ve all heard the old adage of a two-goal lead being the worst lead in hockey, but for the Habs, it’s a death knell. They basically just sit back and afford the opposition every opportunity to mount a comeback, which they do more often than not.
Unless Carey Price plays out of his mind, this team isn’t built to go into a defensive shell once they get a lead. But, for reasons that will remain unknown, they try to do exactly that. The lack of personnel may be on Bergevin, but the decision to play a style that doesn’t fit the personnel you have is squarely on the coaching staff.
I have said before that Luke Richardson needs to go. Given the power play woes, Kirk Muller seems like a fair candidate for the guillotine as well. And frankly, it’s gotten to the point where the big boss, Claude Julien, needs to be under fire as well.
After the game, he said that it has to come from the players. That they have to stop saying they’re lacking confidence, and ‘‘start playing the right way.’’ I don’t even think he knows what that means, I think he’s just trying to say whatever he can to stay employed at this point.
If he is trying to stay employed, it doesn’t explain why his leads evaporate, because his players must have been playing the right way in order to get those leads. Do they just stop playing, or does his system put them in a position for failure, and handcuff them to a style of play they’re not built for?
It would, however, explain why he’s playing Price every single night, because he hasn’t seen the writing on the walls. He thinks this team is somehow still in the playoff race. Sadly enough, they just might be if they could actually play hockey with a lead.
Bergevin might not be on the owner’s chopping block, but it is very hard to imagine the coaching staff getting a pass at this point.