Despite a playoff push, the Canadiens are not yet ready for prime time
The game against the Wild put the pain in growing pains.
Compared to the last time the Minnesota Wild and the Montreal Canadiens faced off, Monday night’s game was downright peachy. But on the day that Marc Bergevin said that he wasn’t looking for a short-term fix to make the playoffs, the team showed why that’s the right course of action in their 1-0 loss to the Wild at the Bell Centre.
During Bergevin’s press conference, he was pressed by a reporter to explain the contradiction between saying in the past that all you want to do is get in the playoffs and see what happens and not attempting to strengthen the team to make a push.
I’m not Marc Bergevin, but I feel like I can explain this. Of course the goal is to make the playoffs. But his goal isn’t solely to make the playoffs in the 2018-19 season. Selling potential future assets to slightly improve the 2018-19 season’s outlook doesn’t make sense. He wants to build a perennial contender.
Tanking also doesn’t make sense. I’ve seen fans calling to trade assets like Jeff Petry or Paul Byron and that just won’t happen. While this team isn’t going all-in in 2018-19, they won’t be far in 2019-20, or 2020-21 and Petry, or Byron, or Tomas Tatar will be key components of a team pushing to make the playoffs in those years.
This team doesn’t need a rebuild. It needs a reset, and it has already gotten underway. Tearing this team down to its foundation would be unnecessary because the frame is fine. And let’s get the idea of Claude Julien or the players losing on purpose out of our heads. That’s not how tanking works. In fact, Bergevin saying he’s not looking for a quick fix kind of is tanking in a way in the sense that he’s willing to ‘sacrifice’ the 2018-19 season for future gains.
This team is playing well. They are playing fast. And they are legitimately in the playoff conversation. They may even make the playoffs. But they’re young. They’re learning. And along with the growing, there will be some pain.
But despite all of that and the highs and the lows that are sure to come, like Bergevin himself said: The future is bright.