All together now, breathe. That’s better huh? Now that we are all of sound mind and body I think it’s time we all collectively admit that this 2011-2012 Montreal Canadiens season is a loss. The hunt for a high draft pick is on and soon all that will remain of this dreadful year are bad memories. That said, here are 5 ways the Habs can find themselves back on top of the league.
1) THE DRAFT
Snagging high priced free agents and signing big name players at trade deadlines are ways in which currently competitive teams make a push for the cup. These techniques don’t work for teams that are consistently average to below average……such as the Habs. If this team ever want to get out of the funk of crawling into the playoffs every year and getting bounced in the first or second round, they need to start drafting some quality talent. Although painful for proud Montrealers, this godawful season was probably the best thing that could have happened to this team. They will draft the highest since Carey Price was picked 5th overall, and the rebuilding will begin. Once again, painful, but neccessary.
2) DITCH THE LANGUAGE PROBLEM
Although having a coach that doesn’t speak French gets every newspaper in Montreal buzzing with fury and disapproval, I believe the French media will soon realize how badly they have hurt they’re blue blanc rouge. Requiring a bilingual coach not only limits the crop of available coaches (forget about good ones), it also mixes politics with sports, a deadly combination that the Habs continue to mix season after season. There is also the issue of not having enough French players on the team, which pressure scouts to dig deep into the ranking to find French talent, which is few and far between. I live in Montreal. I understand the “French Connection”. But its been 20 years since we have seen Lord Stanley….
3) GET MEAN
The Habs are a soft team. They let other teams push them around every night. I often speculate that the Habs are the only team in the NHL without grit, but maybe that’s an over exaggeration. Boston showed us all how gritty , mean, tough players come out on top. Teams don’t fear the Montreal Canadiens like they used to. That needs to change quickly, and the franchise needs to collectively grow a pair.
4) HOLD ON TO A LEAD
The Habs cannot hold a lead in this league. For the past 10 years especially, the Canadiens make it a habit of blowing leads late in the game. Any current Habs fan will agree with me that no lead is ever safe for the Montreal Canadiens. Most games come down to the wire, or, one goal leads are maintained for most of the game until they are squandered in the last few minutes. The Canadiens need to learn to play hard for a full 60 minutes and not sit back in the home stretch.
I think it goes without saying that Pierre “The Ghost” Gauthier will be relieved of his GM duties by seasons end. The house cleaning shouldn’t end there. As much as I respected Bob Gainey, he should not be involved with this organization any more. It is time to bring in some fresh meat for the new look Habs. The Gomez deal (shiver), the Kaberle deal and players who were traded away without getting anything back in return. These moves killed the Habs. They cannot happen again. As long as Gauthier and Gainey are associated with the team, the Habs will stay as bottom feeders.
***Do you agree? Please leave your comments in the box below. I write these articles for you and would love o hear what you have to say, positive or negative.