You know who I feel sorry for? The snowbirds from Sudbury and Sherbrooke and Trois Riviere and Barrie and elsewhere, the long-time Habs fans now retired to their villas and iced tea in Florida, who excitedly checked the schedule in the fall to see when their beloved Habs were coming, and they rushed out and bought tickets with money they could have used for tennis rackets and Panama hats, and they counted the days.
Then they see this. A pathetic, horrid display in Sunrise against the Panthers and an equally dismal, uninspired, deader-than-dead showing in Tampa. They must be a disappointed bunch, these retirees with their Habs sweaters and memories of the days when they saw their team in all its glory at the Forum on Ste. Catherines.
I’m adamant about one thing. The Montreal Canadiens are not as bad a team as they look. They’ve shown from time to time how things can be different. But something is missing. There’s no drive, spark, energy. No passion and spirit.
Why is that?
We look long and hard at this team and we see a never-ending debate about which goalie is the guy and which isn’t and should one be traded and one not, and the beat goes on and on.
We see players who we were excited about earlier causing us to be noticeably less excited now. And remember how it was going to be much better if they could only weather the storm until Andre Markov came back from injury? Well, they weathered the storm, he’s back, and I don’t see a team headed up the charts with a bullet. It’s just a sad-sack unhappy group firing blanks instead.
They played two great games last week in beating the Devils in New Jersey and then clobbering the Rangers 6-0. They were a better team than they look now. But it’s a simple, easy question: How can they go from that to what we’ve just seen in Florida?
Is it the coach? Is it the goaltender/media crush? Is it because there’s no leadership with no captain? Is it because they really are too small like many suggested in the beginning? The guys who were great earlier – Gionta, Plekanec, Metropolit to name some of many, are only ordinary now. Don’t forget, Plekanec was making a strong push up the scoring ladder, but no longer. Gionta still hasn’t become the player he was before he was injured. Metropolit had endeared himself to fans with his work ethic and some timely goals, then it was like he went on vacation and hasn’t been seen since. In fact, since he took some brain-dead penalties last month that got him into the doghouse with coach Martin, he’s been a shell of the player we knew and loved.
Everything has become unglued and unsettling.
Habs are in Ottawa on Saturday. Don’t forget, it’s an afternoon game – 2.00 PM eastern.
I might need a new roof after the last storm that went through. The one the Habs gods drummed up because they’re pissed right now. So this 2009-2010 squad is responsible for me possibly having to fork over several thousand bucks for a new roof.