Following the fiasco in Nashville, and going back even further to recent games in which the Canadiens performed in a less-than-stellar manner, even while winning from to time to time, the comments from readers were extraordinary. It’s simply amazing how well-versed and hockey-savvy these folks are, and I have great respect.
Non-hockey fans probably wouldn’t have a clue what these people, mostly Habs fans, are talking about. It’s simply too involved for the layman, too complex, spoken when the hockey heart and mind collide. And what I’ve gleaned from them is this:
Carey Price is not the reason for the woes of this team. Yes, he’s had his weak moments, especially earlier on, but lately he’s been a voice in the wilderness, crying out for some sort of help that never seems to come. Price, for most, is the number one goalie on the Habs, not Jaroslav Halak.
Coach Jacques Martin is not the problem. He can only create a system, have his players try to learn it, earn respect from them and vice versa, and discipline them. He can only do so much. It’s up to the players to get it done.
Marc-Andre Bergeron is not a fan-favourite. He’s prone to heart-stopping mistakes, making strange passes every player learns in peewee not to make. He’s a culprit.
The Little Big Three are not to blame. Brian Gionta and Mike Cammalleri have done the job. Scott Gomez has also, to a lesser extent.
Guillaume Latendresse provides only brief flashes of anything. Not nearly enough to say he’s elevated his game. He’s underachieved mostly every night, and it’s inexcusable. Lats is a prime example of someone who feels he’s won the job and 75% is enough instead of 100%.
We thought Maxim Lapierre was growing every year. Someone who began as a grinder and was certain to become more than that. The signs were there – the exciting goals, the work ethic. Then, this year, inexplicably, he’s regressed and is now a disappointing non-factor on a regular basis.
Tomas Plekanec, in the eyes of just about every commentor, is doing the job game in and game out, and now most are concerned he won’t re-sign with the team. He came off a mediocre season last year and has rebounded in great fashion. Why can’t some of the under-achievers learn from Plekanec?
Imagine what the team would be like without Roman Hamrlik? He’s been a rock on the blueline, a steady, experienced defenceman who has avoided any criticism from readers. Everyone knows this guy’s importance with so many injuries of his peers. Without Hamrlik, we’d be in Leaf territory.
Finally, there’s Andre Kostitsyn. The general consensus is, get rid of the bum and do it quick. Before this year he was a fan favourite, one people thought was about to explode at any time and become a bonafide star in the league. But maybe it began when he and his brother Sergei were found to be friends with some unsavoury types in Montreal, and it mushroomed from there. Sergei lost his game first, and Andrei followed soon after. Those who comment on this site have no patience for a 3.2 million dollar man who achieves nothing on a nightly basis. Rarely will I see a comment defending this guy.
All in all, if a player is going to wear the uniform of the Montreal Canadiens, he’d better perform. Otherwise, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.