By the time the siren sounds on Wednesday night, we’ll know whether the Montreal Canadiens, the team we’ve cheered and cursed and loved and also wanted to tar and feather, will have either given themselves a swift boot in the behind, or have flushed themselves three quarters down the toilet and pretty well stopped playing for themselves, the fans, and coach Jacques Martin.
It doesn’t take a TSN or RDS analyst to see this. After two incredibly lousy efforts on the weekend, first against the Senators and then in New York the next night, you just know there has been some sort of soul-searching, probably at a team meeting or two, maybe some yelling and pointing of fingers. Maybe even the wives and kids have given them proper shit.
And maybe, as we speak, there’s a hard look being given by the brass at the merits of the coach.
This isn’t even an elite team, these Blues, that the Canadiens must deal with in fine fashion. St. Louis has a similar record to the Habs – 49 points to Montreal’s 50 and have played two less games for goodness sakes, but are mired in 13th place in the Western Conference and going nowhere fast. Unfortunately, the Habs will reach 13th faster than a speeding locomotive if they don’t pull up their jockstraps, starting now.
The Blues haven’t been an overly dangerous bunch, but of course, Montreal may make them look like it. St. Louis’ leading scorer, Brad Boyes, has all of 32 points, compared with Tomas Plekanec in Montreal who sits with 18 more than that. The next two leading point-getters – Andy McDonald and Keith Tkachuk (who will be celebrating his 75th birthday soon), have 28 and 27 points, while the Habs have Mike Cammalleri and Scott Gomez with 40 and 32. And Paul Kariya plays when he’s not in the hospital or resting at home with a concussion.
However, lack of production and injuries aside, the St. Louis Blues might look like the best team in the history of the world on this night, compliments of the Montreal Canadiens.
None of this is meant to be nasty to the Blues. Not at all. No, it’s only about Montreal and who will show up on Wednesday, the listless, non-scoring, mistake-riddled bunch with mediocre goaltending, or a swift-skating, high-flying machine with a goalie doing handstands and a power play to behold.
Talk about interesting. If the Canadiens smell like week-old cabbage after Wednesday’s game, then it’s time Bob Gainey steps in for real and removes the coach between phone calls to his GM buddies around the league in preparation of pulling the trigger that sends a couple of real surprises elsewhere. There are no untouchables on the Montreal Canadiens. Not now, when the natives (us) are getting restless and the hockey gods are creating havoc with the weather.
What a team. Geez, they’re harder to figure out than the opposite sex.