Sunday, November 1st 2015, the Montreal Canadians were firmly in control of the league having won 11 games out of 13, accumulating 22 points out of a possible 26 in the process. The team was on fire, all the forwards were contributing enormously averaging at least three goals per game. The defence was extremely solid, only conceding more than three goals three times in those 13 games. Let’s not forget about their amazing goaltenders in Carey Price and the newly admired Mike Condon. These two were simply stopping anything that came at them, playing like two ginormous brick walls. The morale in the locker room was better than ever, the coaching staff couldn’t have been any happier, and as for the fans, let’s just say they were being greeted to some quality hockey. In the game against the Winnipeg Jets, on Sunday November 1st, the atmosphere was incredible, the fans were ecstatic, the hockey was great and the Habs came out on top 5-1, absolutely dominating the Jets. The fans were cheering “Ça sent la Coupe”, and really thought that this year would be their year that the so precious Stanley Cup would be brought back home to Montreal for a 25th time. Now, the Canadians have an amazing fan-base, one of the best in the league, but these fans can also get very over-confident very easily. Sadly, that is what has happened this year.
For the past two months, the Montreal Canadians have been struggling to get those crucial points they need to make the playoffs. They have gone from first in the East to the current twelfth spot, currently sitting 6 points out of a playoff spot. They have accumulated the least amount of points in the whole league since the new year, which is unacceptable for a team with this much talent. The only question is: how? The first idea that comes to mind is their star power. Carey Price, clearly the NHL’s best goaltender and MVP, bringing home four trophies last year including the Hart Trophy, the Vezina Trophy, the Ted Lindsay trophy and finally, the William Jennings trophy. That is a lot of silverware for one man, but it was well deserved for the remarkable season he had last year. Though it’s not likely to be a replica season for Price, seeing that he has only played 12 games out of a possible 56. This is thanks to his mysterious leg injury that no one seems to know about. It is not everyday we see a player out of the game for more than four months, without going through surgery. But that’s not all. No one seems to know what his injury really is, which leaves huge question marks on the remaining season. It’s completely obvious that the Habs have struggled without their star player. Now, we can’t let the rest of the team off the hook just because their amazing goaltender is injured. This team has too many superstars and hardworking talent to be at the same level as the Ottawa Senators in the current standings. No offence to Ottawa, but even their captain Erik Karlsson claims that they are “a grinding, hardworking team, with not much talent”. The productivity has been lacking, the defence has been somewhat horrendous and the goaltending hasn’t been the best. It also looks like the players have lost faith in the coaches and the locker room energy was rumored to be negative. A drastic change from the beginning of the season.
Lately, the Canadians have been doing some damage picking up three straight victories, some in a more convincing manner than others. Most analysts and fans were hoping to see a great change in the way this team is playing; to eventually continue this great form of play and surge to a playoff spot. Sadly, the Canadians have fallen back to their woeful ways, losing another two games in a row to teams that they shouldn’t be, the Buffalo Sabres and the Arizona Coyotes. If these Montreal Canadians concede six goals, two games in a row, to teams that aren’t in the playoff zone, that’s just ludicrous.
Will this team be able to get out of this major slump and turn their mediocre season around? We’ll have to stay tuned and see what happens at the begin of April. Will there be a massive trade, marching orders in the coaching staff or even a surprise comeback to the Stanley Cup playoffs? We’ll just have to wait and see!
Written By: Brandon Brini
Originally Published: February 2016