Over his seventeen games with the Canadiens, Carr was scoring goals, a thing that was eluding most of his teammates. With Paul Byron out for a week, Carr has been recalled. In his seventeen games with the Canadiens, Carr scored five goals and added two assists. Only Paul Byron matched Carr’s five goals over that stretch. A sign of how far the Canadiens offense has fallen is the statistical face that the next best scorer on the team over that time was Max Pacioretty with four goals.
To that reality, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin gave coach Michel Therrien the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ and turned the focus on himself during a news conference Thursday at the Brossard training facility. It’s a common tactic to try to take the heat off when a coach is under fire, but in this case Bergevin needed to take his fair share of the blame for that state of his hockey club.
Usually when there is legitimate cause for a coaching dismissal it hinges on a team failing to compete on a regular basis. That hasn’t been the problem. The issue is the ability to translate team effort into goals and, in that the Canadiens have been pathetic. There is obviously a personnel issue and as Bergevin said many times during his news conference, “that is on me.”
When the season opened, I’m sure Bergevin thought he had a competitive team. Twenty-three games into the season he still thought he had a Stanley Cup contending team. So did we all.
By now, we know it was an illusion.
Truth be told, the Canadiens have the offensive talent to stock one consistent scoring line and that’s only if you think Tomas Plekanec or Alex Galchenyuk fit in as the number one centre on a line with Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher.
Outside of Pacioretty the depth chart on left wing is Fleischmann, Eller, de la Rose, Carr and Michael Bournival. On right wing beyond Gallagher it’s Weise, Smith-Pelly, Byron, Flynn and Sven Andrighetto. Desharnais, Mitchell are the other centres with Michael McCarron and Charles Hudon at St. John’s. There is offensive potential in some of them. Among the others, what we’ve seen is what we are going to get in the future.
Therrien may have his faults but that kind of depth shortage has to be hung on Bergevin. Based on his news conference today, he seems totally prepared to take the blame.
And as the Canadiens head for their Saturday date in Toronto they find themselves two notches below the final Eastern wild card berth after Pittsburgh edged Philadelphia Thursday night. They are also tied with Ottawa and once-lowly Carolina which means by late Friday after the Senators host the Islanders and the Hurricanes meet the Rangers at home, there’s a chance that they will be buried in 12th place in the Eastern Conference with four teams ahead of them for the final wild card berth.