‘ONE AND DONE’ – Florida-2 Canadiens-0 (Dec. 30, 2017)

Dec 31st, 2017 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

“One and done”.

We started to hear the phrase in connection with the Canadiens in November and as the season progressed it became a descriptive of the Canadiens offense.

In hockey it refers to a team that is incapable of sustaining puck control inside an opponents blueline longer than one play before the puck again exits the zone.

It’s a perfect description of the Canadiens offense  and, when April rolls around it is destined to become the epitaph for a lost season, the penultimate nail of which was driven at Sunrise Florida two days before the New Year with 43 games still remaining on the schedule.

Hockey minds better than mine have been trying to figure out what has turned a team that won the Atlantic Division last season into a division bottom-feeder only six months later. Much of the finger-pointing will be legitmately directed at a team management that felt the need, either through miscalculation or sheer hubris to rip out key components to a team that had 103 points last season.

FAULT LINES

How much does the coaching staff have to do with his mess?

The coaching staff can only deal with the players they’re given and it’s obvious that the resurrection of both Dick Irvin and Toe Blake wouldn’t make them better hockey players. But, it’s one thing to be losing, it’s another thing to be boring while you’re doing it. Claude Julien has his team tied up with a defensive system that it may not have the personnel to execute.

On Friday Bergevin spent an entire practice trying to shake the team out of their ‘one-and-done’ inability to sustain puck possession in the offensive zone. The result, after after scoring one goal in each of their previous three games, they were shutout by the Panthers. And, if anything, they were more sleep inducing.

TRADE TALK

At the outset, I think Max Pacioretty gave himself a couple of chances in this game to end what is now a 12 game month-long scoring drought.

It takes a very special personality to be captain of a sinking ship while trying to shake out of a career long scoring slump. That double responsibility plus the necessity of dealing with the incessant questioning of the  nightly media horde seems to be more than Pacioretty has been able to bear.

There have been rumours that he has asked Marc Bergevin to trade him and according to the Hockey Night in Canada panel Saturday night, Bergevin is ready to accommodate him.

One merciful thing Bergevin might do in the interim is relieve him of the pressure of the captaincy.   While it’s too late to put the Canadiens back on track, it might bring Paciorety out of his funk.

A

BAD CHEMISTRY

There are a few good things about this team. We could start with the goaltender who in his 15 starts since returning from injury has given the Canadiens nine games in which he has allowed two goals or fewer.

There are other strong pieces.   Brendan Gallagher, Paul Byron and Andrew Shaw also come to mind. Because of unfilled holes in the lineup Jonathan Drouin is being forced to play a position he shouldn’t. Alex Galchenyuk is again showing signs of emerging. Jeff Petry has been the blue line anchor replacing Shea Weber. Once you get past that group and perhaps the possiblities of rookies Charles Hudon and Daniel Carr, there isn’t a great deal to scare an opponent.   Sad, but true.  Now the hanging question is, what Bergevin going to do about surrounding the positive pieces of the puzzle with the kind of individuals that can bring them together.

The larger question, six seasons into his tenure as general manager will be, whether he’s given the opportunity to make the necessary moves.

MOVING ON

The Canadiens return home Sunday for New Year’s Eve. They’ll practice Monday and start the 2018 calendar year Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks. First of a five game home stand. The final forty-three games of this season are going to be hard to bear.

 

 

5 Comments to “‘ONE AND DONE’ – Florida-2 Canadiens-0 (Dec. 30, 2017)”

  1. Bay_Bye says:

    the problem with Pacs asking to be traded is that Montreal will not get much for him..His report for Team USA slammed him and he was so bad they stated they wished they had not selected him and this play carried on into the NHL season.He is suppose to be the leader and top scorer but is doing neither.. like they say when the going gets tough the tough get going well Pacs has disappeared instead. and this 1980 style defense is totally useless in 2017…the biggest problem is Molson will do nothing as long as his bank account keeps filling up

  2. david deVries says:

    Another game of shooting blanks or laying goose eggs.
    With no scoring what is this team going to do to be entertaining?
    Maybe they need to start a fight in every remaining game to get the fans
    excited and give them something to cheer about.
    This team has real problems. This was evident already in the preseason.
    They are best to tank and be rewarded with some higher draft picks.
    I am glad I am not a season ticket holder and I definitely not paying an inflated
    price to see a boring game at the Bell Centre.
    Fans need to stop attending in the new year to wake up management.

  3. Ned Stark says:

    It’s 5 1/2yrs into Bergevin’s 5yr plan and I still have no idea where the finish line is for this team. An uncaring owner aka totally unqualified and inept Team President Geoff Molson. The man is standing in quick drying cement and shows no urgency to get out of it before it’s too late. That’s the trouble when the senior management of this Team/organization run it like its a country club. Their big plan is to win the Stanley Cup. Hardly original when 30 other teams are trying to do that too! But they have no idea how to get there. There is no Action Plan to follow. Just a trail of broken Bandaids scattered about the executive offices. There’s been no review conducted to see why each of these temporary fixes did not work. There are no player reviews after games like the successful teams in the league do like Tampa. They have an excellent Coach and GM setup in Tampa. In MTL there is no rhyme or reason on why certain players get so much/so little ice, who dresses/who shouldn’t dress, who’s on/off special teams etc. Instead we use the old and tried method of using both “hunches and Coach’s favourites”. More deserving players are cheated in the playing time they receive. There are different standards for the players as the Coach punishes some players by either benching or not dressing or demotion. Yet other players who should see less ice time or being a healthy scratch are left in the lineup like nothing is amiss. That can’t sit well in the dressing room. The GM thinks he’s pushed all the right buttons and that everything should be GREAT! Sorta like Trump in the States. He says there’s nothing more he needs to do. All the answers are in the dressing room he states. It’s true in a sense we have both the right players and wrong players in there and that’s on him. But accepting Accountability is not one of Bergevin’s stronger traits. Two years ago when Price was injured and lost in early December for the balance of the season. The team finished poorly and Bergy said that was on him. He then celebrated his coach by holding him harmless even though he hung a rookie goalie out there without properly protecting him. Bergy only made a few lower tier trades and then later brought in a failed NHL goalie playing in the minors to spell the rookie. I guess he figured he had done enough but then went on to blame the players at season’s end that it was their fault the team collapse happened. That’s the sure sign of a chicken shit GM.
    This team needs a lot of work. One action that might ignite two players right away is the moving of Gally27 to Centre and moving Drouin to his Wing. I’m sure the coach can see this needs to happen for the betterment of the team. But Bergevin’s pride and stubbornness won’t allow for that to happen. That would mean he was wrong about a couple of things and that just can’t happen. It would be cause of embarrassment for him to his friends and allies at RDS and the French Press. Other moves must be made not only for the short term but also the long run. But Bergevin should not be the guy here to make those trades happen. He has failed miserably to build the team. Back on Day 1 on the job Bergevin said he would build thru the draft. But he failed spectacularly in trying to do that. From the outset Teams in the NHL have pretty well in trading with Bergevin. He is either overpaying on a trade with an extra player or draft pick or failing to get another player/pics. You don’t get better any time soon under these types of approach.

    Until team owner/Team President Geoff Molson resigns the Team Pres role and brings on a new highly established hockey man to take that role on and to directly oversee the GM. Bergy cannot be promoted to the Team Pres role. You do not reward the level of incompetence he has reached. He must be fired along with his cadre of followers imbedded in the Team’s HQs, the HABS and in Laval. New hires must be those that have a passion for hockey, Offence, Offence + Scoring lots of goals!! They must have an impressive record backing up their career.
    The time to act is now Geoff Molson! Get off your duff and do something that will restore the Pride and Passion to this organization and bring back the championships. As Nike says: JUST DO IT!!!

  4. Bay_Bye says:

    the problem is Molson has to go as long as his bank account keeps rising he will do nothing to restore this great franchise. He is the Punch Imlack of 2017-18. As long as profits are up he will sit on his ass. I know Bergevin is an asshole but Julien is suppose to be the coach and needs to play the players properly and get Chucky at Center and Drouin on the wings. If he is only a puppet coach he along with Molson,Bergevin and Levbreve all need to go. Pacs seems to get rewarded for being ZERO FOR DECEMBER. when we pulled Price against TB who was sent out to get an important goal..Pacs,Alzner,Morrow…Chucky/Gally sitting on the pines… It would do no good for Molson to appoint a President as he would still interfere too much…

  5. Randal Smith says:

    There seems to have been few players who have really developed within the organisation in recent years/decades. Surely any re-building will need to look at that aspect of the organisation. Is it just my perception or is this view widely held? Can the right people be found to make this happen? In the past Habs had spectacularly capable people coaching in their farm system. And surely capable coaching in the farm system means player development, not championship teams?

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