Well the end of the 2016-1017 season has come. The Montreal
Canadiens had to match up with bitter original six rival, the New York Rangers.
It was a hard-fought series, from the casual observer. But for me, it was a one-sided
affair for the later parts of the series. Which ultimately rang true for a
rather disappointing game 6 lose, that ended the habs season.
I retrospective. This six game series, showed the many flaws
that the Canadiens had throughout the regular season. Poor puck possession,
defensive mistakes, terrible defensive zone play, a lack of key scoring, and
the most important weakness of all. The lack of a affective top four center, or
center depth in general for the Canadiens.
The Canadeins best players were simply out played, and shut
down by the Rangers stifling defensive style, and strong puck possession. Max
Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, Phillip Danault, and Andrew Shaw where scoreless
through the six games of the series. Meanwhile Carey Price was forced to fight
a losing battle against the Rangers strong attackers.
Though there were two bright spots for this short playoff. Alexander
Radulov and Atturi Lehkonen were really the only two forwards that showed both
speed and scoring talents for the habs.
The defense was a not it best against the Rangers for most
of the series. The Rangers did a great job getting past and neutralizing the
Canadiens puck moving defensemen; while shutting down Shea Weber and the
Canadiens power play. Limiting the Canadiens leader in power play goals this
season, to just one goal on the man advantage.
Overall that the season ended with just two games won in the
post season. The expectation for this team after the Weber/Subban trade was a
much better result than this; especially with a healthy and Vezina trophy
nominee in Carey Price behind the net, playing good hockey for the habs.
Opinion on the regular season
A lot happened during the regular season.
So, let’s start from the beginning; with the Canadiens
having another great start to the season. While the habs got off to a great
start in October going 8-0-1 for the month, while carrying that through November
with an 8-5-1.
Then the December came, and the wheels started to spin in
the wrong direction for the habs. Carey Price was playing at average or in some
cases below average in is games. Meanwhile Max Pacioretty was the saving grace
of the season; waking up from major offensive slump and score nearly 80% of his
goals during this period.
The team however was still close to losing a playoff spot in
the Atlantic division to the Ottawa Senators. This prompted Marc Bergevin to
make a bold move. Firing Micheal Therrien after a rather ugly lose to the rival
Bruins, and hiring Claude Juilen to replace for the second time. (Which any
believe was the work of Price, playing poorly on purpose. Which I think was the
Almost immediately Julien’s systems on both defense and the
offense of the Canadien paid off, as Carey Price soon returned to his world
class play and carried the Canadiens back to the top of the Atlantic division
The Canadiens had man other stories throughout the season.
New comers to the team seemed to make an immediate impact for the Canadiens.
Alexander Radulov was a major gamble for the Canadiens, who
in the past have made one-years deals like this, only to get burned. Luckily,
the infamous curfew breaker, was not only a hard worker from the get go. He proved
the doubters wrong with his offensive skills and his tough work ethic.
Artturi Lehkonen was a fabulous addition to the Canadiens.
The Young rookie had a great first full campaign with the team. Finishing with 18
goals and 10 assists, for 28 points. And while other rookies where putting together
record performances. Lehkonen very quietly established himself as a offensive
Shea Weber was by far the most controversial player on the
team this season. While some eye focused on Price, and his return to health.
Weber was meant to bring stability and leadership, along with a big shut down
defensive style. Weber was a big success in the regular season for the habs,
with his hard shot and powerplay abilities.
Paul Byron established himself as a top like scorer. The diminutive
forward scored a career high 22 goals and 21 assists. Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher,
and Tomas Plekanec all had down season. While Gallagher had signignat injuries
for most of the season. Plekanec has a dreadful season playing 78 games for the
habs. While Galchenyuk, still could not find constancy under Therrien or
Overall this season in my opinion was a roller coaster that
had a disappointing pay off. We habs fans where told this season, we had a much
better team. Better than the team that missed the post season, after a historic
collapse. Yet, the ending was comparable to that same collapse.
The same problems that plagued the team from begin to end
for the habs. A problem that fans, hockey analysts, and other coaches and GMs
have seen, talked about, and exploited; especially the later.
The lack to depth at the center position, and the lack of
real offensively gifted players for the Canadiens was the ultimate factor for
the habs earlies playoff exit. A problem that was very clear throughout the
season, and shown very clearly in the post season; has the major flaw for the
One thing I can’t help is the failure of Marc Bergevin.
Although the season was to some a success. For me. I can’t help but feel that
this was a bad look for the franchise. Bergevin, trade Subban, based on the
idea that his character was the problem. Bringing in a player of Weber’s abilities
and age, and saying that we are in a win know mode; then doing nothing to
address the real issues of the team. Shows that he not capable of making the
moves to make a cup winning team.
I just don’t like the idea of these band aid solutions to
the team. When a big move is what the team needs to make the next step. The
habs have not had years of being a basement dwelling team, of a team that has
tanked for a franchise player like other teams. Bergevin is a product of a
Blackhawks organization that had to lose for years, to get where they are.
In the end, I can’t have any confidence in Marc Bergevin as
the GM for the Canadiens. It’s clear to me that he and his staff, have overestimated
their team’s abilities, while relying too much on Carey Price to carry the
teams glaring flaws on him back. Something I hope the owner ship takes to
heart. Unless he makes a move to bring in so real offensive punch. I would much
rather a new GM, than to see the same seasons mistakes for the 2017-2018
Well that’s it. The season ended on a rather sour note. It
felt like a roller coaster, and an adventure with new faces and great times. I
just wish the it could have been a better ending than this. I’m happy that was
got into the playoffs. But overall, I feel like this team was a bit of an overachieving
team. Something the Rangers clearly showed the habs.
Anyways there’s still plenty more that’s going to happen in
the off season. Are whole team will change in a flash. Remember. We have a new
team joining the NHL next season, which means an expansion draft is looming on
My follow habs fans. The season may be over. But the heartache,
the headaches, and the protentional for anger induce vomiting is still
possible. The Montreal Canadiens roller coaster. Never stops running.
GO! HABS! GO!
(I’d like to apologize for and one who cant stand terrible spelling and grammar, who read this whole shitty post by the way)