The time has come for the Canadiens to collectively elevate their game in preparation for the playoffs. Brian Burke has a motto that he brings with him to every team. “NO COMPLAINTS, NO EXCUSES.”
It's time for Montreal to apply that motto. It's time for them to forget about the first 70 games of the season, turn off cruise control, and kick it into high gear. Their next 4 games are against teams that will all be among the 10 worst teams in the entire NHL this year. They need to use these games against Ottawa, Toronto, Atlanta and Tampa Bay to bring themselves back up to the level that they are capable of playing at. There are still some bad habits exhibited by the Habs, and now is the perfect time, against the perfect opposition to rid themselves of those tendencies. I am aware that all 4 of these teams have been playing better, but even so, if they can't put together a quality four game stretch against the league's cellar dwellers, then Montreal does not deserve a spot in the postseason. The causes for concern that need to be corrected over the next 4 games includes; inconsistency from period to period, the inability to generate stable scoring at even strength, and the number of shots they give up is alarming. If it sounds like I plagiarized these bad habits from another source, you are right. This set of criticism were the exact words used by Bob Gainey when explaining why he fired Guy Carbonneau.
How does that make sense? If the team had those problems under Guy Carbonneau, and now they have identical issues with a new coach, could it be that maybe, just maybe, this was more about the players playing than the coach coaching? Is it at all possible that Gainey may have made a mistake in his evaluation of talent? Anyway, I digress, and that is the subject for another day (I promise!)…..
In other Habs News;
Sergei Kostitsyn on fire in Hamilton
Too bad he picked the wrong time to elevate his game. With everyone getting healthy, there is no room to call up #74. A strong finish should assure him a spot in the top 6 next year.
Prospect Yemelin out for the year
Alexei Yemelin, D, is out for the year after being assaulted on the ice in the KHL. He will undergo surgery, but he is expected to recover and will be ready to play next year. The question is, does he want to continue in the Russian league or would he like to play for the Canadiens in the NHL? Yes, he is THAT good, not top 4 good, but definite NHL ready potential.
Guy Carbonneau talked to the media on Wednesday. He was very classy and refused to throw any players under the bus. He did hint that there were some bad apples and that the information will leak out eventually. He acknowledged that his communication wasn't his strongest attribute, but he also refuted the notion that he may have “lost” his dressing room. Regardless, he is a good coach who learned from his mistakes, and I believe he will be a head coach in the NHL as early as next season, possibly for the Dallas Stars if they fail to make the playoffs. That is not a rumor, that is a bold prediction with no information to back it up!
Habs sign prospect Olivier Fortier
Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2007 Entry Draft, Fortier has enjoyed a good career in the QMJHL. The 6'0, 183 center is an energy player who makes up for a lack of raw ability with a tremendous work ethic. He will play for the Hamilton Bulldogs next year, with his NHL potential being a 3rd or 4th line center who gets minutes on the PK. Think Maxim Lapierre.
The Habs are in Ottawa tonight in their first of the so-called easy 4 game stretch. It is a must win game as far as I'm concerned. No complaints, no excuses, just do it.
GO HABS GO!
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.