2011 was an interesting year for Montreal. They went to a game 7 overtime against the eventual stanley cup champions in the first round of the playoffs. They signed veteran winger Erik Cole in the summer. They made some interesting trades, including the Kaberle for Spacek deal. They got off to a terrible start in the 2011-12 season. The biggest story came at the end of the year, when they changed coaches and created a major controversy because of it.
Will 2012 be as exciting as 2011 was?
Here are 12 BOLD predictions as to what may be in store for Habs fans.
January: After suffering another setback, the team announces that Andrei Markov will miss the remainder of the 2011-12 season.
February: When it becomes clear that the Canadiens will not be making the playoffs, Pierre Gauthier trades Hal Gill, Chris Campoli, Travis Moen and Andrei Kostitsyn at the trade deadline to contending teams. He is unable to trade Mathieu Darche, as no one is willing to meet his asking price of a first round pick and a top prospect.
March: Habs fans get some good news when the team announces that Carey Price has signed a 5-year – $25 million dollar contract extension.
April: Owner Geoff Molson and Pierre Gauthier hold a press conference at the end of the season after failing to make the playoffs. Molson shocks the people in attendance when he announces that he has no intention of finding a new General Manager. It is also announced that Randy Cunneyworth will not be retained as Head Coach.
May: After missing the playoffs despite lofty expectations, the Buffalo Sabres do the unthinkable and fire Head Coach Lindy Ruff. Ruff is then hired by the Montreal Canadiens.
June: With Columbus not wanting to spend another first round pick on a Russian, Montreal trades several draft choices (including their top 5 pick) and a prospect to move up to #1 overall. They select Nail Yakupov. Close to June 30, it is announced that PK Subban has agreed to terms on a 3-year contract extension.
July: The Habs sign Dustin Penner to a cheap 2-year deal following his subpar season. Renowned faceoff-specialist and fighter Zenon Konopka is also signed after Petteri Nokelainen leaves to go back to Finland. After trading him at the deadline, Montreal also brings back Travis Moen. RFAs Emelin, Diaz and White are re-signed as well.
August: The owners and players agreed on a new CBA earlier in the summer. One clause allows each team to buyout 1 player without it counting against the salary cap between August 1 and August 15. The Canadiens elect to exercise that option to rid them of Scott Gomez.
September: Leading up to the start of the regular season, the Canadiens trade a package featuring Mike Cammalleri and David Desharnais to Colorado for Paul Stastny.
October: Habs lineup for Game 1 of the 2012-13 season – Price in goal. Markov-Emelin; Gorges-Subban; Kaberle-Diaz on defense. Pacioretty-Stastny-Cole; Yakupov-Plekanec-Gionta; Penner-Eller-Leblanc; Moen-Konopka-White up front.
November: A combination of a hot start by Brendan Gallagher in Hamilton and Montreal’s desire to improve their defense results in a trade of Brian Gionta and Yannick Weber for a veteran D-man. Josh Gorges immediately becomes the team’s captain.
December: Despite being the #1 team in the NHL and off to their best start in franchise history, the Canadiens are forced to fire Lindy Ruff after his McGill transcript leaks out and it is revealed that he got a C- in his French class.
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.