By Steve Silverman
Bumbling Habs have no chance of regaining stride in second half
This season has been an abject disaster for the Montreal Canadiens.
Barring a miracle run in the second half of the season, the Habs will miss the playoffs this year and it won’t even be close. They started the second half of the season with a mind-numbing 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues, and that game is typical of the way the team played in the first half of the season.
The Canadiens have plenty of faults, but the biggest is that they just can’t put the puck in the net. Their only goal against the Blues came with just over a minute remaining in the game, and legitimate scoring chances were at a premium for 60 minutes. Once the Blues took a two-goal lead, the Canadiens had as much chance of winning the game as a visitor has of climbing a rope to get out of the Grand Canyon.
General manager Marc Bergevin is likely several weeks away from getting thrown out of the Molson Center. Bergevin is charged with putting a representative team on the ice, and he has done a fairly brutal and somewhat indefensible job since taking on the role of building the Montreal roster following the 2011-12 season.
No matter how long he has left on the job, you can be sure that Bergevin knows that the current makeup of the team is not acceptable, and there’s a good chance he will move some of the team’s best assets in an attempt to build the team up for the 2018-19 or 2019-20 season.
That means that Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk and Shea Weber could be on the move. While it’s unlikely that all three will take off the bleu, blanc y rouge, it would be a shock if one or two of them are not traded.
Pacioretty could bring a combination of a legitimate NHL player along with a prospect or two and a draft pick, and that’s more than anyone else on the roster could bring.
Head coach Claude Julien jumped on the Canadiens’ offer to coach the team a year ago after he was fired by the Boston Bruins. While it was a feather in his cap that he was on the unemployment line for just a few days, he may be regretting that he took the job so quickly.
The pressure in Montreal is unlike any other city in the league, and nearly all of it is on Bergevin since the Canadiens are 20-24-6 and 10 points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Once the team decides to get rid of Bergevin, that pressure will shift to Julien, and the former Stanley Cup-winning coach knows it.