The Montreal Canadiens Disaster of 2011-12
Warning, a few of these may be unsuitable for work, and certainly contain a few movie spoilers!
The guy who fell onto the propeller in Titanic:
Samuel L. Jackson gets eaten by a shark in Deep Blue Sea:
Finally, what we think should be the winner, every Nicolas Cage movie ever (this one's not for the kids):
What I'm trying to say is that this season has been a disaster for the Habs. No one expected things to get this bad, but you could tell from that very first day that there was going to be trouble. Andrei Markov wasn't going to start the year, and still hasn't played a game (whatever happened to his mid-January return?), despite signing a huge contract. Josh Gorges was tossed around like a rag doll over the summer, and no one was feeling especially good about this team.
Then things started to get worse. The Canadiens fell into the exact same patterns that got them in trouble before. The defensive shells, the lack of scoring, the "loser mentality". And to make things worse, the powerplay that had carried them to mediocre success in previous seasons had become completely inept.
Nothing was working for this team. So then the changes started coming. First, the assistant coach, Perry Pearn, was unceremoniously fired mere hours before a game. Then Pierre Gauthier made a desperation move, picking up Tomas Kaberle despite the fact that pretty much everyone agreed he wasn't worth the trouble. Jacques Martin was next to face the wrath of Gauthier, and finally, last week, it was Mike Cammalleri for basically calling out the team and its management.
What's left for Gauthier to screw up? It doesn't seem like he's going to get fired any time soon, so we may as well assume he will continue digging the hole for the Habs. Contracts still have to be handed out to P.K. Subban and Carey Price. Subban's agent is the notorious Don Meehan, the guy that forced the likes of Drew Doughty to sit out the start of the season, so good luck with that. Meanwhile, rumor has it Price is looking to take advantage of the Habs with a 10-year deal worth $70 million, a deal that the Habs may as well bend over and take it at this point.
It's time for Pierre Gauthier to finally make a tough decision and pack it in for the season. The Canadiens have several players that may be attractive to other teams at the deadline and that might not be returning to the team for next season. Andrei Kostitsyn, Travis Moen, and Hal Gill are all pending UFAs that could help another team on a playoff run. Would the Preds want to reunite Andrei with his brother? Would Moen help a team like the Canucks get a little grittier? Would Hal Gill be able to settle down the Flyers blueline? If Gauthier were smart, he'd start testing the waters for these players now, instead of doing what he always does, trading them on a whim to the first bidder that may have a player he once saw on Sportscentre.
Simply put, it's time for this organization to wake up and smell the coffee. The Canadiens aren't making the playoffs, and it would be foolish of them to even try. It's time to make some real changes, and while those may start in the GM's office, with only a month remaining until the trade deadline, Habs fans will have to look for these changes elsewhere. It starts with cutting your losses and setting a few players loose while teams are actually looking to spend money on rentals.
As the season wears on, the only thing we can really hope for is that the following happens to a certain general manager, so that this team can finally join the Light Side of the Force: