The Montreal Canadiens Disaster of 2011-12

Earlier today, I asked twitter if it was too soon to compare this Habs season to the cruise ship tragedy in Italy. Consensus was that it was probably in poor taste. Obviously, not because it's too soon to give up on the Canadiens, but because of the tragedy itself.

Instead, we came up with a few other disasters that sum up what Montreal Canadiens fans are feeling right now, as their team sits in 12th place in the East, and only two points away from being the absolute worst team in the conference. You may be more used to seeing these types of things over at our sister-site, Better With Popcorn, but feel free to let us know which one you think best represents the 2011-12 season for the Montreal Canadiens.

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:

 

 

The Tacoma Narrows bridge collapse:

 

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.

But more immediately, Gauthier has to decide whether he's a buyer or seller heading into next month's trade deadline. The GM will adamantly tell you that he hasn't given up on making the playoffs, but win or lose, the Canadiens' chances of heading to the post-season continue to dwindle with every passing day. With 10 points to make up on the 8th place Panthers, one has to wonder what a surge, as unlikely as it may be would even accomplish. Lets be serious here, Habs fans, do we really want to see this team squeeze into the playoffs by exhausting themselves, only to face the prospect of the Bruins or Flyers in the first round?

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.

Beyond that, if this team was really serious about changing things for the better, guys like Scott Gomez would be out the door. He's been playing better since his return, so maybe the Habs can find a sucker out there willing to rid the Canadiens of the Gomez disease. I'm just dreaming out loud here.

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:

 

 

 

2 Comments

habbykins's picture

Nice and time to trade Gomer to a floor team - high cap hit lower salary for the next two years.

George Prax's picture

Problem is, the CBA is up this year and Donald Fehr is being kind of a dick, so no one knows what next year will bring. Teams aren't going to take risks like that just to get to a cap floor that doesn't exist yet. The only hope is for the summer if the floor does rise.