Good news regarding the silver lining of the bright side

Sitting down in a porta potty moments before it tips over. Paying for gas anywhere in the province of Quebec. Spending a day palling around with Captain Fun Stephen Harper. Being punched repeatedly in the face. And church.

There, I am almost positive all of that would be less fun than watching the Montreal Canadiens play hockey. So now that we’ve established it actually could be worse, let’s have a nice, non-violent chat about the Habs.

There aren’t many times when living in Western Canada is advantageous for a Habs fan but when there is this much negativity surrounding the organization, and every single person with two fingers and a smart phone is offering their thoughts 24 hours a day, living outside the chaos is a dream.

Obviously, being able to completely tune out the Cirque du Olé is part of the joy but what really makes it all worthwhile is being able to form my own opinions and at least attempt some objective thought.

Don’t get me wrong, objective thinking still results in the conclusion that they just plain suck but at least I am able to concentrate on what isn’t completely terrifying about the club’s future without having Tony Marinaro makin’ me wanna punch children all day.

Do the Habs have holes? Of course they do, gaping ones. But do they have to tailspin for five seasons to fill them all? Of course not.

I, like you, have watched this team all season and, also like you, have an absolute sea of shit hockey floating around my memory bank, having pushed any decent games way in the back where I keep high school algebra. But no matter how frustrating this debacle has been for everyone involved, that pitiful team is still somehow just six wins away from the playoffs, and they’ve lost those since Valentine’s Day.

Even with all the missing pieces the Habs have displayed this season, those six wins could have easily — and maybe then some — been made up with players already under contract. As of a week ago, the Habs were essentially tied with the Penguins for the most injured team in hockey, at nearly five man games lost each night.

While Pittsburgh’s club was in fairly decent shape to handle much of that — even Sid — the Montreal Canadiens were not. When Habs began dropping like flies — or didn’t even take flight to begin with — what was left was a group of terribly inexperienced players trying to play veteran minutes.

When that issue was coupled with a less-than innovative coaching staff, before and after Jacques, the recipe for disaster was pretty much complete. Sure, Gomez is a joke and would be regardless but many players’ shortfalls can be at least somewhat explained by the team’s health situation.

Markov is the best defenceman on the roster by far (yes I know, he’s the NHL’s Grant Hill blah, blah, blah) and as soon as he came off the starting six, every other D-man’s life was affected in a huge way. Throw in some more injury trouble and all of a sudden guys like Campoli, Kaberle and Diaz are in the regular mix.

The same crap reality is true for the forwards. Look at Plekanec for cryin’ out loud. If you’re blaming Pleks for his lack of production, you’re aiming at the wrong guy.

Talk about using a player in the worst possible way. He plays with new linemates every night damn near AND he has to kill every penalty AND shadow every opposition top line. It’s ridiculous.

Forget trying to find that top-line-centre-in-a-haystack already. How about get a goddamn checking centre and stop using our most talented middleman like he’s Kris fucking Draper? But, as annoying as it is, roster problems have somewhat forced the hand in that situation also and so as much as I’d like to just yell at Randy Cunneyworth for an afternoon, he, like Jacko, was just trying to use a great player as much as he could to make up for all the holes in the rest of the lineup.

A healthier Habs would’ve made the playoffs this year. They don’t win but they make it. And that, as far as I’m concerned, is worth smiling about, especially when you realize they just have to tank for another month — minus two games against the Leaves — and they will have an opportunity to add a potential superstar via draft lottery.

Just the idea that a Nail Yakupov could be on Plekanec’s wing is enough to cheer for the opposition the rest of the way. A talent like that would not be joining a brutal roster the way top picks often do, either.

Instead, that lottery pick would join a core group of Price, Subban, Cole, Pacioretty, Pleks, Eller, Markov (we hope), Gorges, Leblanc, Emelin, Gionta, DD, White, possibly Moen, and Bourque.

That’s a solid group. It’s incomplete for sure and I’m not trying to say they’ll come back next year and win it all. But if they can just suck a little bit longer and let those Blue Jackets and Oilers do some catching up, the Habs could be back on track much quicker than most people are willing to admit.

It’s time to embrace last place.

It’s time to fail for Nail.

12 Comments

Phil T's picture

Last time I checked, the Blue Jackets were FIFTEEN points back, so I doubt they'll catch up any time soon, especially with Steve Mason still getting a lot of the starts. Some would say Grigorenko is perhaps better for the Habs anyway, being a natural center with a bigger frame than Yakupov. Finishing 29th would be pretty good, granted we don't get screwed at the draft lottery.

Scott Schmidt's picture

Could be that one team to snatch that pick away from No. 1 though, which is sort of what I was getting at.

George Prax's picture

"Spending a day palling around with Captain Fun Stephen Harper. "

Hey man, Harper will take you to hockey games by private jet and let you play with his cats. I'd say that pretty fun.

Seriously though, I agree with you. I really don't think the Habs are in that bad shape, they have some assets, hopefully Markov and Gionta coming back next year, Gomez heading out. Add in a top four D and maybe a top 6 winger, and this team will look pretty good next year.

Welcome to the team (:

evilbobsaget's picture

" Fail for Nail "

LOVE IT!!!!!

Prax, that should be your next T-Shirt.

George Prax's picture

I wish, but it's been coined all season lol

David Collins's picture

I agree with Phil on this one. Yakupov is obviously a great player and has more talent, but I think Grigorenko is just what the Habs need. Obviously at #1 Yakupov will go to any team, you have to pick best player available at that point, but other than that I think the Habs really need that big #1 center that Grigs can be. I do believe, though, that the Habs aren't as bad as they've shown this year. Next year should be much better.

George Prax's picture

Yes! Grigorenko allows the Habs to deal a couple of centers.

Scott Schmidt's picture

I woudn't be upset about getting Grigorenko at all either but if the Habs did land the No. 1 pick, which is still plausible by finishing 29th, they'd be drunk not to take Nail, since he's by far the best available player. Every GM knows you take the best available player when you're picking high. You worry about needs later in the draft. That and Grigorenko doesn't rhyme with anything that means fuck up the rest of the way please.

Scott Schmidt's picture

That being said, if the Habs don't get No. 1, then Grigorenko is an easy choice.

campattendant's picture

Great to see you back Shmitzy! I have missed your insights, regardless if I agree with them or not. I have been a fan of the "Canadiens" for 40 some years through the thick and thin, most of them "thick". It has been difficult for me to subscribe to the "fail" movement as it has not been an unacceptable part of my #habs heritage. This year has been the most frustrating that I have ever experienced. Like you, being a fan out here has been a tiring listen to the eastern medias negative commentary on our squad. It's like a "laffs" like attitude that has crept into the fanbase.

I see much hope for the future, we have plenty of fine young players on the ice, the minors, especially in the juniors, as well as a high pick in the draft coming up. I lay the blame on the owner/management group that has lost a vision of what the goal is, they run a canadian based team that will never "lose" at the gate, and that is as far as their thinking goes. I subscribe to a #slashandburn in that particular area. Fresh faces, back to basics, that defensive forward, no more pretty boy shit for me! Therefore, I will temporarily join the "tanknation" group until the start of the 12-13 season! Then it's back to reality! #gohabsgo

I with ya... gonna enjoy kicking over that "leaves colored harper house" in the final game of the year!

: ) #habsfanforever

Scott Schmidt's picture

I agree Camp, though I'm not so sure I have PG quite as far under the bus as everyone else. Which is not to say I think he should for sure be back, either. However, that's for another blog. lol

Scott Schmidt's picture

I just heard the Remparts commentator doing a Grigorenko hatty. That could make ya love anyone! Hilariously awesome!