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.