Updated: Apr 25, 2021
As yet another season seemingly goes by the wayside, is it too early to start, you know, naming names and pointing (fat) fingers? Granted, the Canadiens are still, statistically speaking, in good position to make the playoffs, but truth be told, this is not what any of the prognosticators, heck even the team's management, were expecting.
So I say, why wait to say "I told you so" let's start the blame game right now. And it starts with the General Manager, Marc Bergevin. After all, "its on me".
Here are, in no particular order, 10 arguments why I feel strongly that Marc has to wear the big boy pants and admit that what is looking like an epic failure (even worse than last year's 8-game losing streaks) is, well, on him.
#1- To be in the ridiculous predicament the Canadiens are in right now, cap-wise, unable to make roster changes, call up players, is quite simply embarrassing. It reeks of gross mismanagement. In hindsight, was the acquisition of Eric Staal worth putting the Canadiens in this situation, particularly given the excruciatingly jam-packed schedule that lay ahead? Would one not expect that several of the veterans, particularly with what was such a big cushion over the teams behind them, need games to rest, to replenish their reservoir?
#2- That dreadful Sergachev-Drouin trade has never looked worse than it does right now. Not only have the Canadiens, after all these years, still been unable to find a mobile, skilled LHD, but the player they received in return, is deteriorating significantly before our very eyes. Despite being given the luxury of playing with some of the team's top forwards, getting substantial powerplay minutes, our friend Jo-le-Taxi (who should in fairness be on the Taxi squad) is still sitting with a measly 2 goals on the season. Even more worrisome, he is signed at 5.5M$ for several more years. Ouch.
#3- 31 + 6 + 92 + 41 = close to 30M$ in cap space, for many, many more years. Price and Weber's contracts, in particular, are simply untradeable. Anyone foolish enough to think Seattle will pick up Price's contract, needs to give their head a serious shake.
#4- Speaking of # 6, please, please tell us he has been playing hurt. I mean, I get that he's in his mid 30s, I understand that he's played some hard minutes for many years, but come on, you got to be kidding. His play hasn't just dropped off, it's fallen off a giant cliff. His lack of speed was well documented, but how can one explain those mental errors, soft passes, missed shots and overall lackluster demeanor? Captain Crunch has become Captain Glunch (google it).
#5- Hiring an inexperienced coach, with a team loaded with veterans, a team with lofty expectations (set for them, thanks again Marc). To boot, surrounding that coach with another inexperienced coach in Burrows. Inexplicable. Short-sighted. Veterans don't seem to be buying into Dom Ducharme's coaching style or his tactics are simply not adapted to the group at hand.
#6- Arrogance, poor communication skills during his pressers. Enough. Such a prestigious organization should be expected to have its staff, especially the GM, be able to communicate much more proficiently (and I'm not just referring to his poor grammar-in both languages-but his inability to express his thoughts, how often he misunderstands questions journalists ask of him, etc). No one expects Molière or William Shakespeare but look around the league...'nuff said.
#7- He overestimated the so-called "window". Weber will not be Chara, and Price is not Lundqvist. And when both were legit stars at their position, say in 2017, he did nothing to bolster the lineup. Ott? Martinson? Dwight King? Missed opportunity. Same can be said of the 2-3 years that followed. Bergie did not address any of the team's crying needs, because, as he often told us, trades for players at key positions are "only done on Playstation".
#8- Not resigning Radulov. Not resigning Markov (or at least having a viable option to replace him). Jordie Benn on a first pairing. Tu m'niaises tu??
#9- Building a team build on 1990s hockey. Physical stay-at-home D-men that offer little else (perhaps a couple should, in fact, stay at home). Birds of a feather flock together as they say, and Marc seems to think his own style of play is what works in today's NHL (funny, the Canadiens in his first few years were mobile but not as big or physical- again how many times has this team changed their identity during his 9-year tenure as GM?)
#10- Perhaps the most damning evidence against the Accused, is the fact the Canadiens continue to be unable to develop their prospects, in particular their first rounders (Galchenyuk, Scherbak, McCarron, Juulsen, and possibly even Ryan Poehling). Bergevin made it sound in his latest presser, that often we need to look at the players themselves. Look how they did after they left he mentioned (classic Bergevin if I may add, "it's on me" but really, it never is). But then, if that's a valid point, the finger needs to be squarely pointed at Trevor Timmins, does it not? I mean they've had opportunities to draft in the top 15 on several occasions. Fact is this team has been built on trades, on fixing mistakes, but the most successful franchises are built from the bottom up, drafting players and developing them should be the bloodline of all winning organizations. Sadly, not in Montreal over the past decade or so.
And so, in light of what we believe to be compelling evidence and unequivocal arguments,
we, the jury, find the accused, Marc Bergevin, GUILTY.