The Montreal Canadiens closed out the 2017 calendar year with a three-game losing streak. The struggling Habs added two more losses to begin 2018 before knocking off the top team in the league in a shootout.
Since taking care of his injury issues, Carey Price has been exceptional giving fans flashes of the team we were expecting to see when the season opened.
This season has been frustrating for die-hard Canadiens supporters that has been highlighted by injuries to Price, Artturi Lehkonen, Shea Weber, David Schlemko and Jonathan Drouin. This edition of the Habs has been a disappointment.
It is the mid-point of the season and things look bleak. The Canadiens currently sit in 28th position in the NHL with 38 points. Montreal must play at a .700 points percentage pace to have a chance at making the playoffs. It’s possible but unlikely.
In the meantime in order to help keep your blood pressure down and to relax in this time of hardship here are twelve tips to keep you thinking positive and to endure this trying time.
10. The season isn’t over yet
After a 1-8-1 start, the Habs have actually played .565 hockey from a points percentage. What does this mean? It is well below the .700 level that they need but with Carey Price in goal, they are capable of going on a lengthy winning streak.
9. Marc Bergevin isn’t going anywhere
Geoff Molson has given Marc Bergevin a vote of confidence. In my opinion, Bergevin is here for the rest of this season, at least. I suspect Bergevin has some sort of plan for the upcoming off-season that Molson has bought into.
8. Carey Price is back to his old self
While not confirmed, it is obvious that Carey Price was dealing with an injury to start the season. Many fans and media jumped on the situation trying to run him out of Montreal. After spending much of November on injured reserve, Price has returned to being the league’s best goaltenders while receiving little support from his team.
7. Don’t take social media seriously
Don’t take every tweet you read or media report you hear to heart. First, while Twitter gives everyone an opportunity to express an opinion, sadly, most all ill-informed. Many are just releasing their frustration about the season or are parroting the activist media.
If you are looking for facts, analysis and informed opinion, please visit All Habs Hockey Magazine often. We have credentialed journalists who are in touch with players, scouts and hockey management daily.
6. Think of the future
The Habs will have somewhere around $17 million in cap space after this season is over. Some of that space must be devoted to replacing departing unrestricted free agents and increases for restricted free agents. There will be money that can be put towards the Canadiens needs at top line centre and a top four defenceman.
5. Habs will be sellers at the deadline
Yes, I know that fans don’t want their team to be a seller but this will give the Habs a chance to acquire draft picks and prospects. Moving players that will not be part of the Canadiens long term success plan presents an opportunity to add young talent.
4. Montreal may have a top-5 draft pick
Word is that the 2018 NHL Entry Draft is going to be deep. Right now the Habs sit in a position where they can pick in the top five. The last two players drafted in the top five by the Canadiens were Alex Galchenyuk and Carey Price. That’s not too shabby.
In the top five of this year’s draft will be Team Sweden defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, Filip Zadina, a right winger out of Halifax (QMJHL) or Brady Tkachuk, a rugged left-winger from Boston University (NCAA). Tkachuk would be the guy I’d go after as he has the potential to be a future winger.
With their stock of picks, Montreal will be drafting four players in the top sixty and two in the top 35 (based on current standings.)
3. The Canadiens will respond to the pressure
It’s clear that Geoff Molson has taken notice of the empty seats in the Bell Centre and the anger among the fanbase. Molson will either make a change to the management team or insist on Bergevin putting a better product on the ice next year.
The Canadiens general manager should be in a very good position to add young assets via trade and the draft. He will also have considerable dollars to sign available free agents. You can bet on the Habs being much better next season.
2. Enjoy hockey
It’s quite ok to be a fan of Shea Weber and P.K. Subban. Honestly, it is! They are both top-notch defensemen, they both improved their new team, they can both score and they are both All-Star players.
1. Be a loyal Habs fan
Finally, the number one thing you can do is to focus on the positive things that are happening within the organization. Victor Mete won a gold medal at the World Junior Championship and Ryan Poehling earned a bronze. Chris Terry and Matt Taormina will respect the Laval Rocket at the AHL All-Star game.
Nikita Scherbak is lighting it up in Laval. Charlie Lindgren proved that he is a NHL-calibre goaltender. And Carey Price has returned to being one of the best players in hockey.
Thanks for reading. I hope this helps.
Please remember ‘Things always get darker before the light.’
Have fun! Enjoy the rest of the season. Think positive, stay healthy and love each other.
You can follow me on Twitter: @trege33
And don’t forget to the podcast I co-host with Blain Potvin (@Potsy_70) called Habs Unfiltered right here on Allhabs.net