By Waldo 1947 | OSJ Staff | Habs Columnist
It is 8 days after I wrote that the 0-2-2 slide the Habs were on was expected from a team that is not built to win. Now, 0-2-2 has become 0-5-3 and the Habs are currently playing the Islanders. 11-5-4 seems like a lifetime ago as the Habs have now smashed into an iceberg. Someone has to take the blame.
Head coach Claude Julien did not become stupid overnight. I know he is part of the old guard of NHL bench bosses but he is hardly a dinosaur. First, look at what he is working with. I feel like a broken record but it cannot be stressed enough: this team is not talented. Put their #1 line up against anyone in the NHL and it fails to measure up. Julien is known for his defensive schemes and suffocating style. The fact that the Habs defence guards their zone in the same manner a one-legged rooster would guard a hen house suggests that the defensive corps is not talented enough. Furthermore, Carey Price has a sub .900 save percentage and a 3.18 GAA. Julien shouldn’t be expected to play goal.
Habs Human Resources Department - too strict?
Add to all of this, the very tight and stringent parameters that the Habs have for hiring a head coach. The talent pool for their self-imposed qualifications and certifications suggests that Julien is all the Habs can get right now. Rumour is that Marc Bergevin is in Russia right now talking with Bob Hartley. Good Lord, the Habs are worse than the CFL when it comes to recycling head coaches. Think octogenarian Scotty Bowman will take the job? Give me a break.
Bergevin is 7 years into a 5-year plan to make the Habs into a contender. Even Doug Ford knows that math doesn’t add up. I would love to hear Bergevin’s excuse for the ineptitude. He laments that trades are tough and that signing free agents is difficult. To his credit, he did try offer-sheeting Sebastian Aho. On the surface, it looked valiant but once the initial shock was over, everyone knew that Carolina would match. Window-dressing like that hurts credibility. There is one place where Bergevin has no excuse: The Draft. Bergevin has to look in the mirror because his draft record and inability to grow players on the farm is his fault. He sets the scouting team and runs Laval. Unlike free agency or trades, the draft is where everyone has an equal footing because entry-level deals and RFA rules are universal, regardless of geography, taxes, or harsh winters.
The Bruins as the Drafting Benchmark
Consider the top 5 scorers on the Bruins - Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Torey Krug. Only Krug is not a draft pick of the Bruins. Krug was, however, signed as a free agent out of the NCAA proving the Bruins’ scouting department is superior. The Habs' top 5 scorers are Tomas Tatar, Brendan Gallagher, Shea Weber,
Phillip Danault and Max Domi. Only Gallagher is a pick of the Habs and he is hardly a prolific goal scorer. Even when you look in the Americal League, the Providence Bruins are in first place in their division while the Laval Rocket are 5th in theirs. And a little more salt in the wound: The Bruins lose Patrice Bergeron for 6 games this year and do not skip a beat. The Habs lose Jonathon Drouin for 8 games and the Canadiens are more depressing and unreliable than the OC Transpo Light Rail Transit System!
Is Bergevin worse than a Home Contractor?
My buddy Greffzky (no not that one) is a bonafide men’s league defenseman and an amazing contractor. When he was rebuilding my other buddy’s house in Ottawa’s swanky Centretown, I would visit from time-to-time to help. I would walk into the mess that is a major renovation and ask Greffzky what the timeline would be for completion. He would say, “give us 2 months." I would counter with, “You are 4 months away from being 2 months away”. He’d laugh, I’d laugh, the homeowner would cry, but he got the job got done in a respectable amount of time.
Marc Bergevin is no Greffzky. He is 7 years into a 5 year plan and is at least 3 years away from completing that 5 year plan which puts him at 10 years for a 5 year plan which makes him a horrible contractor and GM. He did just put backup goalie Keith Kincaid on waivers. Nothing says quick turnaround like demoting a backup goalie.
Looks like Bergevin is rearranging deck chairs while the Good Ship Habs slowly slides to the bottom of the Atlantic.