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It’s Been 28 Years and We Are Still Waiting, Ownership

Do you remember where you were the last time the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup? I don’t, because I wasn’t even born yet. I have been a life-long resident of the city of Montreal, a beautiful city that I am proud to reside in. The Montreal Canadiens are my boyhood team, a club I’ve been rooting for religiously ever since I got into hockey (2006).

Anyone who roots passionately for a sports team knows where I am coming from when I say that sometimes, the team we love the most causes us the most pain. St. Louis Blues Fans Know this all to well. This is the case with me and the Montreal Canadiens. Over the years, I have, just as you have experienced the various highs and lows that come with supporting the bleu-blanc-rouge.

I started following the Habs around 2006, when Kovalev and Koivu were doing their thing

From our 2009 playoff run to our 2015-16 team collapse (the year Mike Condon was in the nets), the Canadiens have been anything but dull since I’ve followed them. Over the 15 years I’ve been following the Habs, certain patterns have become more prevalent as time has worn on, and I just couldn’t sit back and say anything anymore.

There are three distinct reasons our team has not finished the season with a Stanley Cup parade since 1993, and it’s about time we get to talking about them. I’m going to keep this article short and sweet because the majority of Habs fans already know what these things are, and are well aware of them. we wonder if ownership is also.

Only Having French-Only Coaches and GM’s (and Players)

Why? I fully understand, Quebec wants to maintain its heritage and culture, and the French language is a massive part of that. Believe me, I would feel the same way if a Greek team wanted to do this in another league. The only problem is that times are evolving, and the NHL is a business.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no qualms with Marc Bergevin and Dominique Ducharme, as I think they are excellent hockey personnel with great hockey IQ, but this pattern of choosing only French-speaking GMs and coaches has to stop. We even choose to bring on certain players because they are French-Canadian, or because their name sounds French, even though they may not be the proper fit for the team.

You’re telling me if Jon Cooper hit the market we wouldn’t even try to sign him? (Source: Perry Nelson – USA TODAY)

This “staying with the status quo” has to stop. I understand that it worked in the 40s,50s,60s,70s,80s, heck, even the 90s. But we haven’t won since 1993. The Canadiens are one of the most storied franchises in all the NHL, and to say that we have gone without a cup for 28 years is fairly embarrassing.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This is what the Canadiens are doing.

The positions should be given to the people who merit it the most, not because of what language they speak. This discrimination in effect weeds out potential suitors who may be better suited for the job. I’ll say it again; the GM and coaching jobs should be going to the candidates who are the best fit and merit it the most. Point finale.

Mismanaging Prospects

I know I’m beating a dead horse, and ever since Kotkaniemi left Canadiens fans have been up in arms about this, but it is no secret that Canadiens management has been disastrous when it comes to developing prospects. Thank goodness Cole Caufield stayed at the University of Wisconsin for another season and didn’t choose to develop within the organization.

I’m not sure who this falls on (the coach, GM, player development team, water boy) but someone has to be responsible for this, it’s destroyed our franchise’s hopes of having a dynasty. We have drafted multiple players in the first round over the past ten years and we have only Cole Caufield to show for it. That is unacceptable.

Canadiens

Galchenyuk was another player the Habs rushed in development

What happened to Alex Galchenyuk, Nikita Scherbak, Louis Leblanc, Jarred Tinordi, Nathan Beaulieu, Michael McCarron, and Noah Juulsen? All first-round picks who seemed to have fizzled out before they even had a chance at properly developing their game and, most importantly, their confidence.

Investing in a True Number One Center

This past week I read an article stating that the Canadiens may try out Jonathan Drouin at the center position; why? I felt like banging my head against a wall while I was reading this. When Drouin first got here in 2017, we put him at center for two seasons; it didn’t work. Then we switched him to the wing, and he flourished. Why are we trying to get him back to the center position?

Why the center position, when Drouin has always thrived on the wing?

Why, as a professional hockey team, can we not invest in a true number one center? For the entirety of my tenure as a Canadiens fan, I have not seen one true number center in the lineup. Saku Koivu was the only one who came close, but even his numbers paled in comparison to the ones other number-one centers were putting up for their respective teams.

The pattern across the league over the past 12 years is that the Stanley Cup-winning team has had at least two star centers within the lineup. Look at the Penguins with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Lightning with Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point, the Los Angeles Kings with Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter, the Chicago Blackhawks with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp, and even the Washington Capitals with Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

The Lightning were able to win because they housed better center depth than the Canadiens

It’s no secret that defense wins championships, but so does having two solid centers to build on. The Canadiens don’t even have one (even though Suzuki is heading there soon). For future reference, the team should look to invest in a star to play the second line behind Suzuki, and be able to deliver a real one-two punch, not a mediocre one.

Enough With The Mediocrity

I want to thank you for reading this post, and I hope I didn’t come off sounding too negative. It’s just this team is one I take great pride in following and cheering for, and it pains me to see them always coming up short. We, as a hockey club, are better than this, and as fans, we deserve better as well.

michaelvidakis@stlfanreport.com

@VidakisMichael

 

 

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