The Montreal Canadiens have made multiple coaching changes in the hopes of turning around the team, despite starting off the season well.
The Fall From Grace
Starting out with an 8-2-2 record to begin the season, the future was looking bright for Montreal fans. The unique challenges and a shortened season meant many things for all teams. Having one of the best goaltenders in the league over the past decade, the Canadiens have been lucky to have a true number 1 goaltender. Sadly, as most Montreal fans know, regardless of Price’s play, the team has never been enough to fully carry a deep playoff run. Constantly running out of scoring and not being able to sustain success over a regular 82 game season, it looks like history may be repeating itself once again.
Time For a Change
With the recent loss of three straight to the last place Ottawa Senators, Montreal made the move to fire Head Coach Claude Julien. According to General Manager Marc Bergevin, “it happens in all sports.” And “it’s just at some point, the players need a new voice.” Holding a 9-5-4 record and being fourth in the North division things need to change if Montreal has any hope of making a deep playoff run. As with most team’s success, it will need to start in net with an aging Carey Price and Jake Allen.
Will it be enough?
Bergevin was not done with the tweaking, goaltending coach Stephane Waite has been replaced with Sean Burke. This is not the first time that Montreal has decided to stick with the players, Carey Price in particular, and fire coaches. The question remains, will Sean Burke be able to bring back the Vezina winning Carey Price of old? Carey Price has long since been the bread and butter of the Montreal Canadiens. Carey Price is the current holder of most games played for the Habs and most wins in franchise history at 354.
What Will the Future Hold?
Montreal has started out the new regime by dropping 3 out of their last 4. Three of those losses have come against the Jets, who currently sit one ahead of the Habs. The Montreal Canadiens are 4th in the North Division behind the Leafs, Jets, and Oilers. The fact still remains that the Habs have a very good chance to not only make the playoffs but go on a playoff run. If they can get back to basics as Bergevin said.
The keys for Montreal will be to do whatever it takes to get Carey Price back on top of his game. After this short 2 game homestand against the Jets, the Habs get to go and play the Flames and Canucks on a Western road trip. Both the Canucks and Flames have been struggling and this will be an important opportunity for the Habs to get back on track. The next step for Montreal will be to win games against those 3 teams ahead of them to keep their playoff chances alive.