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Jeff Gorton’s P-word means playoffs, but also pressure

The Montreal Canadiens are rebuilding. It’s rebuilding because the club’s new administration has set its sights on rebuilding the roster into a group that won’t simply aspire to the playoffs.

The goal? To create a club that will be among the elite every year.

That’s different from what Marc Bergevin wanted to do. The former GM, who was there for about ten years, wanted to make the playoffs because, once there, anything is possible.

I remember that, at the time, a lot of people said it wasn’t enough to aim for the playoffs. And now that the Habs’ bosses refuse to stick their necks out because the rebuild is underway, we’re hearing that expectations aren’t high enough.

The conclusion? If we don’t talk about the Stanley Cup at the club’s camp (and I mean talk seriously, not jokingly like Kent Hughes did yesterday), it doesn’t fly. Montreal is Montreal.

Since yesterday, it seems that the theme is the opposition between management, who refuse to talk about the playoffs, and the guys on the ice, who want to aspire to the playoffs in 2024.

But the truth is, yesterday, everyone said what they had to say. Geoff Molson, Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes can’t say the plan is to make the playoffs now because it’s not realistic. They can’t raise expectations too high.

After all, despite what RĂ©jean Tremblay thinks, the Habs don’t have what it takes to make the playoffs – especially given that the club plays in the mighty Atlantic Division.

Jeff Gorton also indirectly shed light on the playoff issue with a striking quote like the P-word (I have a feeling we won’t be hearing the last of this expression).

In September, the CH is still in the running. And as hope springs to life, the talk is starting to turn to the playoffs and the possibility of the Habs qualifying for the dance.

That said, there’s another P-word that’s important to me and that needs to be highlighted in relation to yesterday. I’m not talking about the playoffs, I’m talking about the pressure.

Listening to the Canadiens’ management, you get the feeling that their goal is to take the pressure off the youngsters. And for a lot of people, that doesn’t seem to go down well.

Why not? Because in Montreal, there’s pressure. There always has been.

The fact that the bosses don’t want to talk about pressure is, for some, a sign that there won’t be any. But in reality, that’s forgetting that Martin St-Louis will be arriving with the objective of helping his players progress to the point where they can experience the pressure of the playoffs.

Martin “aggressive patience” St-Louis may never have had the pressure to coach to win, but still: his career has been built on the fact that he hates to lose. He wants, more than anyone, to make the playoffs.

If he bought the CH plan, it’s because he knows that, in the end, he’ll have the tools to win. It just makes sense.

St-Louis has to deal with the line-up he’s been given, and yes, he’s no doubt finding effective ways to help his youngsters cope with Montreal’s pressure. That’s his job.

Seeing him try to ” win every day ” is part of his game plan. He has to manage everyone’s expectations, which isn’t easy in a context where, more and more, people are going to expect victories.

If yesterday’s golf tournament reminded us of anything, it’s that even if not everyone’s expectations are to talk about the playoffs as such, time passes and victories will be expected by those who follow the club.

A bad start to the season could make the whole thing rather long. And if, on top of that, everyone starts talking about the fact that management is publicly protecting its players (which isn’t abnormal… is it?), it’s going to take a long time.

Is there a world in which this united group could surprise and win more games than expected, allowing management to say that expectations have been surpassed?

Yes, such a world exists. But don’t put an old $2 on it.

In gusto

– Happy birthday to Martin Lapointe.

– A machine.

– Lane Hutson, ahead of Quinn Hughes at the same age?[BPM Sports]

– More invitations in Carolina.

– Logical.

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