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The Habs aren’t a better team than this time last year

In September, we felt that the Canadiens had taken a step forward in their rebuilding and that the club had progressed. At least, that’s what the organization was trying to sell us, and we were buying.

Although Jeff Gorton didn’t dare use the P-word(yet), he was talking about an improved team on the right path (to success).

Kent Hughes, for his part, was already looking ahead to meaningful games in March and April, without actually talking about the playoffs. The GM wanted his team to fight for a playoff spot, but not necessarily to make it. Such important games would allow his group of players to continue their progression by learning how to behave in such stressful situations.

Martin St-Louis, in one of his 1001 poetic flights of fancy/analogies, told us that his players had gone from being babies to children (or even teenagers). You can ask more of a child than a baby… and that was encouraging for the future.

Reread the last three paragraphs and sum them up in one word. If you used “progression”, you’ve won.

The problem is that it’s now November 22 and you can’t see the progress. The club will soon have played a quarter of its season, and frankly, it feels like the same damned club as last year. And the one before that…

Despite a (relatively) good month of October, the team’s record this morning is worse than it was this time last year. They sit 26th overall, just a few points behind the bottom three (Oilers, Blackhawks and Sharks). 16 points in 18 games is three points less than on November 22, 2022…

The Tricolore has just suffered four straight defeats and will try to stop the bleeding tonight in Anaheim. Unfortunately, the CH hasn’t had much success in California, historically speaking…

Since MSL said publicly that his boys had just played their best game under his watch (in Vegas), the club has won just two of nine games.

The problems are many, and no, Martin, the media don’t see the negative more than the positive.

Cole Caufield isn’t scoring enough, especially at 5-on-5.

Josh Anderson isn’t scoring enough.

Only three teams have allowed more goals than the Habs.

Only two teams allowed more shots per game than the CH.

No team took more minor penalties than the Habs. In fact, the Ducks are second in this respect. We can therefore expect a clean game tonight. #Not

The guys are forced to make changes in practice because they often get caught with one too many players on the ice.

The Tricolore has one of the worst shifts inthe league in 2023-24.

And on top of it all, guys keep getting injured… and coming back too quickly.

Kirby Dach’s season ended after just one game and counting. Jordan Harris and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard re-injured themselves immediately after returning to action. David Savard has been out for a month. Arber Xhekaj fell badly the other night… and we’re still waiting for news on his medical situation. Chris Wideman and Carey Price are not expected to play all year.

I’ll be honest: where do we see the Habs progressing? At what level are we seeing it?

The network arrived in early November and no one seems to be able to stop it.

The only things working are Brendan Gallagher, (somewhat and against all odds) the ménage à trois in front of the net, Kaiden Guhle, Jesse Ylonen and perhaps the captain. Even Sean Monahan has been strugglingfor some time…

Is Gallagher’s renewed effectiveness (and promotion to the top three) what you’d call progress? Of course not!

But you know what? There’s more concern than certainty and confidence at the moment with our hockey club. I know that rebuilding can take a long time, and that the results aren’t always there in the end…

And that’s why I dare to write these few words (which will earn me the wrath of many fans) this morning. When will we stop seeing life in pink, with unicorn glasses? When will we dare to analyze all this coldly and ask ourselves whether the CH is really on the right track?

Maybe they are… but the fact that we’re not seeing a better team than we were a year ago when we watch the games is enough to worry me right now. You can’t always say to me, “Yes, but there are a lot of injured people, Max!


Has the season already gone down the drain? Has the time already come to press the panic button?

I’m going to wait a little longer before doing so, since the Canadiens will be facing teams with worse records than at the start of the month over the next few weeks. But if things don’t settle down by mid-December, before the traditional long holiday trip, I’ll have all 10 fingers on the red button.

In the meantime, I continue to live in hope; I’m taking a leap of faith. In any case, that’s what almost all the mainstream media are doing, avoiding too much of a challenge to the organization despite its current difficulties…


Reminder: DansLesCoulisses and BPM Sports launched a great contest yesterday: two people will get to see Connor Bedard and the Blackhawks on our arm in Ottawa on March 28. Entry is free and easy. Go!

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