A look at how the team has fallen into one of the league’s worst losing streaks
The more the Canadiens lose, the more fans want to know: What happened to the team who had a record breaking start?
Some blame the injury bug. Carey Price’s immense role had to be filled by backup goaltenders Mike Condon and Dustin Tokarski, who were then blamed for losses.
Other fans argued on social media that Max Pacioretty was wrongfully given the captaincy and that he doesn’t know how to lead the team to success.
In my opinion, management tried to fix some of these problems by calling up rookies to fill gaps in the lineup and by acquiring goaltender Ben Scrivens from Edmonton. They then sent the underperforming Tokarski to Anaheim via a trade, while injured players made their way back into the lineup.
But nothing has worked and the team keeps losing.
Part of the reason why the Habs are underperforming is that the team had adapted to having arguably the world’s best goaltender behind them. Price constantly keeps his team in the game by making saves that so few goaltenders can make, which allows for some defensive error. Like most goaltenders, Condon and Scrivens can’t make those saves, although they are doing an honourable job trying to fill Price’s skates.
This is why the team needs to do better defensively. P.K. Subban is known for his fancy puck moves which everyone applauds when they work, but ignore when they don’t. A lot of the time Subban ends up losing the puck and is unable to get back on time to prevent a goal.
Andrei Markov also needs to do better. While he has had some good games, he often makes bad decisions and leaves players alone in front of the net.
As a whole, the defensemen on the team need to play it safe and not take unnecessary risks until they get Price back to bail them out when they mess up.
Offensively, the team is struggling too. It’s impossible to win games if you don’t score goals, and none of the players who are consistently supposed to score are currently scoring. Pacioretty isn’t producing and neither is young forward Alex Galchenyuk.
Galchenyuk’s lack of offense is not the only thing negatively impacting the team. Last week, according to multiple media outlets such as the CBC, Galchenyuk’s girlfriend was arrested on domestic abuse charges for allegedly punching him. While Galchenyuk himself didn’t commit the crime, the situation creates bad press for the team and just adds to their list of growing issues. It might also frustrate fans who believe that the players should focus on hockey and not on their social lives.
At the end of the day, there are too many things not working with the Canadiens right now and too little is being done to fix these problems. Some fans have expressed over Twitter that the team’s struggle will end with the return of Price, but he will simply fix the defensive problems. Unless he starts scoring goals, he’s going to need some help.