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Should the Habs start to intentionally lose?

by Sarah Kossits March 1, 2016
Should the Habs start to intentionally lose?

Finishing lower in the standings could give the Habs a better draft pick

As the end of the NHL season approaches, there are three different scenarios that a team can find themselves in.

Graphic by Charlotte Bracho.

Graphic by Charlotte Bracho.

The first scenario is that a team is comfortably in a playoff spot and they will likely remain in one. The second scenario is that a team is guaranteed to not make the playoffs, so they just finish their season and hit the golf course. The third scenario, which is the one the Habs are in, is that a team currently sits outside of a playoff spot, but with a final push can finish in one.

Now, here is the question that Habs fans are asking: should we make that final push, or should we tank?

While I understand the temptation to try and get Auston Matthews, the 18-year-old who will likely go first in this year’s draft, I will lose so much respect for the franchise if that’s what they decide to do.

While there’s a plethora of problems with the Habs this season, I think they can be fixed by making some trades and changing the coach. The team would have to move some players that the fans likely don’t want them to move, but that’s what happens when an organization overpays certain players. It reduces the cap space to work with and gives them few trade options.

According to the website General Fanager, the Habs will have a little over a million dollars to work with over the summer, which isn’t very much. Unless any big trades are made, we have absolutely no reason to tank for Matthews.

If the team doesn’t want to lose Carey Price when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in three years, then they’ll have to at least match Subban’s contract for him. If we tank for Matthews, we probably won’t even have the money to keep him around.

However, my real objection to tanking for a draft pick has nothing to do with money. It has to do with pride. In my hockey career, there have been some tournaments where, as a team, we collectively acknowledged that if we go out and lose on purpose the road to the cup will be easier for us.

Have we ever gone out and intentionally lost?

No.

It’s just not something that you do. It’s embarrassing, and it’s obvious when a team is trying to lose.

In professional hockey, there are more things to consider. Fans will stop buying tickets if they know that they’ll be paying to watch their team lose. The Canadiens are known for being a team that the entire city can be proud of; they are a team of underdogs who manage to do alright and get through adversity. By tanking, the team is essentially saying “we cannot get through this, and we need an 18-year-old to save us.”

If the Habs decide to make a final playoff push and fall short, I will still be proud. I will have faith that the organization will make the right decisions to better the team over the summer because they don’t like losing.

If the Habs purposely tank, then we’re down a deeper hole than I thought we were.

 

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