Jack Todd: Dismal start to season puts Habs’ many shortcomings on display


With the Canadiens’ heavyweights absent, a toothless power play and a winless record, the Stanley Cup final feels like a very long time ago

Article content

The diagnosis is pretty simple. The Canadiens miss their heavyweights.

Advertisement

Article content

Read ‘em and weep: Shea Weber , Corey Perry , Phillip Danault , Carey Price .

Weber and Price are missing through no fault of the management. Price will be back. Weber probably won’t. But Danault and Perry could have been retained — and from what we have seen so far, both should have been signed.

Without those four, the Canadiens have a team with talent but without direction, without an identity, without a sense of itself.

Surprising? It shouldn’t be. The ferocious penalty kill that was such a critical factor in the run to the Stanley Cup final has been almost completely gutted, beginning with Danault’s absence at centre ice .

Subtract the towering, glowering presence of Weber in front of the net and the sheer aura of Price in goal and you have a team that can’t dominate on the penalty kill or anywhere else. Red Fisher had a way of cutting through the dross to get to the heart of things. He understood that a team is only as good as its best players and his mantra was always the same: “Show me the players.”

Advertisement

Article content

Without the bona fide heavyweights in the lineup, the Canadiens simply don’t have the players. They have good players, not great players and unless they can find a way to compensate until Price returns, they could very quickly find themselves in real trouble.

Yes, it’s only three games down the drain in this listless start to the season and there’s plenty of time for this edition to find itself. But combine the goal-a-game pace from the offence , the general lack of cohesion on the ice, the rattled penalty kill and the feeble power play and you have a team that is already making that magical playoff run look like a hallucination brought on by the wrong kind of mushrooms in your spaghetti sauce.

This can’t be allowed to go on. The Atlantic Division is tough, the Eastern Conference tougher. Look at the potential playoff teams and you can pencil in the Panthers, Lightning, Leafs, Bruins, Islanders, Capitals, Penguins and Hurricanes as near locks for the playoffs if everyone is healthy, leaving the Habs on the outside looking in — and we wouldn’t bet against the rapidly improving Senators jumping into the dogfight as well.

Advertisement

Article content

With seven games remaining in October, four of them during a West Coast trip against middling opposition, it’s not inconceivable that the Stanley Cup finalists could crawl back into it — or find themselves all but out of contention by the end of the month, 10 games into the season.

Random Hab thoughts: Why do his teammates ignore Cole Caufield ? Your most dangerous trigger man (at least until Mike Hoffman is healthy ) is wide open in the left playoff circle on the power play, rapping his stick on the ice, and he’s treated like an unwanted intruder?

It’s not the first time this season his teammates have missed Caufield — are they trying to avoid goals? Is there a feeling that the kid needs to be put in his place? Or do they simply lack the vision to find him?

Advertisement

Article content

And why did the Canadiens (who can’t seem to do anything right these days) cut off the standing ovation for Jonathan Drouin when it had barely begun? After 19 months of pandemic horrors and knowing what Drouin has been through , the fans were eager to let off some steam and give the guy Standing O as only Montreal can, but they weren’t given a chance.


Lies, rumours and vicious innuendo: The coolest thing about Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies and his brilliant goal for Team Canada against Panama was that his soccer star sweetheart Jordyn Huitema had a hat trick for Paris St. Germain. …

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Advertisement

Article content

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Advertisement

Article content

The least cool thing about the Davies goal came when teammate and buddy Jonathan David gave the star a hard shove from behind as they were celebrated. Davies stumbled awkwardly, a move that had ACL written all over it. He was unhurt but David needs to contain his exuberance next time. …

Drouin took a similar wallop from teammate Josh Anderson after his goal against the Rangers but at least that one was an accident. …

Speaking of celebrations, we don’t want to embarrass anyone but the father of a certain young hockey star might want to peek at the video of his own antics during Saturday night’s game and, ah, modify some of his gestures when the cameras are on him. …

The Alouettes got another encouraging win against the Ottawa Redblacks. The defence was solid and backup quarterback Matthew Shiltz was better than starter Vernon Adams Jr. has been most of this season. …

Herewith, our latest addition to the Fennis Dembo Hall of Name: Kentucky running back Kavosiey Smoke.

Heroes: Jonathan Drouin , Alphonso Davies , Jordyn Huitema, Jake Allen, Christian Dvorak, Matthew Shiltz, Jake Wieneke, Paola Badosa &&&& last but not least, Pierre Gervais.

Zeros: Jon Gruden , Urban Meyer, Dan Snyder, Bruce Allen, the Department of Player Safety, Claude Brochu, David Samson &&&& last but not least, Jeffrey Loria. Now and forever.

@jacktodd46

jacktodd46@yahoo.com

    Advertisement

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.





Source link

Related posts

Leave a Comment