MONTREAL – The Canadian ends the season as he began it: by putting on the setbacks.
Beaten 6-3 by the Philadelphia Flyers, who are ending a season almost as moribund as the one the Habs are finishing, Martin St-Louis’ team has just suffered seven consecutive losses. All in regular time. She has lost ten of her last 12 games. All in regular time.
If the multiple setbacks at the start of the season – five in a row at the start of the campaign and 10 in the first 13 meetings – have caused the Habs to plunge to record mediocrity, the defeats which mark the end of the season are much less expensive.
In fact, they represent good news. At least in my eyes.
Good news, because yes by losing as he does, the Canadian boosts his chances of winning the lottery for the next draft.
Good news too, and even above all, because the recent failures help to break the wave on which the team and its supporters have been surfing since Martin St-Louis gave the appearance of hockey players to guys who had the air of everything but hockey players before they pulled them out of the slump in which they had been mired for a long time. Since the start of the season. Maybe even since the start of training camp…
The Canadian who loses more often than he wins for a month looks a lot more like the club he really is.
Nope! I do not consider that Martin St-Louis is already short of miracles. Not at all. Nor do I believe that recent failures are an indication that the new manager is a victim of his lack of experience.
But after enjoying a perfect alignment of the stars following his arrival, St-Louis now has his real club at hand. A club that shows him his true face. A club which, although pushed by a coach who obtains a sustained effort and who has rarely seen his team give up during the game, cannot compensate for its shortcomings. Especially to his main shortcoming which is his inability to score goals.
After two shutouts in three games – the sixth and seventh conceded this year – the Canadian scored three goals on Thursday. He could have put on three, four, five more after breakaways that ended in a fishtail or shots from the enclave that missed the target. Talk to Josh Anderson or Tyler Pitlick…
By winning as they did after the arrival of their new coach, playing with energy and aplomb as we had rarely seen them do under Dominique Ducharme, several players gave the impression that they had suddenly become much better than they actually are.
I’m not talking about Cole Caufield here – Martin Jones gave him a gift that snapped his scoreless streak to five – who couldn’t keep up the furious pace that had many fans believing he should be considered in the race for the Calder trophy.
I’m not talking here about Nick Suzuki of whom we ask a lot and maybe even a little too much.
I’m not talking here about Alexander Romanov who is making great progress, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard who has yet to determine what type of player he will be in the NHL or the other young people who we risk seeing more with the Rocket than with the Canadiens again next year.
I’m thinking of Christian Dvorak, Mike Hoffman, Jake Evans and other Chris Wideman who we began to believe were better than they really were for the space of the Habs’ best streak after the arrival of St. Louis.
I’m thinking of the Pitlick cousins, Ryan Poehling and the other Canadiens support players that we began to see larger than life.
I’m thinking of Jake Allen and Samuel Montembeault, whom several supporters began to believe could make up for the eventual loss – due to a trade or because injuries would come to haunt him again – of Carey Price and make the Habs a club. able to fight for the last place in the playoffs next year.
The recent defeats set the record straight by showing that these players don’t have much more to give than what they are giving now.
And this is very well so.
Because these setbacks allow, at least I hope so, Jeff Gorton, Kent Hughes, Martin St-Louis and the whole of the new staff of the team, to have the real portrait of their club. of their players. A club and players whose plumage was much more beautiful than the ramage during the first weeks following the change of coach.
The Canadiens played an awful game on Thursday night. The Flyers weren’t much better as both clubs had plenty of mistakes, turnovers, nasty passes and even nastier defensive coverage.
“We didn’t do enough good readings of the game and when we did good ones, it was the execution that was lacking,” Martin St-Louis explained after the game.
Once again, the Canadian coach was very polite. Once again, he protected his players by talking about them as real hockey players, real professionals.
But the reality is quite different. This team will have to replace many of the “real hockey players” as Martin St-Louis described them with more real hockey players if this organization is to move forward next year instead of just treading water. . Because we are going to tell each other, despite the successes that revived the hopes of supporters who badly needed a bit of hope, the Canadian as it is built now, and even with the return of a few injured, could hope to surprise the entire hockey world by remaining in a race for the playoffs. And I’m not talking here about winning it, but about simply participating in it!
Flyers head coach Mike Yeo was careful not to castigate the referees who deprived him of a challenge that would have canceled the Canadian’s first goal on Thursday night.
“We clearly saw that there had been a pass with the hand, but well, what happened happened and I don’t want to elaborate too much,” Yeo simply said.
However, he added a very timid “yes” followed by “mistakes happen in the course of a match”, when I insisted on the fact that he was told that he had no the right to contest the goal when the reality was quite different.
I understand Yeo. His team has been eliminated from the playoffs for a long time. Despite this goal granted despite a blatant pass from the hand of which Brendan Gallagher was guilty – who collected a bonus assist – his Flyers had just easily beaten the Canadian 6-3.
But that doesn’t change the fact that this mistake can’t be repeated.
This error perhaps demonstrates that it is time to put an end to the procrastination associated with the disputes of the coaches in order to proceed with the review of all the goals by those in charge of the control room in Toronto.
It won’t change much, because they already carry out these revisions as soon as the goal is potentially contestable: either by offside, by obstruction on the goalkeeper, because the puck was touched higher than the shoulders, than the puck may have hit the backstop or a pass was illegally completed. Like that of Gallagher towards Mike Hoffman who scored in an empty cage.
Would it take too long?
Not really, no. Because the revisions are often very advanced before the coaches indicate to the referees their intention to contest.
And even if sometimes, it had to take a little time. Above all, it would make it possible to make fair decisions.
Thursday night, as part of a meaningless match between the CH and the Flyers, the error only cost the NHL taunts. But remember when the Sharks took a 2-1 lead in the Western Final over the St. Louis Blues as Erik Karlsson scored the game-winning goal in overtime after a handball pass from Timo Meier? ? It was because of this play that the four officials were unable to see that the NHL extended the protest procedures.
The referees made an honest mistake by denying the Flyers the right to challenge the Canadiens’ first goal. If these challenges were automatic, this error would have been avoided and a goal, which was not good, would have been disallowed.
The solution is available. All that remains is to apply it.
Between the lines
- I don’t know about you, but I would have rather seen Jordan Harris make some early mistakes against the Flyers on Thursday than see Kale Clague prove once again that he doesn’t belong in a winning roster in the NHL. “We have a lot of players to manage,” Martin St-Louis pointed out. I don’t mind. But last week, the coach insisted that the final games of the season provide golden opportunities for young players to understand what awaits them in the NHL so they can better prepare. “Just being around the club and watching games from the press gallery will help them,” the manager insisted. I hope he is right. Because in my eyes, seeing Kale Clague on the ice is nothing less than a waste…
- The goal that tied Jake Evans early in the second period was his 12and of the season. It was also his fifth scored as the Canadian trailed by one goal. Evans finds himself at 2and rank behind Nick Suzuki who has scored seven equalizers so far this season. Cole Caufield, Josh Anderson and Ben Chiarot tied for third with four…
- This first victory this season at the expense of the Canadian – the Habs had won the first two duels in overtime and in the shootout – allows the Flyers to avoid equaling a record of mediocrity. With four games still to go, they won’t be able to take more than 47 losses in regulation time. One less than the sad record (48) established in 2006-2007…
- The Flyers scored six goals in a game for the fourth time this season. They pulled off the feat in the second and third games of the season – 6-1, 6-3 wins over the Kraken and Bruins – and in the 27and part of the year in a 6-1 victory over the Devils on December 14 in their 27and meeting of the year…
- The Flyers snapped a six-game regulation loss streak on Thursday night. They had two such streaks, but went worse with a nine (0-8-1-0) and 13 (0-10-2-1) winless streak earlier this year…
- Seeing the Flyers go on Thursday makes it easier to understand why they are 32and and last in the NHL on the power play. They were cleared – on three occasions – a 52and times in 78 games on Thursday. They have settled for 27 goals in 225 massive attacks (12%) so far this season. They have scored just twice in 44 occasions (4.5%) in the last 16 games. Or since the transaction that sent Claude Giroux to Florida with the Panthers…