NHL: Why is Montreal so bad this year?

The “Montreal Canadians” are a true monument of ice hockey not only in Canada, but in all of North America, and have been since 1909. A member of the Atlantic Division in the National Hockey League, the team wears the official name of Club de hockey Canadien, inc. In fact, it is the oldest hockey team in the world since since its creation more than 110 years ago, its activity has never been interrupted! Admittedly, the club has obviously had its ups and downs over more than a century of competition – for example the period of the 1930s and 40s, dark years during which the club found itself even excluded from the playoffs his scores were low. It took the arrival of legendary coach Dick Irvin to lead the Canadiens to glory. A long period of splendor with a string of victories, how could it be otherwise when the « Punch line », a trio of exceptional impact, strong players Toe Blake, Elmer Lach and Maurice Richard who will become a national star. But Irvin, far from stopping there, will soon provide his winning team with a goalkeeper no less impressive, in the person of the ambidextrous player Bill Durnan. Winner of the Vézina Trophy and captain of the Canadiens, something unusual for a goalkeeper. The Canadiens won 3 Stanley Cups, accumulated 80 points in 50 games, while Maurice Richard became a legend by scoring 50 goals in 50 games. The rest, everyone knows. In all, the most successful team in the entire NHL has won 24 Stanley Cups. But those times seem well and truly over, coaches and players follow one another and are not alike, the teams change and follow one another, but the victories less and less. Back to the last two years, when nothing seems to be going well. What is happening among the “Montreal Canadians” and what horizons present themselves to them for this year 2022?

An unprecedented crisis since 1995

To lay the foundations for their situation in 2021/2022, the “Montreal Canadiens” have achieved a very sad feat, that of taking absolutely no points in four games. In order to clearly situate what this represents, this scenario had not happened to the club since 1995, therefore almost 30 years ago. But as if that were not enough, there is the balance sheet of course, but also the way that leaves much to be desired. Thus, heavy defeats, not to mention corrections, are legion in this ice hockey season. To name a few, an 0-5 against San José, an 0-5 against the Sharks, a 5-1 against the Sabers or even a 1-3 against the Rangers. Results without appeal and which blatantly point to shortcomings in all areas of the game. A sieve defense succeeding, for example, in the feat of conceding two goals after only 3’36 of play against the Sharks. From the offensive point of view, it’s not much better, here the Quebecers shine with another sad record of 3 goals scored in 240 minutes of play. Finally, to close this dark picture, the « Montreal Canadians » have also shown powerless, even in a situation of numerical superiority, 0 times out of 13. Only the women’s team managed to distinguish themselves during the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The reasons for the crisis

As in all sports crises of this magnitude, it is difficult to formally identify a single cause. The reasons are often multiple and new ones are added as and when the counter performances. Concerning specific cases, in particular linked to individuals, it is possible to dwell on the case of the absence of the indestructible Shea Weber in defense which is felt. Or even, of a Ben Chiarot, always in defense and which is only the shade of itself. On the offensive side, there too an absence of size was felt, that of Mike Hoffman. But even without him, Montreal’s offensive potential, at least on paper, is there. This is where a determining factor comes in, that of trust and the psychological aspect. Here again the origins can be diverse, but how not to underline the impact of the absence of the public for health reasons? Indeed, if this does not explain everything, it is still astonishing that this historical crisis coincides exactly with the fact of playing without fans. And if the little extra missing soul came from there? In any case, this will soon be a problem solved, because from March 12, 2022, the vaccine passport will no longer be required to enter sports arenas open to the public, it will also be the end of the gauges. In other words, the Bell Center will once again welcome fans to full capacity. Will this be enough to completely turn the tide for the “Montreal Canadiens”? The answer in the next few weeks. The bets are open !

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