Rabid Habs

The Forum: Are the Habs In Real Trouble?

At 1-6-1, your Montreal Canadiens are off to a disastrous start to the season. Though they’ve manage to out shoot their opponents more often than not, including 51 shots for the game and an all-time Habs record of 30 shots in a single period on Friday night in Anaheim, pretty much nothing is going their way. Of course, it’s early! But is it too early for concern, or are the Habs actually in real trouble?

 

Kyle Roussel (@kyleroussel) – Remember the season where Price got hurt and never returned? For a good stretch after he first went down, the Habs did outplay, outchance, and outshoot their opposition. But they rarely outscored them, which is the point of it all. Once the inevitability of a lost season set in, the team’s quality of play began to match the results.

It would easy to sit here and say “chill, it’s 7 games in, they’ll work it out / luck will change for the better”. But the reality is we’ve been down this road not so long ago and the whole “chill” attitude didn’t work out so well. It’s not time to panic because frankly there’s not much that can be done. Bergy isn’t going to pull the trigger on a panic trade, and no firings are on the horizon. The team has to work with what they’ve got and find a way to put the puck in the net.

In the throes of a disastrous west coast swing this week, it’s not a stretch to think they come back 1-6-1. At best, they’ll be 2-4-1. Not very strong. October’s schedule doesn’t ease up at any point, either. If they aren’t at .500 or better once November hits, I think we can start to ask real questions, even if the team will continue to pretend that everything will work itself out. Elliotte Friedman once put together a great piece outlining that the VAST majority of teams that are out of the playoff picture on Halloween tend not to get back in. That was 4-5 years ago, and I have no idea if he’s updated it since. But the Habs have a couple weeks to figure this out and get back on track or history is going to be their enemy as well.

Zach Vanasse (@ZachDropsTweets) – I’m with Kyle. Normally I’d be asking for cooler heads to prevail since we’re only 8 games into an 82-game season, but I can’t help but keep thinking about the December stretch of 2015-2016. I can still hear the arguments I made on The Montreal Bias podcast at the time, pointing to the underlying numbers and the overall quality of play as signals that things would inevitably turn around for the Canadiens.

More recently I was advocating everyone calm down after the Habs looked bad in the preseason, saying it wouldn’t necessarily translate to the regular season. So far, it has.

To answer the question “are the Habs in trouble?” I say yes. They aren’t screwed. The season isn’t over. But the Canadiens are absoltuley in trouble, especially considering we were able to comfort ourselves in the early going because they were still outplaying their opponents through the first 5 games. That wasn’t really the case in California.

Their horrific shooting percentage will go up. Carey Price’s play will improve. But I know longer feel that’s enough to comfort me that this team – as currently constructed – isn’t in legitimate trouble right now.

And if they’re not in real trouble yet, they’re getting damn close.

Ian Boisvert (@BoisvertIan) – As I wrote about already, the Habs can look to the 2015-2016 Ducks for some optimism.

The biggest concern I have to this point in the season is Carey Price. The offence is what we thought it was. The defence is what we thought it was. Carey Price is not the Carey Price we know. Now some have been saying he’s lost his touch and that now he’s the most overpaid, overrated goalie in the league. I wouldn’t touch that take with a ten foot pole, but he he does have to improve. And he knows it. Just listen to his comments after the Leafs game. He knew he was a negative difference maker for the Canadiens. And he knows he needs to be better. And he will be better, so I’m not worried.

I’ll leave with this; when the Habs start the year with a franchise best run, we were told to be worried. We were told the Habs were like the housing market in 2007 (that’s a pretty high brow reference, in case you missed that); an unsustainable bubble waiting to pop. Now there are so many positive signs telling us to be optimistic, yet some are still worried.

I’m starting to think we’re just supposed to be worried all the time.