Perhaps it was the whole Roy debacle and I've resented the Habs brass ever since, be it behind the bench or in the front office. Perhaps it's the years of the Ghost and the Darkness (Pierre Gauthier and Jacques Martin, respectively).
BTW I actually like that movie even though I don't like Val Kilmer or Michael Douglas as actors. Go figure.
I remember blogging back in 2010 about how we'd own Jacques Martin longer than we should if the Habs went on a Cinderella run. They did and we did and then surprise, surprise we were suddenly able to draft Alex Galchenyuk and the Ghost and the Darkness passed into the team's history.
I'm not going to get into fancy stats or whatnot as there are plenty who can cite them chapter and verse and tell you the Habs are not really doing well when the numbers are crunched. What I'm going to tell you is that one day before the puck is about to drop versus Tampa Bay I look at the line combos Michel Therrien is icing and my first reaction is large strings of profanity and a mini-twitter rant.
Here are the forward line combos this morning:
Pacioretty - Desharnais - Vanek
Prust - Plekanec - Gallagher
Eller - Bourque - Gionta
Wiese - Briere - Bournival
Right off the bat I have to wonder why Marc Bergevin ever bothered to sign Daniel Briere, and why Briere ever bothered to lace them up for the Habs. Here is our proven playoff performer slotted in on the 4th line, after a season where 5 minutes a game for him is the norm.
Oh but wait, I'm told. Wait and see what the "real" lines are tomorrow. Are you kidding? So that means we are one day from puck drop and practicing with "fake" lines?
Not sure how that's supposed to inspire any confidence or faith that the coaching staff knows what it's doing there.
I love Prust but putting him on the 2nd line makes it a shut down line. Plekanec will wear Stamkos and while Gallagher tries to avoid interference penalties at the net I guess Prust can score all the goals there? Yeah... right.
Briere and Bournival both did fine on Plekanec's wing. I don't get why they never get to stay there. I don't get why Briere has spent the bulk of the year in the coach's doghouse, and I really don't expect it to change suddenly after 82 games.
Also, if I'm UFA this year and I look over at proven playoff performer Briere's season with Montreal my first reaction is "fuck no". Briere (and I'm not a fan of his nor have ever pretended to be) has been treated like dirt by the head coach IMO. How is that attractive to outsiders looking in?
Meanwhile the third line is the Black Hole line.
Lars Eller (who arguably belongs on the 4th over Briere) and René Bourque can't find the back of the net even with floodlights and a rocket guidance system. To shut down the third line you just have to ride Gionta.
Looking at these practice line combos today, all the Bolts have to worry about is shutting down Montreal's first line. That's it. Montreal will get lucky once in a while with the other lines, but there are no real consistent threats there.
Then there's the powerless play, which is now at a whopping 0-23 which I think is the worst it has been in about a decade. Before that it had another long stretch of ineffectiveness. Contain Subban and you contain the PP.
And yet, somehow, the Habs coaching staff can't figure out how to overcome that.
Meanwhile the Tampa Bay coaches have got to be salivating over this. All they have to do is contain the first line, get one or two past Carey Price, and they're golden.
And yes I have no doubt that Therrien will do the blender thing and switch up the lines. The problem there is that he usually makes it worse.
Last game when Bournival did well on Plekanec's wing his reward was to get dropped to the 4th line. Because why have speed and scoring ability on the 2nd anyway? Yes, let's put a grinder in there and watch Pleky try to do it all himself.
@RobertB_Rice has repeatedly pointed out how that with a deeper team than the Canadiens have had in a long time, Michel Therrien has done arguably less with the Habs than Jacques Martin did with a lesser squad.
And you might want to check out Cowhide & Rubber by @kyleroussel on this coaching thing too.
I don't care if the Habs win the Cup, I don't want Michel Therrien to continue on as head coach. I have a multitude of reasons for this, not the least of which are his usage of Subban, the team's treatment of Beaulieu, and the regression of Galchenyuk.
The bottom line is this - I dislike and distrust Michel Therrien even less than I did Jacques Martin and that is no small thing.
Yes the Habs will get into the post-season again (and rightfully so) under Therrien, but how did Martin get so far with such a weaker team? He had bigger holes, far less talent up front, and somehow got to the Eastern Conference Finals.
I really want the team to win the Cup or at the very least make a strong showing in the post-season. I love them and I cheer for them when they win and my heart breaks for them when they don't.
But if it means an automatic contract renewal for Therrien, please forgive my hesitation.
We had a Catch 22 with Jacques Martin and now we have another one with Michel Therrien. Once was enough for me with that nonsense.