Thursday, January 19, 2012

Another Post on Trivial Times in Montreal

The headline reads "Un Genou Au Sol." Or, for Randy Cunneyworth, "Knee on the Ground" and for those who want to REALLY simplify it-- "Death Kneel."

That's the state that the Montreal media has when it comes the the 17-21-8 Montreal Canadiens. In this day in age, in the riches this franchise has had for the better part of the century-- the media and everyone around the team seems to be treating this season like it's the worst ever in the storied history of the franchise. Yet, when you look at the past two decades, it could be a lot worse.

In fact, should the Habs not be able to catch-up those for wins their fans will so desperately crave to prove their own self-worth through a hockey club-- this would only be their eighth season under .500 since the 1950-51 season. That's right, readers-- in the past 61 years, the Montreal Canadiens have only had SEVEN seasons under the .500 mark in their record not including this year. Many teams would hope to be around for 61 years in the same place, much less be over .500 in those 55 years.

The 1950-51 season was the one that is the starter for this, where the Habs went 25-30-15 in the 70 game season under Dick Irvin's helm during the original six days. After that, you have to really fast-forward to the 1983-84 season where the 35-40-5 record yielded two coaches of Bob Berry and Jacques Lemaire were steering the ship. Though the shortened season of 1995 put the 18-23-7 record under Jacques Demers, the 1996-97 team under Mario Tremblay's watch is where the recent troubled waters could stem from-- as they went 31-36-15, where the 1998-99 franchise with Alain Vigneault had a 32-39-11 standing at season's end. Then a split between Vigneault and Michel Therrien went 28-40-8 in 2000-01, while the last sub-500 team was the 2002-03 season, where Therrien and Claude Julien finished with a 30-35-8 record.

But because of the heritage this team has in the annals of hockey history, because of the cultural mark they have with the French-Canadian contingent-- the team will forever be under the microscope, maybe even more than the Toronto Maple Leafs. You could see that on display when it comes to the Cunneyworth protests a number of people had a few weeks ago shows that. The fact that the coach's language skills gets more press and more heat than the team that was put together by the French-Canadian GM shows that the cultural aspect of things means more to the people at some points than winning, especially if it hides the fact that the moves of one are masked.

Yet, Spector's Hockey's Lyle Richardson amongst others have suggested that it's time to clean house from top to bottom. Some say it's because the cultural aspect has gotten in the way of winning, others thing the right people aren't in there; but the formula is close. I believe that there's too many excuses and too many unsolved distractions from the top to the viewing public which is completely screwing over this team and what they are trying to do-- it's only welcoming havoc to arise.

While this season won't be the worst ever in the past six decades for the Canadiens, something in the air has panic abound from the general public in the area, which then expands to the entire country, then into the entire hockey world. While it could only be much ado about nothing in the end of things, the buzz we're getting half-way into the season for a team that's only four games under par shows that the hockey crazed market may want to check itself into an asylum before they become their own worst enemy.

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