Brian Burke recently said on Tim & Sid, “I don’t believe the Canadiens are this bad a team, but they’re playing awful right now.” He may be right but, after suffering their eighth straight loss, Thursday to the Edmonton Oilers, something has to change.
There was already buzz the Canadiens were contemplating trade scenarios since it looks like they’re on their way to being sellers at this year’s NHL Trade Deadline. That feeling exploded ten-fold when, on Friday, Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman is reporting that something significant is coming to Montreal and the Canadiens organization.
“I see a team that something’s coming. I don’t know if it’s the coach, I don’t know if it’s a big trade…I just get the sense that’s a team that’s just drowning right now…” Friedman explained.
During his Sportsnet 590 segment, Friedman added that he’s not sure what the Canadiens will do, only that the vibe is, it’s something drastic.
Claude Julien to be Released?
Immediately, many will look to the coach as the problem. If what Burke says is accurate and the players aren’t as bad as they’re actually playing, that’s on the man behind the bench. If GM Marc Bergevin believes this to be true, the logical step would be to keep players who are better than they are performing and remove the coach who can’t get them to play to their potential.
That said, removing a coach in Montreal isn’t always easy. More often than not, the Canadiens want an English and French speaking man behind the bench and that limits the candidates. Is it time the Canadiens finally made the best personnel decision regardless of how the message is communicated to fans and season ticket holders? After all, the message isn’t likely being relayed to the players in French. Wins would take care of any obstacle there.
Montreal Canadiens Players to Watch
If the coach isn’t moved, even if he is, you can bet there will be some player and roster changes. A number of players have been listed as available and names like Tomas Tatar, Artturi Lehkonen, (soon-to-be RFA) Max Domi, Jeff Petry and even newly acquired Marco Scandella and Ilya Kovalchuk might get looked at.
Wouldn’t that be something? If just weeks after being acquired, both Kovalchuk and Scandella are moved? Dale Weise is a pending unrestricted free agent, as is Nate Thompson. Both of those players may elect not to return.
Domi is an interesting player to watch as he’s set to make significantly more than he’s making this season ($3.15 million).
Is Panic Setting In?
Based on Friedman’s comments and number of other insiders looking at the team, there is a real sense of panic in Montreal. Unfortunately, panic is when teams tend to make mistakes.
Could the Montreal Canadiens try and completely overhaul this team, even looking at Shea Weber or Carey Price? Maybe, but at that point, you’d have to find a taker and that’s easier said than done.
And, if Bergevin can’t fix what’s wrong with this team, how long before he’s moved on?
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