Watching the Habs this year, I'd say it's clear that they are lost. They don't know what to do/what they should be doing. To me, this is a coaching issue. Michel Therrien looks lost behind the bench and it looks like he has lost the room. If the Habs are going to get back on the righ track, this is what my lines would be.
1. It starts with hiring new pro scouts. (aka Briere, Boullion, Murray, Bourque etc just not cutting it). Fire the entire amateur scouts and pro scouts but keep Trevor Timmins. Hire from Chicago system like Stephane Waite did with Carey Price.
2. Deal off Gionta, Murray, Diaz, Boullion and other UFA soon to be except Markov.
3. Resign Markov as #4 defenseman with reduce ice time.
4. Trade Bourque and Briere for picks.
5. Free Agency: address our weakest need on defense.
-LD Andrew MacDonald -->4 years $3.5 million (a workhorse 25 mins/game)
-RD Dan Girardi --> 4 years $4.5 million (big, tough, character 22 mins/game)
-RD Matt Niskanen --> 3 years $3.5 million (tough, character 20 mins/game)
-RW Ryan Callahan --> 5 years $5 million (leader, character, fast)
-RW Brad Staubitz -->1 year $500,000 (character, goon)
...Murray sits in the pressbox unless there's something wrong & he's required and Frankie Boo Boo gets told he can either retire or hit waivers & ride the buses in Hamilton...I really don't think anyone in the organisation cares what happens to Drewiske...if a righty/Gorges goes down or under-performs, Pateryn gets called up (he probably should be there anyway)
5. Fire Therrien - see where we're going here...
6. Make proper use of the trade chips we have, INCLUDING OUR 1st ROUNDER THIS YEAR!!...if we can net a young talent, our 1st should be in play
Find Sam Pollack's DNA and resurrect him
Bring Bowman back as an executive vice-President in charge of whatever he wants
Only keep the "little" guys so many of you love to hate who play like Gallagher
Build proper defensive pairings; puck-mover on on side and a stay at home gritty type on the other
Keep the marketing dept out of roster decisions
and finally, make sure whoever your coach is practices what he preaches and treats all players the same- no free passes
This has been a wasted season from day one. We needed to get bigger and tougher to play against up front, MB acquires Briere and Parros...
We needed to get bigger AND faster on D, MB extends Bouillon and acquires Murray...
There were rumors that both Jagr and Morrow wanted to sign in Montreal. Both would have filled important roles on this team. We'd be a bigger team with a much better possession game. We'd be tougher to play against.
We're overplaying Markov. He's been our 2nd best all season, but he will be burnt by the time playoffs come around.
We're playing Desharnais 18-20 minutes a game. Yes, he's producing. But he is nowhere near #1 caliber.
We've failed to find a fit for Plekanec' left wing. Well actually, there have been 2-3 players that have looked good there. But for whatever reason there seems to be a new player at that spot every period.
We've turned Gallagher into a grinder, despite him looking like a 30 goal scorer playing with Eller and Galchenyuk. He had undeniable chemistry with Chucky.
We drafted Chucky 3rd overall. He's the franchise center we've been waiting decades for. Is he playing center ? No. Is he playing top 6? No. Is he getting valuable PP minutes ? No. Before he got hurt, he had been playing 12ish minutes a game for a few weeks. What kind of message does that send when a 19 year old who was your top scoring winger for 3-4 months gets stapled to the bench when the score is close, when he makes a turnover, when he takes a penalty? If he's not playing center, play him in the top 6 with PP minutes. If he's not playing top 6, play him at center. This is just ridiculous.
We kept Bournival up after a great start to the season. Half the time he plays under 5 minutes. He's been stuck behind lazy Bourque for weeks now. He impresses every shift. There is no reason why he shouldn't consistently play at least 12 minutes a game.
We have an utterly useless player in Parros. Every time we've put Moen-White-Prust together on the 4th line, they've been great. Yes, White is hurt, but even when he was healthy MT would continue to make changes to this solid 4th line.
And then there is our defense... That damning defense.
Frankly, I don't see how the Canadiens can be saved at this point. The easiest thing would be to hire a new coach and take it from there. But this team is a whiles away from being near the top echelon of the league.
Not to be that guy, but all these posts are valid, which should tell you how deep in the hole this team is, despite their record.
This rebuild is going to be long and painful. Chicago took 4 years, Colorado took 5. Brace yourselves gentlemen - with a GM that seems dead set on building through the draft only, this is going to be hard.
Except Bourque, I don't think we have many "lazy" vets. Then, again, I wouldn't call Bourque a lazy player either. Can he give more? Absolutely.. but IMO, calling a professional player lazy is stupid.
As far as NHL players go, Bourque is lazy. As in he plays lazy. As in he rarely gives 80% effort let alone 100%. Thats been a knock on him his whole career. Its common knowledge. So it's a bit hard to say its stupid. Im not talking about sitting on the couch eating chips while he's supposed to be practicing or working out. Im talking about the way he plays, which I thought went without saying.
It pains me to say this, especially with Price entering the twilight of his career (he deserves better), but this team needs blowing up.
Enough with the patchwork.
Price is only half way through his goaltending career, I don't think he's even hit his prime like some people are suggesting. It might seem so because he's been in the league for so long but look at Thomas or Hasek in term of timeline. We're covered at goalie for beyond anything Fucale will provide us with or even the next goaltender prospect after him. That's how much faith I have in Price.