Some have already hit it, others are moments away from slamming it, and even the die-hards are wondering, is it time to hit the panic button in Montreal?
The simple answer is, yes.
Through the first week of the season the Montreal Canadiens are 1-3-0, with their lone win coming in the first game of the season. It’s the same old song and dance that the team has done in recent memory. The team struggles to score, they rely on all-world goalie Carey Price to steal games, and the fans peruse the roster wondering what on earth General Manager Marc Bergevin is doing (see Andreas Martinsen being traded one-for-one for Sven Andrighetto).
As of right now, every Habs player is either an even or a minus for 5-on-5 play. Some will say, “Psshaaww plus/minus, doesn’t matter.” Ok, here’s some other facts. Jonathan Drouin has 17 shots and no goals. Alex Galchenyuk is practicing on the 4th line and has 2 goals since March the 3rd of last season. The team has two shorthanded goals yet no power play goals and they are among the bottom of the barrel in goal differential through the young NHL Season.
Yes it’s early in the season. Of course this team can turn it around, but the eye test over the years and so far this season has suggested otherwise. Montreal hosts the upstart Toronto Maple Leafs at home on Saturday, and to say that they need to play with urgency is an understatement. This team needs to avoid going 1-4 before heading to the dreaded West Coast road trip which pits Montreal against San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim in that order.
That road trip is hard enough, but to have three games in four nights against the California trio is always tough for Eastern Conference teams.
Montreal is meddling in mediocrity similar to what the Detroit Red Wings were doing a few years ago. Sure, making the playoffs is all fine and dandy, but Original 6 fan bases expect more. Owner Geoff Molson certainly expects more.
At some point the pressure from the top becomes insurmountable that changes are necessary. The litmus test will be the upcoming West coast road trip to see how high the pressure is for a managerial move to be made, because let’s face it, Montreal and mediocrity do not go hand in hand.
If mediocrity becomes the solidified identity of this team, the panic button will be pressed by every fan wearing the bleu, blanc et rouge and it won’t just be the players being shown the door this time. It will be the prestigious front office of one of the most storied sports franchises on the planet.