It just keeps getting worse and worse up in Montreal as P.K. Subban and Tomas Plekanec fought during practice today in yet another embarrassing moment for the team. After a 1-5 road trip, the Habs have just 35 points in 39 games, last in the Northeast Division and third to last in the Eastern Conference.
The Canadiens have been going through a rough stretch recently. For the first time in their existence, Montreal didn’t win a Stanley Cup during a decade when they failed to capture the title from 2000-2010. Their overtime loss in game seven last year to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins marked the 18th consecutive year that Les Bleu-Blanc-Rouge went home empty handed. And it has not gone over well with their rabid fan base.
The Habs didn’t do much in the offseason with their biggest move being the signing of forward Erik Cole. Nevertheless, expectations remain high up in Montreal.
Then the season began. The Habs won just one of their first eight games, getting out scored by eight goals during the stretch. Things improved slightly over the next month, including a home-and-home of sweep against the Boston Bruins. But that has just fueled Boston into an incredible stretch that has seen them skyrocket to the top of the NHL standings while Montreal has continued to struggle.
In December, the Canadiens won just four of 14 games and on December 17, they relieved head coach Jacques Martin of his duties, promoting assistant coach Randy Cunneyworth to interim head coach. This move only made things worse. Fans were enraged that Cunneyworth could not speak their beloved French and it even forced Montreal to apologize of the move. Then, it took six games for Cunneyworth to his earn his first win and the Habs have now lost two more since that victory.
And now, Subban and Plekanec are fighting in practice.
Cunneyworth certainly doesn’t have control of the team, but that is just one of Montreal’s many problems. The team is better than its record shows, but not by much. They are nowhere near the top of the league and the team isn’t exactly filled with upcoming stars. Max Pacioretty is certainly a bright spot, but the team-leader in points, Plekanec, is 29 years old while the team-leader in goals, Cole, is 33. Subban, another bright spot for the Habs, is just 22 years old, but fighting in practice won’t calm any of Montreal’s fears that he is a bit of a hot head. Carey Price has continued to be inconsistent as well, posting a 2.47 GAA and .913 save percentage, both below average in the league.
So after 18 unsuccessful years, Habs fans have had some practice in losing, but they haven’t faced the embarrassment of a non-French speaking coach and players fighting in practice. If they thought it was bad last year, things are looking a whole lot worse right now.