Montreal Canadiens: News and Miscues Lead To Another Loss

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25: (l-r) Marc Bergevin and Trevor Timmins of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25: (l-r) Marc Bergevin and Trevor Timmins of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens certainly didn’t need any more distractions last weekend as they prepared to host the Vancouver Canucks Monday night in hopes of achieving their first 2 game winning streak of the season.

Mired in their worst start in franchise history, the Canadiens fan base have been vocal in demanding change. Meanwhile, the team comes to work every day and tries to block out the noise and play hockey.  The Canadiens have been playing with improved commitment and passion lately which helped them down the Penguins 6-3 in Pittsburgh Saturday.

Changes were imminent however, given this poor of a start to the season, and the axe finally fell over the course of the weekend. Assistant GM Scott Melanby resigned on Saturday night after discussions with team owner Geoff Molson regarding the teams future and his place in it. Then, less than 24 hours later, the Marc Bergevin era in Montreal officially came to an end after 9 and a half years, with a public announcement by the club that he was relieved of his duties on Sunday afternoon.

Signing a long term contract, Jeff Gorton was named the Canadiens new Executive Vice President, Hockey Operations. He will oversee the hiring of a new general manager, who will be bilingual to satisfy the cultural uniqueness of Montreal, and the two will work closely together to steer the Canadiens going forward. Also relieved of their duties were  Assistant General Manager Trevor Timmins and Senior Vice President, Public Affairs Paul Wilson.

Of note, Owner, President and CEO of the Canadiens Geoff Molson is so adamant about his team needing a “fresh start,” that beyond splitting Bergevin’s role into two, his pledge to revitalize the Montreal Canadiens went deeper. He has committed to both adding more diversity in hockey operations, and also creating a much needed medical performance team to provide resources for players and staff in areas related to wellness and mental health. Playing under the microscope that is hockey in Montreal, committing much needed attention to the team’s overall well being is long overdue.

The breaking news was obviously a lot for the team to digest over the weekend as they prepared to host the visiting Vancouver Canucks on Monday. NHL players are human after all, and many talk highly of Bergevin and strong relationships developed over the years with the departing GM.

There were a few bright spots Monday night, but they were overshadowed by the news of the management change, and some recurring weaknesses in play en route to the 2-1 loss to the Canucks.

Jake Allen continued to give the Habs a chance to win games as he made another 40 saves with a strong performance in the loss.

Also continuing his upward trend was Ryan Poehling. Poehling scored the lone Canadiens goal on the night, his fourth of the season, tipping in a Jonathan Drouin pass on a hard drive to the net, giving the Canadiens some life, tying the game late in the first period.

The fourth line of Poehling centring Joel Armia and Michael Pazzetta, who was sometimes sat in favour of Jonathan Drouin with Poehling and Armia, was among the Habs most effective lines the past two games, as was the recently formed 3rd line of Jake Evans in between Brendan Gallagher and Artturi Lehkonen.

Mental errors and poor execution continue to plague the team this season though. Within a two and a half minute span in the first period on Monday night, 5 shots by the Montreal Canadiens, from good scoring areas in the offensive zone, went harmlessly wide of the net.

Besides losing the special teams battle again on Monday night, there were 16 giveaways committed by the Habs in just the first two periods. The eventual winning goal was scored by Connor Garland, left alone in front of Jake Allen, after a costly defensive zone giveaway by Josh Anderson.

A new era in the storied history of the Montreal Canadiens began on a dubious note Monday with the Habs 16th loss of this young season. The front office shakeup gave Habs fans plenty to talk about, yet proved to be too big a distraction for the team to overcome Monday night.

light. Related Story. Bergevin's best moves as Habs GM