The party never started in Montreal
MONTREAL -- Like
There is, of course, a statistical possibility the Canadiens can sweep the next four against the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference.
There also is a statistical possibility that you will win the Powerball.
Tough odds, in either case.
So while genuflecting to the patron saints of no-hopers, the 1942 Maple Leafs and the 1975 Islanders, the two NHL playoff teams to ever come back from the abyss, let's fast-forward to the moment, whenever that might be, that Bruins and Canadiens players shake hands and Boston trudges forward into the second round and Montreal retreats to survey the wreckage of the 100th anniversary season.
The scene in Montreal will look an awful lot like the morning after a massive street party, littered with the detritus of a franchise that was pointing to these particular playoffs for five years. There will be broken dreams and bad hangovers, recriminations and reflection. The team that mirrors the mood of its city more than the Cowboys in Dallas and more than the Yankees in New York could be a smoldering shell whose playoff hopes are as dim as some of the penalties the Brothers
Let's look at the major issues facing hockey's heritage franchise:
• Management. General manager
• Coach. Unless Gainey stays behind the bench -- really doubtful but, as mentioned, with Gainey the possibilities are endless -- Montreal will be in the market for a new coach. After Gainey fired coach
• Players. The Canadiens currently have 10 unrestricted free agents, including three biggies: captain
From the perspective of last call, 100th season party -- concerts, commemorative coins from the Canadian mints, statues, jersey retirements, you name it -- might have been a fool's errand from the beginning. The expectations were too high for the talent level, even when the Canadiens did have a full complement of players. And Montreal has been gutted recently by injuries to key players such as defensemen
The Canadiens started Monday with their best period in two months against a quality team, scoring the opening goal for the first time against Boston and recording a bone-rattling 21 hits. They also left the period tied, 1-1, because of a nifty
Last one out, please shut out the lights.