By Matthew Skolnikoff (@mattsko on Twitter)
So, I was saying to a friend the other day, and I paraphrase myself: “The Habs are having a bi-polar season so far. Spectacular wins and boring but agonizing and agonizingly close losses”. Seven wins (including last night’s 2-0 shutout over the Rangers) and five losses, many of them against Western teams, leaving us, unsurprisingly, in the middle of the standings. Mediocrity doesn’t win Cups but I’ll leave the hysterics till later in the season since we’ve only just begun.
True to my prediction (see previous article), fans are apoplectic about the constantly changing lines Coach Therrien comes up with but maybe he’s being crazy, like a fox, and mixing things up to keep opponents on their toes. And fans scratching their heads.
What I didn’t expect was the amazing amount of injuries the Habs would suffer so early in the season, starting with George “It’s Always Movember” Parros in the first game. We then lost Pacioretty and Prust. And Emelin still hasn’t returned. This has seriously cramped our style in terms of muscle, blown our defense, and cost us one hotshot forward.
Fortunately, there are a bunch of bright stars in the Habs galaxy. Price is even better than ever (0.937 average at the moment). The young pups are proving to be spectacular (Eller, Subban, Galchenyuk, and Gallagher), and two of the goatee-sporting veterans (Plekanec and Gionta) are starting to rack up goals at quite a good clip.
But I’m hoping that some of these combos and lines Therrien is throwing together, seemingly on the fly, eventually add up to some magical bonds.
The type of synergy between 2 or 3 players that produces frequent goals, inspires fans, and makes analysts gush. We haven’t seen that quite yet but these things take time – a team is just a bunch of guys from all over the hockey world thrown together and they have to get used to each other.
Maybe they should look at tapes of each other rather than of other teams so they can learn how to coordinate better – setting each other up for plays and executing precision sniper shots. Perhaps a weekend long retreat at my island getaway is all the team needs to let their hairs down, while I give them deep tissue massages, and help them find their collective mojo. If a team orgy is what is needed then so be it.
In the meantime, if the Habs could also keep out of the penalty box it might be better to try and get goals rather than practice their PK ad nauseum. Seriously, guys. Play nice like you’re in the Olympics (especially since some of you will be soon) and drive for the net. Meanwhile, you in the back – stop fooling around, defence, and do your job. Price wasn’t hired to be the only one stopping pucks once they get across the line.
My prediction for the Habs’ season is still pretty optimistic, even considering this rollercoaster ride of a start. Some of the injured players will be back in the lineup soon, team synergy will no doubt start to gel at some point, Therrien will eventually get past his apparent man crush on Desharnais (which is not doing us any favours), we’ll soon start playing some wussy Eastern teams (more Rangers games, please) after this string of games against strong Western opponents, Price will turn all supernova on your opposing team’s asses, penalties will become like a plague of cooties no one wants, and we’ll be driving more in down low than in 1000 gay porn films put together.
Which reminds me, I can travel to Montreal to give team members massages should that be required. There’s nothing I won’t do for my team.