Analyze this... 'cause nobody can
After a humiliating 6-1 loss against Tampa Bay, Montreal had
definitely shattered all hopes of making it into the playoffs.
It's a team that has been difficult to figure out this season.
It's a team capable of the worst as well as the best. It's so
unexplainable that sports writers are out of words to analyze the
situation. It's a let's blame someone game: GM Houle, Corey, free
agents Damphousse and Recchi... is Vigneault's turn coming?
Needless to say that the dressing room was a quiet place after
the players were hit by lightning on Saturday March 5 and eaten
alive by the Panthers on March 8. The Habs' offense is almost
non-existent and defense is disorganized. It's just about the way
it has been all season long if you don't consider the couple of
winning weeks in December and January. Morale has been going up
and down like a yo-yo. After every win - like the one against
Philadelphia - everybody thought the team was back on track. Over
confidence, lack of respect for some opponents but mostly
weakness of character and lack of leadership explain the 25-31-8
So is the problem in the muscles or in the head?
After the loss against Florida defenseman Stephane Quintal said:
"I don't know, maybe we're a bunch of chokers. We got close to
where we wanted to be. We were two games under .500. But when it
came time to push further, we didn't do it."
The Habs dropped to the 12th spot over the last week. Hope is
hard to come by in Montreal: The Canadiens would need at least a
record of 12-5-1 to make the playoffs...
"I don't think anybody's packed it in," said Mark Recchi. "We
just haven't done what it takes."
Does he know that the season is almost over?
"We got lots of scoring chances in the first period. But when it
came time to face up to adversity we weren't able to," said
Montreal coach Alain Vigneault.
Goalie Jeff Hackett had been keeping hope alive ever since he
arrived in Montreal. For a while he seemed to inspire his
teammates. But the unexplained negative feeling in the dressing
room must be catching. He has allowed 15 goals in his last three
games. Hackett seems discouraged. One man can't do it all. Where
are the defensemen when he needs them? Where are the big
important goals from guys like Recchi and Damphousse?
Let's face it, the only places to see the Habs in May will be a
golf course or a psychiatrist's couch.