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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Have No Choice But to Ride Out Rough Start

The Montreal Canadiens are struggling and there’s not a lot they can do about it except find a way to play better.

The Montreal Canadiens are now 0-5 to start the 2021-22 NHL season. It appears as though nothing is going right for a franchise that just came off a Stanley Cup Final appearance and the struggles are real to the point the general manager of the team called a media conference in an attempt to shift a bit of the focus of the team.

Just to hammer home how bad things have gotten, the Canadiens lost 4-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday and former Habs forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored the third goal of the game. Considering the whole offer sheet fiasco during the offseason and Canadiens fans booing Kotkaniemi simply for taking the ice, as Arpon Basu of The Athletic writes, “Sebastian Aho and Jesperi Kotkaniemi scoring in a game where the Hurricanes run the Canadiens’ record to 0-5-0 to start the season couldn’t really be scripted much better.”

Related: Bergevin Says Canadiens Won’t Make Trades Despite Struggles

As bad as things appear, it’s only going to frustrate fans even further that there is little the team can do about it. Marc Bergevin has already said he’s unwilling to make a trade for the sake of making a trade and on Friday morning, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek talked about why the GM can’t do much, even if he wanted to. The two hosts spent the first 10 minutes of their 32 Thoughts Podcast talking about the mess that is this Canadiens team.

Canadiens Need to Keep Their 2022 Pick

Considering the Canadiens host the NHL Draft this year, there’s absolutely no way the team is trading its first-round draft selection. The fan base would be less-than-thrilled with the prospect of going to a draft and sitting through selection after selection without Montreal being included.

Friedman said, “I wonder if they’re just going to let this play out.” He added that he’s got to wonder what else could be off-limits. With how bad the team has played, he can’t imagine the team trading a second-round pick either. Considering the Canadiens are in the Shane Wright — the consensus top draft pick in 2022 — conversation and the Canadiens don’t want to limit their chances of selecting him if they’re not going to be any good. “This is the trade you make that people talk about for 20 years if you make it.”

Marc Andre Bergevin Canadiens
Marc Andre Bergevin Canadiens

Friedman added that the Canadiens could wind up really be regretting the trade in five years and for Bergevin personally, it could hurt his own contract leverage during negotiations. If the Canadiens react with panic, they’ll make a move they probably shouldn’t make.

Could Be a Bumpy Ride for Canadiens Fans

At this point, the Canadiens and the fan base simply need to hang on and understand it could be a bumpy ride for a while. With no Carey Price for the foreseeable future and likely no Shea Weber moving forward, as the losses pile up, likely leading to more losses, it could take a while before the team feels comfortable. The hope here is that the Canadiens aren’t so out of the running by the first week in November that there’s not much the players can do about it when they do eventually turn things around.

Don’t expect the Canadiens to fire head coach Dominique Ducharme either. This is on the team and the players in the room. Four goals total isn’t acceptable over five games. This is a club who as an entire group has fewer goals than any of Connor McDavid, Anze Kopitar, Tyler Bertuzzi or Kyle Connor do individually.

Next: Senators Looking to Trade For Top-Nine Forward

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