Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Montreal Canadiens Plus/Minus: Organizational Culture

Where to begin?

Since this column last appeared, the Canadiens have lost three consecutive games, fired their head coach and seem ever on the brink of a complete organizational overhaul.

In this edition of Plus/Minus, we will discuss the culture within the Canadiens as well as Price's recent performances.


With a fired coach and three straight losses, the Canadiens have been decidedly naughty, not nice. Santa has decided that they deserve nothing but a lump of coal this week.

Although, should one insist on finding positives, David Desharnais' emergence is certainly one of them.


Firing Jacques Martin: This move was pointless.

Randy Cunneyworth has been given 50 games to turnaround a moribund squad. Unless he pulls an unparalleled miracle, he is liable to be shown the door at season's end. Similarly, Pierre Gauthier looks like he is on his last legs as the team's General Manager.

So much for Geoff Molson's vote of confidence.

Realistically, how does one expect Cunneyworth or Gauthier to have the foresight to do what is best for the franchise when they are constantly looking over their shoulders.

If you are going to effect change, why continually do so in half-measures?

Assistant Coach Perry Pearn was fired earlier this season but retained as a scout. Then Jacques Martin was let go only to be replaced by another assistant coach. Larry Carriere descends from the front office into a coaching position as well.

Other remnants of previous regimes remain as well. Bob Gainey, Clement Jodoin, Patrick Boivin —former President Pierre Boivin's son — and Rejean Houle all hold various roles within the Canadiens.

Why not actually hire a new manager and new coach? Why postpone what seems inevitable? Why not take a look at your organization now and clean house?

As it stands, the Canadiens have an odd mix of people fearing for their jobs and remnants of other less-than-successful eras. Not exactly a recipe for success.

Price's Puckhandling: Ignoring for a moment that Carey Price has allowed three goals or more in his past four starts, his puckhandling has been abysmal lately.

In the game against Philadelphia last week, he led his team with four giveaways and one of his turnovers directly resulted in Andrej Meszaros' game winner. 

Too often, Price seems overly intent on distributing the puck. His blueliners are caught unprepared and forced to make a play, a play they are not ready to execute.

Perhaps the netminder feels compelled to force the play due to his team's inability in the faceoff circle.

Perhaps he wants to do too much given his team's recent lack of success.  

Regardless, should Price continue to emerge as the true leader of this team, he will need to show poise, patience and calm, be it making saves or moving the puck.

Louis is an Associate Editor at HabsAddict.com and an Editor at HabsWorld.net. Louis was born in Chicago but grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval. He currently lives in Ottawa and works for the Coaching Association of Canada. He can be reached at l.moustakas@habsworld.net

(Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images North America)


Great stuff Louis!

I have to agree wholeheartedly about the management shakeup. It's like Molson is baby-stepping towards a clean sweep and, in the process, causing one hell of a PR mess for himself!

Just nuke the whole thing—because anything short of that will NOT change anything—and start over. Now.

Look at this season as a lost season. Or more positively, a season where you take one step back in order to take two forward.

Clean house and bring in a new GM who will preside over deadline day and pending contracts.

My fear now, is that Molson has set Gauthier up in a position where he is fearful for his job. When you are fearful you can make a lot of decisions that are short-sighted and short-term, and those can be incredibly damaging towards the medium and long term.

The Kaberle trade was a perfect example of that. And I'm talking about the man, but his contract.

Montreal simply has too many balls in the air to be taking on term like that. But I digress.

On the Price front, I think he is suffering from a lot of what the rest of the team is suffering from...


Talk about a team that is in need or some serious deep, meditative breathing.


Fear breeds mistakes, you are absolutely correct. Darryl Sutter in Calgary. How is Matt Stajan working out there?

Although I agree with what you are saying I have to disagree with the Martin firing being pointless.

We have no idea what was being said behind closed doors but under the guidance of Martin this team started slowly on most nights, had players who simply took up rosters spots insetad of actually playing and despite being a supposed defensive minded team couldn't hold onto any leads.

What is the point of going through another season of this season the errors can be corrected today. Perhaps Cunneyworth is not the answer but rather than the balance of a season with martin we now have the ability to assess our roster and capabilities under a more offensive minded system.

I think the timing was crucial and it was deserved.

Now let's just figure out what we have and let's go with a clean slate at the end of the year,.

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