Another Habs loss has brought with it a new storm of attention and controversy to this team. The room that was so strong in winning times, is no more immune to division when losses pile up than anyone else, it seems.
Up to this point, I have been giving Therrien and the team, quite honestly, the benefit of the doubt. I believe they are trying and probably performing to the level that their talent allows and finding out just how much losing one key player can hurt in a league with formidable parity.
Last night was a bit of a final straw for me. Certainly with Therrien. Never mind that I watched him coach a team throughout a third period that lacked the lustre a playoff-hungry team should have; what triggered my disdain came post game. Subban had just tripped in the offensive zone losing the puck to a 21-year-old rookie with 18 points, a play that led some seconds later to a rather pretty winning goal for the Avalanche. Michel Therrien, while continuing to delude himself (or trying to delude us) was talking about what he liked about the game, how the Canadiens had played a good game. Except for one "indivialistic" play.
This simply was not true. The team played alright, but this game was a toss up at that point. A team playing 0.200 hockey and hoping for better can't look to 50/50 affairs with other non-playoff teams as good games, not on a multi-game losing streak. It was progress, but not a good game. They let up two leads and yet again failed to score enough to matter.
The team played badly compared to what should be expected by a coach in his position. he was protecting his team.
All that is fair enough, and we take it for what it is, but then Therrien pinches in at the blue line in a vain attempt to save his career in the NHL. Instead of taking blame or laying it in the realm of luck, he lays it squarely at the feet of one player. And this player is not just Lucas Lessio. This player is the team's best player, perhaps its only truly good player at all. Therrien blames Subban for being individualistic.
This to me is selfish to the extreme. He preaches togetherness and team, yet creates discord and division. And this is in front of the press. We can only imagine now what might have been spewed from under the angry brow during a post-game locker-room rant.
For a coach with little else going for him (total lack of creativity, total inability to move away from favourites), this declaration is a final straw. For someone who loves irony, it will be satisfying if the comment that stubborn Michel thought would deflect attention from him would be the one to bring his ultimate demise in Montreal.
To comment on Subban's play, I will say this. Very unfortunate, but I agree with the player. He was trying to do the right thing. And Subban is probably the player with the best edgework I have ever witnessed. It was probably fair of him to think he wouldn't fall -- this wasn't Jason Ward.
Furthermore, Subban is definitely the best player on the Canadiens right now, and definitely either the top or top two player in the system for this team and likely to play for this team in the next 5 years. in other words, he is simply indispensable to the team, the owner, the GM, the coach and the other core players.
Presumably, if Therrien doesn't like Subban he would see him traded for someone of equal value. A very unlikely scenario. Tons of cap issues, never mind finding a player of equal value...
Trading a coach though, that can be done in an instant. There are many available instants before the next game. It can't happen too soon now.