Last night a fellow Habs fan on Twitter mentioned that this is the worst season for the Habs. I disagreed, I said the Centennial season was worse. In truth, both are terrible so let’s compare and contrast to come up with the truly worst season of the Habs.
Though to be fair, this season isn’t over yet – things might totally change between now and April, in which case I will just delete this post
I’ve broken down the post into categories; expectations, offseason, regular season moves, on-ice drama, off-ice drama. For each category I chose a “winner” for the worst season. My conclusion ties it all together.
- Habs just came off a Conference winning regular season and were touted as cup favorites
- In what seemed like a perfect script, the Habs were on track to win their 25th Stanley Cup in their 100th season. It was poetry. It was too good to be true
- No expectations except to once again squirm into the playoffs and hopefully make another miracle post-season run
- Apparently Scott Gomez trained in the off-season, and he was expected to put up decent numbers
- Fruitless and drawn out pursuit of Mats Sundin.
- Signed Big Georges Laraques (remember when we thought that was a GREAT move).
- Most notable UFA lost was Mark Streit.
- Did nothing except sign Eric Cole, and re-sign Markov for three years. His knee was better, remember?
- Oh…and let one mediocre goalie go only to sign another mediocre goalie to a longer and more expensive contract.
Regular Season Moves
- Gainey trades a 2nd and 3rd round pick to Atlanta for Mathieu Schneider. A welcome addition to the powerplay.
- Begin is sent to the stars for Doug Janik (I have no recollection of this player or anything he did).
- Habs claimed Glen Metropolit off of waivers from Philadelphia, which turns out to be great move!
- After a very rocky 2nd half of the season, Guy Carbonneau is fired, Gainey takes his place behind the bench. It should be noted that Carbonneau was fired after a win in Dallas which seemed dramatic at the time. Little did we know what we were in store for, just three years later.
- Habs pick up Blair Betts off waivers! A great move…wait, he’s injured. Back to Philly he goes.
- We sign Chris Campoli, because, wait for it, Andrei Markov is still injured. Was Campoli a substitute for Markov?
- Gauthier fires Perry Pearn minutes before a game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
- Habs trade an ageing Spacek and his about-to-expire contract to Carolina for the overpaid Thomas Kaberle who’s contract is not going to expire any time soon
- Habs fire Jacques Martin just before Christmas, and assistant coach Randy Cunneyworth takes over. Language drama ensues. Both Pierre Gauthier and Goeff Molson come out like cowards and throw Cunneyworth under the bus over language.
- Gauthier decides to trade Cammalleri, in the middle of a game, for Réné Bourque.
- Impressive pre-season, won 6 of 9
- 5 wins in a row to start October, and picking up 30 out of 46 points through November
- Could have been 31 points, but Ryan O’Byrne scored on his own net, forcing OT and an eventual shootout loss
- In what is already a joke, fans vote 5 Habs players into the All-Star starting lineup, which somehow jinxes the entire season
- I mark January 17th as the turning point. A narrow win against the Senators, and then the season quickly starts heading downhill
- The never ending ceremonies and the jinxed barber pole jerseys.
- Habs fall all the way to 8th place, BARELY making the playoffs and are then swept by the Bruins – Happy Centennial!
- Started off badly with a horrible pre-season – lost 6 of 8
- Continued in that direction with a terrible start, lost 6 in a row and lost 7 of 11 games in October
- Glimmer of hope in late October and early November
- Glimmer fades. Habs lose multiple games in a row, and are barely able to string 2-wins together
The Worst?: Once again I have to go Centennial Season, if only because it is so much harder to suffer an epic collapse than continued mediocrity.
- Carey Price and the photos
- Carey Price and the cigarettes
- Carey Price and the drinking
- Carey Price and the apparent drug use
- Carey Price and apparently some girl who was the daughter of some guy who he got pregnant and then got beat up for outside of Med
- The shenanigans and Club Opera
- In general, it was a lot of hearsay and rumours about young, rich, good looking men, having fun in the city of Montreal
- Language politics
- Classless personal decisions
- Management throwing players and / or coaches under the bus
But due to the high hopes and the mid-season collapse, the off-ice party stories that made my MOM start talking about hockey, and finally the disgraceful playoff sweep at the hands of the Bruins, I conclude that the Centennial Season was the worst of the two.
Add in the extra embarrassment of all the ceremonies celebrating the Habs greatness, while they plummet down the standings, and the Centennial Season goes down in my mind as one of the worst of in history.
Ughhhh…I still shudder at the thought.